On 3rd November, the UK government (Department for Education), along with Ofqual, proposed a revised Politics A Level syllabus.
The details of the revised syllabus proposal can be found here: Politics – Draft AS and A Level subject content.
It doesn’t include feminism.
The existing syllabus can be found here: Specification for GCE Government & Politics.
Quite rightly, in the current syllabus there is a section on ‘feminism’, one of the most important social rights movements that our country has ever seen, spanning centuries and continuing to this day.
This section has now gone, along with the topics of sex/gender, gender equality, patriarchy, public/private divide and essentialism. If this goes ahead, after the next syllabus revision, British sixth form and college students will no longer learn about feminism.
Where have all the women gone?
They’re still there, but only just.
Here we have The Suffragette movement, arguably the most important female rights movement that ever existed.
It has been neatly squeezed into the ‘pressure groups’ section along with questions such as ‘whether pressure groups help or hinder society’.
Here we have Mary Wollstonecraft.
She has been fitted into ‘liberalism’ as the only female thinker in that section, as well as the only female thinker in the entire proposed politics syllabus at A Level. That’s despite citing leading thinkers in conservatism and socialism – they’re just all men.
1 x female rights movement
1 x female thinker
in the entire new A Level Politics syllabus.
What I think.
It is 2015.
We are going through a huge feminist revival. Even if we weren’t, our daughters and granddaughters, sons and grandsons, nieces, nephews, and families need to know about the movements and key female figures that got women to where they are today. The stage of gender equality at which we’re at.
This is so important. It is important because we are still striving, still moving forward, fighting against the remaining societal pieces (norms, traditions, prejudices) that stand in the way of complete gender equality. We still have some way to go.
It is 2015.
If we know nothing of key social and political milestones – women gaining the right to matriculate and graduate from many universities in 1920 and gaining the right to vote in 1928 – how can we learn from them and progress? How can we be thankful but hungry for more?
This can’t happen and it won’t happen. The government have a responsibility to all of us, including themselves, to be a progressive force for change; to allow this country and this world to march towards betterment.
Women’s voices are often silenced. Let’s not let them silence the women’s voices of the past too.
What can you do?
The government are still consulting on their decision so there is still time to change the conclusion.
Visit https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations > ‘Further additional GCSE and A Level Subject Consultation’ and counter their proposal or via the Political Studies Association. You have until 15th December.
To pledge your support for women’s right to have a voice, now and in the past, please sign this petition created by an A Level politics student and join me and the many other women who want women to be written into history, not erased from it all together.