Thoughts on Gender

This summer the issue of gender was thrown at me from several directions: I read a book entitled Secret Daughter… I heard a program about gender selection making its way to Canada… women are now allowed to become members at the Augusta National Golf Club… and for the first time all countries entered in the Olympics had women compete, albeit forcibly.

This combination of events led to a four generation discussion about gender. My 90 year old grandmother remembers both churches and bars segregated: men on one side, women on the other. In my mother’s high school days there were separate entrances for boys and girls. When she finished high school, women were not encouraged or expected to go to university.

In some ways then, we’ve made progress. I can sit where I’d like to in church, my stepdaughter is planning for university without a second thought, and a Saudi Arabian woman has sparked conversation and change in her country by competing in the Olympics. And yet, as far as we have come, I was reminded that we still have far to go when I was sent this video: Miss Representation. It’s 8 minutes long but worth a watch.

Consider the young girls within our schools. What images are they bombarded with each and every day? How do they determine their self-worth? How do we counter the messages they receive through the media? How do we value each of our students, regardless of their gender, for who they are?

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