Boys Wear Skirts in Uniform Protest

A school in Exeter who has the school uniform rule that male pupils must wear trousers and female pupils can wear trousers or tartan skirts has been on the receiving end of a protest by about 30 male students who turned up to school wearing skirts.

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A mum of a male students at the school, Claire Reeves, said she’d asked the school about her son being able to wear shorts, but had not got anywhere.

“I feel extremely proud of them all for standing up for their rights. People are always talking about equal right for males and females and school uniform shouldn’t be any different”, she said.

The pupils from ISCA Academy in Exeter had asked permission to change their uniform and allow shorts because of the hot weather. One of the boys who took part in the protest said: “We’re not allowed to wear shorts, and I’m not sitting in trousers all day, it’s a bit hot.” The boys who are protesting are hoping that another 100 or so male students will join in the protest and wear skirts on Friday too.

Battle of the Sexes

Today in most tennis tournaments, women earn 20% less than men. Equal pay is regularly opposed by male players and people in the tennis industry, most recently by a former US tennis centre CEO Raymond Moore, who said female tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men,” and Novak Djokovic, who said men deserve higher prize money because their matches are more popular.

In 1973, Billie Jean King the women’s tennis number 1 took on Bobby Riggs a former men’s number 1 and won. Her victory changed women’s tennis considerably. Forty years later there might not be complete equality but without Billie Jean King’s tennis match called the Battle of the Sexes, things might be a whole lot worse.

battle of the sexes

A new film out this year called Battle of the Sexes will help younger tennis fans and the wider public understand how important that tennis match in 1973 was. Starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell the trailer has just been released and people are saying it might end up being an Oscar contender.

Battle film pic

ITV2’s Love Island discusses women’s equality

On Thursday’s Love Island broadcast on ITV2 show couple Jonny and Camilla ended up talking about feminism. Jonny claimed that he’s all for “equality” but that “real feminists” don’t want that, they want thing to “slope towards them”. Camilla countered with “I don’t think it’s that, it’s that there’s been several generations that have been preferential towards men, and therefore to redress the balance there has to be in some way an active movement towards equality.” By the end of the conversation Camilla was in tears…

What is a feminist? The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘a feminist’  as ‘An advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women’. The term ‘feminist’ however has always been contentious. This is partly because it implies militancy and an ‘anti-men’ stance.

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All of this talk of feminism leads me to a great new song by Ray BLK called Doing Me which  is an anthem for when you’re feeling yourself and not taking any one’s opinion on board. With great lyrics like “My dressing is expression so don’t judge me by my clothes,”  it will encourage you to be yourself and not worry about what others think. Ray Blk explains, “It’s about being yourself no matter what and not caring about judgement. People are going to judge you whether you do bad or good so you have to do you regardless!”

ray blk

Sexism in the Media

What causes people to be prejudice? You might answer with propaganda; family and peers; ignorance; scapegoats; nationalism; fear of outsiders; education; socialisation; and the media.

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This is something to keep in mind when looking at the Daily Mail’s headline today about the meeting of Theresa May (British Prime Minister) and Nicola Sturgeon (the Scottish First Minister) where they discussed Brexit and the Scottish desire to have another independence referendum:

legs it

Plenty of newspapers have reported outcry at the sexist Daily Mail headline which focused on two female leaders legs rather than the serious political debate. Under the headline, “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” and alongside a photo of the two leaders sitting down for talks at a Glasgow hotel, the paper wrote: “It wasn’t quite stilettos at dawn…”

Ms Morgan, a former secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities, tweeted in reaction: “Seriously? Our two most senior female politicians are judged for their legs not what they said #appallingsexism”.

She told BBC Radio 5 live the Mail’s coverage was: “Deliberately provocative, and deliberately demeaning. How the prime minister deals with it is entirely a matter for her,” she said, but added: “You’ve got two very senior female politicians who are discussing weighty issues and this is what a national newspaper thinks is appropriate.”

The BBC reports how the Daily Mail responded to its critics by saying “get a life”. What do you think? Is this sexism in the media and could it influence the public on how we look at females in positions of leadership and power?

International Women’s Day

Look at these wonderful illustrations of 10 powerful women in history; the Telegraph reports on how the celebration of women started in 1908 with a march through New York City; Google’s Doodle is explained (see how many of the women you’d heard of before); the United Nations support the Day; and my personal favourite Netflix explaining how the world wouldn’t work without women.

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Hidden Figures: genius has no race, strength has no gender

hidden-figures

What a great tagline for a film: Genius has no race. Strength has no gender. Courage has no limit.

Hidden Figures is out in British cinemas in late February 2017 and tells the story of the contributions of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. These women defied sexism, racism and segregation to become central to NASA’s bid to put an American into space; their calculations helping to send Alan Shepard and John Glenn into orbit and back to Earth again.

For the author of the book which the film was based on, Margot Lee Shetterly, her greatest pleasure has been the positive response from the only still living woman of the trio, Katherine Johnson aged 98. Interviewed in the Independent Ms Shetterley says: ‘At every turn…these women were involved in World War Two, the Cold War, Civil Rights…so that’s the thing, I really wanted to be able to tell a multi-layered story through the same women.’

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Perhaps you recognise one of the actresses as singer Janelle Monáe? One of her big hits was with Eriykah Badu in 2013 called Q.U.E.E.N though another recent hit was with the band FUN called We Are Young in 2011.

Are boys getting more pocket money than girls?

I wonder if you ask your friends how much pocket money they get whether you notice a difference between the amounts boys and girls tell you. You should try it! Researchers at Childwise have found that in the UK boys aged 11 to 16 were on £17.80, while girls of the same age were on £12.50, a gap of £5.30.

The researchers also found that girls were given less financial freedom, “They are more likely to have things bought for them, including expensive items such as clothes and footwear, and lower cost purchases such as toiletries, hair products and makeup,” said Ms Ehren from Childwise. These extra purchases might help to bridge the income gap between boys and girls, but the approach to managing money matters was “noticeably different”, she added.

This all seems to show that the gender gap in pay starts young and that parents are educating boys and girls differently about financial matters.