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花旗国的半边天

An Exploration of Women's Issues

 
 
 

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我对性别平等的认识过程 (How I Learned about Gender Equality)  

2011-04-19 09:01:13|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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我对性别平等的认识过程 (How I Learned about Gender Equality) - 美国马尾妹 - 花旗国的半边天
 我 曾经写过一篇关于我目前修读的女性文学课程的文章。当我注册那门课的时候,并没有意识到它是专门研究女性问题的课程,只是以为大学为学生提供这样的课程是 再正常不过的事情。然而也是修读这门课以后,我才开始有机会接受有关女性问题的专门教育。虽然我从小学到中学所接受的教育也涉及性别问题,但是大学之前, 涉及女性问题的课程都过于空泛,不如大学课程这般正式和明确。


I previously wrote about a women's literature class that I'm currently taking. When I signed up for the course, I did not think twice about the fact that it would clearly be primarily focused on women's issues because it seemed perfectly natural to me that such a course would be offered at my university. However, it wasn't until relatively recently that I started having the opportunity to take courses specifically focused on women's issues. While gender issues were not entirely absent from my primary education (from elementary to high school), the classes that I took before entering college were all too broadly focused to address women's issues as formally and explicitly as college courses are able to do.


I do not remember gender equality ever being explicitly mentioned in my elementary school education. To my recollection, rather than being taught that girls and boys were equal, I and my peers learned it implicitly from the way we were treated by our teachers. Because my teachers never showed preference to the boys in my class or suggested in their actions that one gender was better than the other, I grew up with the assumption that I was no better or worse than the boys in my classes, a message that was reinforced at home by my parents' equal treatment of my brother and me.


In middle school and high school, I became more aware of the historical and ongoing discrimination against women to which I had previously been relatively clueless. This awareness came primarily from history and literature classes. In history, we began to discuss the changing role of women over time and the movements that led to increased women's rights in American society. Women's issues began to enter in my literature classes when we discussed how the manner in which women were portrayed in novels revealed their position in society at the time. In this manner, women's issues began to gradually seep into my education, but it did so fairly informally. Although we did begin discussing women's issues in our study of history and literature, they were still always a side note. My middle school and high school courses were designed to provide such a broad academic foundation that women's issues were only treated as a small component of a larger subject.


In college, because it is assumed that a student's primary education provided him or her with a broad academic foundation, most classes provide students with the opportunity to focus on more concentrated fields of study. Accordingly, there are an abundance of courses, such as my literature class, that focus specifically and exclusively on women's issues. Thus, the broader flexibility of secondary education allows a more formal treatment of women's issues and gender equality. Many universities, including my own, offer a major devoted to women's studies. The website for my college's “Studies in Women and Gender” major states that “by examining social issues, literary texts, media, technologies, and historical materials, students develop a critical, socially engaged sense of how gender shapes and is shaped by the world around them.” As this quote demonstrates, the coursework is designed to be interdisciplinary, allowing students to gain an understanding of how women's issues are present in many different fields of study. I think this approach is better than studying women's issues in isolation because to do so would be to ignore how women's issues are inextricably intertwined with every aspect of society.


However, although the increased flexibility of secondary education means that courses focus exclusively on women's issues can be taught, it also means that many people never take these courses. They are usually not required courses and many people do not pursue secondary education. The people that are interested enough to sign up for the classes are generally already somewhat knowledgeable about women's issues, meaning that the people who could perhaps benefit the most from these classes never take them. More formally introducing women's issues in primary education would ensure that everyone would at least be exposed to the issues, which I believe would be beneficial in encouraging gender equality in society.


讨论:你所接受的教育如何处理女性问题? (Discussion Question: How have women issues been dealt with in your own education?)


Sources:

Studies in Women and Gender at the University of Virginia. University of Virginia, n.d. Web. 10 Apr.       2011. <http://www.virginia.edu/womenstudies>. 
Photo:
Binghamton University Classroom, Lecture Hall #6, Binghamton, NY, USA
By yohey1028 (Pictured by the user) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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