Submitted by Katie May Nelson on 8 January 2016 - 4:13pm
Back in December, it was announced that every 16 year-old student in Sweden will be given a copy of a book titled We all ought to be feminists.
The book, by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie, will be given to all secondary school students and is hoped to encourage a greater understanding of feminism among girls and boys in the country.
Adichie, saying in an address to her new-found audience in a YouTube video stated-
"I hope that the 16-year-olds that will read this book in Sweden will also decide that they’re feminists. Mostly, I hope very soon that one day we will not need to be feminists. Because we will live in a world that is truly just and equal.”
I think that this is a triumph for feminism. I have read the book myself, and it's fantastic; the 64 page book is easily digestible, and is a breif but concise manifesto of ideas, which, upon reading you would think would be common sense in today's world. Adichie speaks from the heart; her anecdotal sytle flows eloquently when she relays how growing up in Nigeria as a woman shaped her view of feminism. It's a real though-provoking read, and I'd encourage everyone to read it.
Sweden is already known as a champion of women's rights, with their more than generous parental leave for both men and women, and high representation of women in Sweden's parliament (43.6% compared with 29% in the House of Commons). I think the Swedish education authorities have got it dead right, and I applaud them for it; encouraging young people to read this book is surely the right way forward in getting more young people to believe in feminism but also understand what equality essentially is.
However, I was dismayed at the news that back in a Blighty, the government are set to remove feminism from from the A-Level politics syllabus. The reforms, which are currently under consultation, are likely to include the removal of topics of sex/gender, gender equality and patriarchy. There will also be only one woman mentioned in texts (Mary Wollstonecraft).
This is surely a demonstration of how the government is suppressing the regime of feminists who want to encourage young people to understand their cause. Surely it's counter intuitive not to inform teenagers about feminism and the role it has played in UK politics, and downright odd if you ask me, as comedian Bridget Christie quite rightly pointed out her Guardian colum: "Removing feminism from politics is like removing the female reproductive system from biology." Actually, come to think of it, I don't recall any mention about women's issues during my schooling.
So whilst we have one country championing the feminist cause, we have another which is setting out to cut it from the curriculum.
We need to acknowledge the contribution feminism has made to society, in order to make it a more progressive and equal society, and that starts with our young people.
Glen Poole, author of Equality for Men and advocate for non-feminism, presents an interesting rebuttal for Sweden's move, which is well worth a read (even if I do disagree with his view): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/boys-should-have-the-right-t...