In the majority of South Asian societies, men have more power and rights than women, resulting in a high rate of verbal, physical and psychological abuse. Violence against women and gender discrimination happen so often that it’s taken for granted.
Only extreme violence such as rape and murder is usually prosecuted and tragically the majority of those crimes remain unreported.
But men aren’t born aggressors: education has the power to stop dangerous stereotypes that lead to gender based violence in future generations.
This is why gender studies should be a part of the course curriculum for allstudents. Subjects should cover contributions and perspectives of women in society, shedding light on women’s rights. Gender studies courses can gradually change the next generation’s attitudes, ultimately leading to a more peaceful, equitable society for both men and women.
Photo Credit: Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters
To: other government officials from Southeast Asian countries, Government of Bangladesh, All Chairpersons of Educational Boards in Bangladesh
The absence of gender studies in schools in Bangladesh is an issue that needs to be addressed. We call upon the government to take three straightforward steps:
(1) Create mandatory workshops for schoolteachers on gender studies that will train them in how to teach the material. Teachers themselves should be specialized in gender studies, and then the school environment will encourage gender sensitivity.
(2) Implement mandatory gender studies classes from 6th grade onward in all schools that are registered by the Education Board, authorized by the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh, regardless of being public or private, Bengali or English. We propose Introduction to Women & Gender Studies into schools for 13-15 year olds as a compulsory course for all students regardless of their gender.
(3) In Bengali Medium, it is compulsory for female students to learn home science, whereas male students learn agricultural science, which establishes gender discrimination at a very early age. Thus, the home science and agricultural science books need to be reassessed to address gender equality studies and eliminate gender based biases. Just by readjusting the content of this book, students won’t have to learn a new subject. We believe that failing to take these steps will jeopardize the mental and physical wellbeing and safety of already victimized women.
Please – take action soon before another generation grows up in a culture of violence and discrimination.
[Your name here]