Education helps individuals feel better and free from prejudice. Therefore, schools should give useful support to young boys by educating them to eliminate the archaic view that men are superior than women in order for them to be good partners in their future.
We love guys and men and we believe that an enlightened guy makes as good as a feminist as a girl. In fact, girls and women are crucial to creating a more equal society because more of them are in power than men for now.
Every day in the school run 80% of the parents waiting in the playground are women. Some of them will no doubt be happy with their domestic arrangement. But in a world where women will have to wait another 75 years to be paid as much as men, many of those mothers will have had their hands forced compelled by their lesser earning power to bite the bullet and stay at home during their children’s pre-school years.
On TV, you’ll still wait an awfully long time to find an ad for any kitchen or baby product featuring a man. These female standardisations are all disappointing. Yet when most men first encounter feminism, we all have one or several reactions. Some of them resist, arguing that gender equality is a zero-sum game: if girls win, guys will lose. But gender equality is right and fair.
It is in keeping with the ethical mandates of a democratic society to eliminate discrimination and prejudice, and enable individuals to live freer and happier lives. Young boys should be taught that feminism isn’t just about them and it’s not just about girls and women becoming equal, safer and ending discrimination. They are not just boys! These young generations must know that they are firstly sons, brothers, cousins and grandsons and one day, they will be fathers, colleagues, grandfathers, lovers, partners and husbands.
The evidence from social science is pretty persuasive that gender equality is a good thing for men. It turns out that more gender-equal-corporations, those with better parental benefits, mentoring programmes and women’s support networks tend to have low employee turnover, higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction, and enhanced reputations, all of which translates into higher earnings for everyone. It turns out that more gender-equal countries report higher levels of happiness and lower levels of depression; the least gender-equal countries in Europe report the highest level of depression and lowest levels of happiness.
Educated boys shouldn’t see relationships with girls adversarial, as a battle of the sexes, but should be open to their friends and partners who are fully themselves as they believe they are entitled to be. Once becoming fathers they will see spending time with their children as confirming their masculinity, not diminishing it. They will see friendships with other men deepen as they can talk about their health, their feelings and their family lives.
Children raised in a more egalitarian household tend to have higher achievement and lower rate of absenteeism and are less likely to see a child psychologist. It also turns out that men that who are in more egalitarian marriages are healthier: they smoke less, drink less and exercise more. They are more likely to see a doctor for a routine screening. They are happier, too less likely to be diagnosed with depression or see a therapist. They report much higher levels of marital satisfaction.
So how can schools help young boys? With trust, encouragement and perseverance. Trust the young boys and consistently follow and help them on making the right decisions. Encourage young boys on challenging each other on their best decisions and bring them to a positive confrontation. A feminist is somebody who is empathetic, who listens to, who can’t stand hypocrisy and who loves to see people thrive. Lots of feminists are girls, lots of feminists aren’t. They are boys. Knowledge is empowering and schools’ contribution is very important to inspire young boys to utilise their potential resources that they’ve got, which means themselves.
A strong man is not a threat, he is a partner. Educating young boys on feminism means achieving the life’s mission, irrespective of gender. Inspiration comes in many forms and schools should represent an inspiration to all young boys to grow up as men who are not afraid of their feminine side because in other words they will be afraid of women.