The Skewed Part

These are one of the many classic examples of minor gender bias in our educational institutions. Even with lifting chairs, our teachers unconsciously assume that it’s too laborious for girls to do it. That they would need someone strong, like a boy, instead of girls. 

Gender bias is the acts of preferring one gender over the other. They are usually rooted in stereotypes such as girls being associated with “lighter” domestic activities or with being neat while boys are assertive, athletic, and independent leaders or providers.

The school event had just concluded, and everybody started getting up from the monoblock chairs to make haste as they leave. Amidst the chatter and scratching leg chairs against the floor, you hear one of the teachers’ command, “Can somebody help stack these chairs, please?” And you, a female student, motioned to offer assistance, but they added, “Sorry, boys only!”

While schools are centers for establishing and honing awareness among learners, they have ironically become a hotspot for perpetuating educational institutions gender biases and stereotypes, including skewed gender socialization. 

There are no “too little” circumstances that we should overlook if we aim for a gender-equitable future for our younger generation. Especially with places designed to develop these individuals, such as educational institutions.

Taking a World Tour About Our Young Leaders’ Most Absurd Personal Experiences With School Gender Biases

When I was in high school, girls could wear either skirts or pants (which was awesome), but the condition for wearing pants was that it had to be worn with a blazer long enough to cover the back. Boys were not required to wear the blazer. It wasn’t even part of their uniform!” – Marion, Kenya.

Girl Power Talk - The Gender Bias Tendencies of Educational Institutions
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Debuting in this list are the good-old dress codes that seem to hate either our knees, shoulders, or, in this case, our behinds. Perhaps it’s not our specific body parts that are wildly “distracting”, but instead, the administration’s assumption that we must first be covered to be respected.

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One of my brother’s college professors once said, ‘Girls can buy laptop models which are lighter.'” – Simran, India. 

First, the chairs and now, laptop models. The world is indeed advancing but sometimes regresses backward. Get a scale and weigh your laptops right now, as it might be tedious for you to carry it around if it’s too heavy. We might as well check our current hard drive storage. One terabyte can take hefty loads of files and could be difficult for us to manage if it reaches total capacity. That would be a nightmare!

My junior high school used to have a ‘virginity test‘ just for girls to take, and if the results showed that they weren’t, they couldn’t enroll. Some were able to sneak past but were eventually expelled when the administration found out,” – Afifah, Indonesia.

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This came in last but definitely took the top spot for officially claiming that some schools are just not it. It’s surreal that even in the 21st century when we are progressively breaking stigmas and normalizing taboos that should’ve been considered ‘normal’ ages ago, standards like this still exist. Why does the concept of virginity have anything to do with our education, let alone a qualifying factor for pursuing one? It’s a ridiculous and disheartening situation that high school girls would have to undergo and endure this process to ‘prove’ that they’re worthy of education.  

In continuum, “also when we wanted to be excused in certain activities like praying or in P.E. class because of period cramps or generally feeling unwell because of it, we had to take a tissue paper and prove we’re bleeding. We’d take it and show it to our teachers just so they’d believe,” – Still Fifa, Indonesia. 

As if it could not get any worse, even our menstruation (a natural bodily occurrence) had to be under scrutiny and a matter of concern for some. Nobody should ever be in such an uncomfortable situation simply because their bodies are hardwired to make it so. Apparently, not even science can stop them from borderline disrespecting girls.

Raising Awareness

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Schools are institutions that mirror the real society: it has people, systems, rules, norms, and constructs. Imagine what a gender-biased educational system can do to young adolescents, particularly when they’re currently learning new concepts and undergoing personal development. 

We have textbooks that persistently have pictures of women being portrayed as housemakers, while men are wearing coats looking like doctors, engineers, architects, and so much more. 

We have been under the stereotype that girls must prioritize popularity or look pretty. Meanwhile, boys are offered opportunities to partake in robotics or math quiz bees. 

It’s about time that we refurbish our schools into places where girls and boys can coexist without one being more favored than the other, where girls get to be assertive without it being labeled as misbehavior.

A place where if a teacher needs help carrying heavy stuff, they won’t need to ask twice because the girls are already on it.

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