← Conversations

The F-Word: Why Our Kids Need Feminism, and How You Can Teach It

Session 1
Christina Jenkins — REALM Charter School

Three years ago, I wouldn't have felt comfortable facilitating a conversation about feminism. But prompted by my students in 2012, I launched a high school course that examines the experience of women in the United States and around the world across four themes - gender violence, trafficking and prostitution, women's health and education. In the process of leading that class, I learned that in not offering more courses like this across K-12, we are missing a critical opportunity to talk to our kids about gender discrimination and privilege.

These issues manifest for them in so many ways: our girls are called "bossy" when they demonstrate leadership, we say "boys will be boys" to excuse violence, our girls are tracked out of STEM fields by high school, and our boys learn that masculinity requires physical aggression. Gender inequality is also connected to homophobia, racism, unhealthy relationships, bullying and eating disorders, just to start.

It's critical that educators are able to discuss these issues with their students in explicit (via classroom instruction) and implicit ways (like using gender-neutral language; and calling out homophobia in ways that validates instead of shames the LGBTQ community).

It can be hard to know where to begin - so let's start here.

Conversational Practice

In this conversation, educators will participate in a whole-group activity using Peggy McIntosh's "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" and will then join small reading groups based on an article of their choice. The articles will come from the readings I assign to my own students to help them establish their personal understanding of what feminism means to them. With the remaining 30-45 minutes, we will consider what this means for our classrooms via whole-group and small-group brainstorming. All ideas will be documented, and participants will leave with a substantial list of specific readings and resources that they can bring back to their classrooms.

Conversation Links

Presenter Profiles

No presenters have registered their profiles yet


JSON feed