Why the British Politics A-level needs Feminism

Why the British Politics A-level needs Feminism

Jamie Boylan O’Rourke explains why removing feminism from the Politics A-level syllabus is a mistake

Whilst innocently writing an essay, and a very boring one at that, I received a link from my best friend to a Guardian article. “Oh great” I thought, “yet another piece of trash to pretend I’ve read.” But hey, it’s all in the name of procrastination, so why not?!

This was not trash.

This was the kind of writing that punches you straight in the face. And so, it turns out, Nicky Morgan has decided that cutting Feminism from the Politics A Level syllabus is a great idea, and quite frankly, I disagree. Oh boy, do I disagree. I will admit, I do take a different stance to that of Bridget Christie, but I still am just as horrified.

The Feminist movement in its entirety is so crucial to our political history. And I’m deeply confused as to what removing it from the A Level Politics syllabus will actually achieve. Are we wiping out a movement from education because we no longer see it it relevant? Is it because Feminism has run its due course? Even if it has, let’s say for arguments sake, this is no reason to stop spreading the message of our genders long waged fight for equality. We still learn about the Concert of Europe in History, and its struggles and tensions that contributed to the First World War. Yes, that’s all done and dusted and the Habsburg Empire is now dead and gone, but we should never stop learning about these things. Political History is so essential to understanding modern civilization as these events and movements are the building blocks that put it all together.

It’s because of the Feminist Movement, especially those of the First Wave Feminist movements, that female MPs like Nicky Morgan can have the power to change education syllabuses. Universal Suffrage and the struggle to get there induced a domino effect whereby women could finally graduate from university with qualifying degrees. Women now had the opportunity to enter political professions, and female voices were now audible in Parliament, which would later result in the first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, being elected. This movement is so important, that its removal from the syllabus is just wrong.  

Yes, I may “identify” as so called Critical Feminist (at a push), and I may look at issues that circulate amongst student feminist groups with disdain. But I am incredibly grateful to those women in history who put their families, careers, and lives at risk for me to be in a position where I can think and speak freely like this. I am not blind to the struggles of women in history, and those in other parts of the world in the present day. And we should never stop spreading their stories. We should never cut those stories from our education.

I’m still honestly disgusted by this decision made by Nicky Morgan, and I really hope she revokes this decision. Regardless of whether you identify as a feminist or not, we can’t not teach such a crucial part of British politics as part of a British politics course.

Image Credit: BBC

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