Western-born initiative brings gender studies to Ontario high schools this fall

After eight years of development, a groundbreaking new course in gender studies with roots at Western University has just been approved for the Ontario Secondary School Curriculum to be offered in Ontario high schools in the fall of 2013.

The quest for a gender studies course was led by the Miss G Project for Equity in Education, a grassroots feminist organization born at Western University in 2005 by a group of students who shared a passion for gender studies. The material they were exposed to through courses in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research inspired the students to develop a gender studies course at the high school level, something they felt that lacked during their own experiences.After graduation, The Miss G project continued to gain momentum even as the students pursued graduate studies and various careers.

Founding members, Sarah Ghabrial, Sheetal Rawal, Dilani Mohan, Lara Shkordoff and Laurel Mitchell are still actively involved in the project, now based in Toronto.Through grassroots initiatives, everything from post-card writing to lobbying trips to Queen’s Park, the students’ passion for gender studies influenced key decision-makers over time.

“That a Gender Studies course is now in the official Ontario high school curriculum is a testament to the perseverance and commitment of the young women, now Western alumna, who began this journey in 2005,” says Western Education professor Rebecca Coulter, who served as a mentor and guide to the students. “Taught well, the new course will allow students to explore gender relations in ways that are relevant to their lives.”

Through this new course, students at the Grade 11 level will learn about the dynamic nature of gender roles and norms; sexism and power relations; and the impact of representations of women and men in the media, popular culture, and the arts. Students will analyse a range of gender equity issues, including gender-based violence and workplace equity, in both Canadian and global contexts. Students will also develop and apply research skills and will design and implement a social action initiative relating to gender equity. For more information about the Miss G Project visit: https://themissgproject.wix.com/index_new

For more information about the Miss G Project visit: https://themissgproject.wix.com/index_new

MEDIA CONTACT: Jo Jennings, Communications Officer 519.661.2111 x82200 jo.jennings@uwo.ca