Gender Equality

heforsheI have been inspired this week to write about gender equality. A number of wonderful people have written blogs or given speeches in support of gender equality. I have decided to “man up”, stop “crying like a girl” and join the cause. After all, as Emma Watson said in her inspiring speech to the UN

“If not me, who? If not now, when?”

So why me? And why now?

I see boys singing and loving it. I see 4 year old girls laughing at them because boys shouldn’t sing.

I see girls playing football on the school team. I see schools telling those girls they can’t play for the team this week because a tournament is boys only.

I see sexist books that try to tell us how to raise boys or raise girls, that contain opinions debunked by modern neuroscience and psychology (Read Cordelia Fine instead!)

I see toy shops and book publishers colour coding toys. Putting arts and crafts in the pink section and science and construction in the blue section. Sorry girls, no science for you. And who’s ever heard of a male artist? Ermm…

Even books about inspiring women annoy me. Why can’t we show that strong women are normal and widespread, not special and super-strong.

I could go on and on and on!

So what’s this got to do with my teaching? What’s it got to do with music?

Every day, every member of our society has a responsibility to educate our boys and girls. We all must try and eliminate gender inequality. It’s all about the small stuff.

It’s the assumption that a girl will prefer a beautiful romantic expressive song or piece over a loud and driven boogie woogie. It’s the assumption that a boy who may be losing interest in their music lessons needs a fun, fast student saver that’s “good for boys” and won’t respond to something soft and expressive.

It’s realising that when you illustrate a music book, or any book, with pictures of girls having picnics or boys playing football that will have an impact on your students. They will notice, they will care and it will affect which music they think they are supposed to like. It will also affect their view of those activities.

Diane Hidy has written a brilliant blog about cover art, titles and lyrics in piano books.

Inspired by the passionately written blog by Carly McDonald about “music for boys”

Toys are for everyone. Books are for everyone. Colours are for everyone. Feelings and emotions are for everyone. Strengths and weaknesses are for everyone. Jobs are for everyone. Love is for everyone. Courage is for everyone. Fear is for everyone.

Music is for everyone.

So this is me, standing up right now in support of Emma, Diane and Carly. In support of any man or woman who also feels they want to improve gender equality. Let’s do this!

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 thoughts on “Gender Equality

  1. creativepianoprofessional September 26, 2014 at 10:28 am Reply

    Thank you Helen. The small stuff really does matter.

    • Helen Russell September 26, 2014 at 10:29 am Reply

      Thank YOU Carly for getting the ball rolling 🙂

      • creativepianoprofessional September 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

        That was my pleasure. It had been an issue that needed addressing for some time. Something that I needed to find the right words for and finally did.

  2. Diane Hidy September 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm Reply

    Thank you, Helene. I love your outlook. Your words are true.

  3. Helen Perris September 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm Reply

    “Toys are for everyone. Books are for everyone. Colours are for everyone. Feelings and emotions are for everyone. Strengths and weaknesses are for everyone. Jobs are for everyone. Love is for everyone. Courage is for everyone. Fear is for everyone.” – I LOVE THIS

  4. Kay September 26, 2014 at 7:16 pm Reply

    Great blog post! Really inspiring! I wholeheartedly agree! My husband however, would not……Lego is for Boys, trains are for boys, why are you watching batman?!?!?……Sienna adores her cars, her ‘pink’ lego (I did have to compromise!), and will always watch a cartoon of Batman……’Toys are for everyone’…..well said!

    • Helen Russell October 4, 2014 at 6:39 am Reply

      Thanks for your support Kay. I hope Sienna continues to enjoy all her toys.

  5. Eliza October 4, 2014 at 6:33 am Reply

    I teach a couple of boys who, for some reason think singing is ‘girly’ and therefore refuse to sing in piano class! This is a first for me, as all the other boys I teach love to sing and do it quite loudly! I really liked your article — music IS for everyone!

    • Helen Russell October 4, 2014 at 6:38 am Reply

      Hi Eliza, glad you liked the article. As a Kodaly enthusiast I sing in all my lessons and do get resistance from girls and boys. I’ve found the best thing to do is not to tell or ask them to sing. I just sing. When they’re not concentrating they often start singing.
      Good luck, sounds like your students are very lucky to have you.

      • Eliza October 7, 2014 at 4:31 am

        Hello Helen,
        Thanks so much for the encouragement. Yes i’ve been having some success after months of singing while they play…patience is the key i think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: