29.09.2016, Päivi Valtonen
Gender equality in basic education in Finland
Educational equality is a key premise of Finnish basic education. But what about gender equality in schools? Are girls and boys equal? Are they treated in the same way? Is there room for gender diversity? How gender equality is seen in textbooks and other materials?
The Finnish National Board of Education has published a guide about promoting gender equality in basic education. (Tasa-arvotyö on taitolaji Unfortunately only available in Finnish.) The purpose of the guide is to instruct education organisers and schools how gender equality measures can be carried out in practice in schools. The guide provides a plenty of suggestions and practical examples of how systematic gender equality work can be done.
Last Saturday my children’s school had a school day for both students and parents. The theme of the day was gender equality. The school is making its own gender equality plan. Parents filled out a questionnaire that dealt with gender equality. The questionnaire was based on the publication of the Finnish National Board of Education. There were issues about safety, teachers and teaching, textbooks and other materials, harassment etc. Students will respond to a similar questions. Answers of parents and students will partly help to make school’s gender equality plan.
I have realized something important about gender equality: we should not see the child through his or her sex, every child should be seen as an individual and unique person.
I truly believe that in Finland school is equal and safe place with professional and reliable adults who accept the students as they are.