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Sex education alone is not enough to fight ‘crisis in masculinity’

Girls should be taught how to challenge people in power. Source: Reuters/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Calling it a “facile answer” to a complex issue, a headmaster in a UK all girls’ school is calling out Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening MP’s suggestion that changes to Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) can be a possible mitigation of the crisis in masculinity.

Jenny Brown, who heads St Albans High School for Girls wrote in The Telegraph that the solution to the crisis in sexual abuse and harassment against women as seen since the expose on Harvey Weinstein and his scandals need to go beyond just sex education.

“This is not a case of individuals misunderstanding how to behave when making romantic advances, nor is it an issue of consent,” Brown wrote.

“It is an issue of power and abuse of that power.”

To fight against the “gender pay gap, boardroom inequality and a lack of representation in politics and public institution” – the whole she-bang – Brown suggests equipping young female students with the courage to challenge the status quo ie. fighting power with power.

Giving examples of what St Albans does, such as giving speeches and starting campaigns for topics they feel strongly about, Brown says these activities empower her students to bring change. And this espousing of women’s rights have never been stronger in St Albans than the last 12 months, which have seen Donald Trump – who has been reported several times about his lurid history with women – ascend to the White House.

“Really though, what they are campaigning for is not relevant; it is the fact they are doing it. It is the fact that they have identified something that they believe should be changed and have the confidence to try and force that change,” she wrote.

Brown does not see the cases of harassment and abuse to end anytime soon – all the more reason for young female students to learn to how to challenge injustice and speak out.

“Our young people need to be ready to challenge this, leaving school with fire in their bellies and the mindset to effect change successfully.”

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