Fairytales May Be Banned From Victorian Schools If They Show Gender Bias

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Most of our beloved fairytales involve a damsel in distress and a heroic prince to save the day (i.e. Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella) – which is why these stories may be banned from schools under a new program introduced by the government in Victoria, claims the Herald Sun.

Respectful Relationships Program

The Respectful Relationships program is being introduced into schools in an attempt to tackle family violence and teach students of all ages about respectful relationships.

“The Government is investing $21.8 million over two years to roll out a holistic approach to Respectful Relationships across schools and early childhood services.

“This approach will support the delivery of respectful relationships education, through the new Victorian Curriculum across all year levels,” says the program.

The program suggests that children would notice in these tales that “men are supposed to be strong and brave and women are supposed to be beautiful and need rescuing by men.

“If a man or woman does not fit this description, they are usually made out to be the ‘baddies’ or the villain — like a witch or an evil prince.”

So under the program, all preschool books will be audited to determine whether or not they promote gender stereotypes.

A training kit by Respectful Relationships will reportedly encourage childhood educators to consider bias statements like “good morning, princess”, “boys don’t cry” and “girls can’t play with trucks”.

And as part of training, educators would develop a plan which the kit says could include an audit of whether their books and toys challenge or encourage gender stereotypes.

Is This Really Happening?

However, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has denied there is a move to ban fairytales in classrooms in Victoria.

“We are very much in favour of kids reading stories and then sitting down and talking about them,” he told 9News.

“It is called learning. Learning is about reading books and talking about them, it is a proper thing to do, it is not new.”

But he says that poor attitudes towards women can be formed in the early years, and this needs to be challenged at a young age.

“I think there are lots of attitudes formed in many different ways over a long period of time,” he added.

“Those attitudes are, in aggregate, leading to some really bad outcomes for women.

“We have to challenge that and do everything we possibly can. But the notion the government is banning fairytales is just a fairytale itself.”

You can read more about The Respectful Relationship here.

For more articles relating to children’s education and scrapping gender-bias in the classroom, click here.


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