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Teaching Our Boys to Respect Women
This week a prestigious private school in Melbourne attracted international condemnation after male students created and shared a list which inappropriately ‘ranked’ their female peers.

This is just the latest in a series of events that have prompted widespread outcry over gender-based discrimination and violence.

At St Edward’s College, a key theme for the year is our central College Value of  ‘Respect’. In terms of how our boys are guided in their treatment of women, here is why this is so important for our community.

  1. Human Dignity: Respecting women is fundamentally about recognising their inherent dignity and worth. Every individual, regardless of gender, deserves to be treated with respect, compassion and equality.
  2. Creating Safe and Inclusive Spaces: Schools should be safe environments free from intimidation and harassment. This allows all members of our community, including female staff and the female students at neighbouring schools to thrive.
  3. Preventing Gender-based Violence: Disrespectful attitudes towards women can contribute to a culture that normalises gender-based violence and harassment. In teaching the value of respect, we challenge narratives of discrimination and inequality that can lead to far worse treatment of women, reflected by the alarming statistics around domestic and gender-based violence on the Central Coast.
  4. Promoting Positive Relationships: Learning to respect women in schools sets the foundation for healthy, respectful relationships in adulthood. By modelling and teaching respect for women, teachers and families can shape our boys’ attitudes and actions towards gender equality and mutual respect.

Justin Coulson from the Happy Families Institute shares some of the recent findings on the treatment of women at the hands of men, and some game changing ideas designed to teach our boys to be better than this as they grow older. To read more, click on the link below.

Teaching our Boys to Respect Women – Justin Coulson

For our high school context, parents may wish to focus on the second half of the article – teaching boys aged 12-18. However, for the parents and families out there, we know that these important lessons can start much earlier than this. Only through collaboration between families and schools will we see these attitudes and behaviours shift, making our world a safe and inclusive place for all people, regardless of gender.