This image might seem a little odd to you, that’s because it is. Men will always be better men and women will always be better women. What does that mean? A man has gifts and skills and strengths and a woman has gifts and skills and strengths.
Can men clean and do the dishes? Yes. This has nothing to do with being a man… Just like a woman can fix her car and be her own mechanic.
Of course a man or woman can do the other, this happens all the time and its obvious. What isn’t so obvious however is a time not too long ago.
It is difficult to envision a time when boys and girls were raised with distinct expectations. A time when girls were directed to home economics classes in schools to acquire the skills necessary for being a good mother and wife, while boys were sent to learn auto repair or woodworking – traditionally considered more masculine skills. However, today, although these classes still exist, children have the freedom to choose them irrespective of their gender. In fact, The Montecastelo School of Spain is actively striving to dismantle these gender stereotypes. At this school, boys are taught tasks such as ironing, cooking, and sewing, often instructed by their fathers.
The Montecastelo School of Spain recognizes the importance of equality and emphasizes this through its actions. While the conventional curriculum for boys still includes subjects like masonry, plumbing, and electrical work, the staff have introduced classes that were previously exclusive to girls.
These classes were introduced in 2018 and are taught by volunteers, many of whom are fathers of students at the school. According to Gabriel Bravo, the School Coordinator, these skills are crucial for preparing boys for adulthood.
By teaching boys these skills, the school is challenging stereotypes and conveying the idea that performing these tasks is an integral part of being a member of a family. These skills are useful to anyone, and it is no longer solely the responsibility of women to handle household chores such as cleaning, cooking, and ironing. Bravo believes that acquiring these skills will enable boys to become self-sufficient at home.
Although initially hesitant, the students eventually embraced these classes. Many of them found that the classes helped them understand the work involved in being a parent, making them realize that running a household and performing parental tasks are not easy.
Andrès Luna, an Economics professor at the school, teaches his students that ironing is not exclusively a woman’s job. According to Claire Breton, the curriculum aims to teach boys about gender equality while also fostering their independence, reducing their reliance on their mothers.
Interestingly, breaking down these gender stereotypes is not a new concept in the United States. As early as 1996, Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia, worked towards dismantling stereotypes for boys and girls. Home economics classes were also being introduced in various schools across the country at that time, catering to both boys and girls.
Renamed as “Work and Family Studies” or “Life-Management Education,” these classes attracted boys who were interested in learning how to become good parents, improve their communication skills, learn cooking, and strengthen family relationships.
However, the interest in home economics classes has dwindled, and they are now referred to as family and consumer sciences (FCS) classes. In 2012, only 3.5 million students enrolled in FCS secondary programs, marking a 38 percent decrease over a decade.
According to Carol Werhan, an FCS educator and a board member of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, the skills taught in FCS classes still hold significance. She believes that these classes contribute to creating well-rounded individuals who are knowledgeable about the world, thus equipping them with essential life skills and benefiting the larger community.
What do you think about this? Are they trying to reverse gender roles? Can we all do each others jobs? is it better to be within a specific gender role..