Why equality in education is important

and what we can learn from Pippi Longstocking

Article was written on 22.06.2020 by Yalda.

"Feminism" is not a very popular word in Germany. Only just over a third of the German population describes itself as a feminist, according to a survey (1).

The word is actually only about granting men, boys, women and girls equal rights and opportunities and breaking down restrictive gender roles. This is what it says in the dictionary of the German language (2). Equal rights are already important in the education of the very young, because this is where the first patterns and imprints are created.

Why equality in education is important

There is no country in the world where women and men have equal rights and at the same time equal opportunities, neither economically nor socially. For example, only 24% of all members of parliament worldwide are women. Women are therefore less likely to be in influential positions. In 2020, women will continue to do most of the work of bringing up children, and in the same breath they will experience disadvantages for their professional advancement. They earn less money for the same performance, work more often part-time and are significantly more affected by poverty in old age (3) (4).

How parents can contribute to greater equality

Of course, there are also structural problems in the question of equality, such as not earning equally well in all professional fields or unfair employers. Even the best education cannot change that. What parents can influence, however, is the tools they give their child.

Moritz gets lots of books at school. His parents tell him not to complain about the heavy school bag because he is a strong boy. When he cries, his parents don't respond to him and say "Indians don't know pain". They enrol him in a karate class

Anisa likes to romp around in the yard and is sometimes quite loud. Her parents scold her and tell her not to be so cheeky and wild. They don't say anything to her brother, although he also plays football loudly.

In childhood we learn the patterns that shape us throughout our lives. For example, when a child is told that he or she must be strongly "like an Indian", he or she remembers this. Such patterns can prevent the child from developing freely. Perhaps Moritz would never have the idea of becoming a ballet dancer, although he can dance very well. But this possibility does not appear in his "world of strong Indians". Or Anisa, as an adult woman, would not stand up for a higher salary because it seems rude to her and she has learned not to be too rebellious. So it is important to give children a lot of space to be authentic and to be allowed to live different facets. If parents offer their children different toys and different leisure activities, they can choose whether they prefer to paint, climb, play silly games, play selling, doctor teddy bears or prepare tea for the doll's house. If, for example, Anisa is only ever offered the doll to play with, she will quickly create an automatic link that she is mainly responsible for "comforting" and "taking care of".

So two things are very important to teach equality in the nursery:

  1. Be a role model yourself: Children watch their parents how they relate to things. If they observe their parents in the fact that, for example, only the father is or may be professionally successful, then children transfer this into their ideas about the world

So the best thing is to live equal rights. This could be in the form of both parents being allowed to pursue their careers and both parents taking over parts of the upbringing. For example: Both take parental leave one after the other. Mom writes a book while Dad stays at home with the children and Dad goes on further education when Mom takes her parental leave. It is important as parents to convey the image that you can be anything as a man or woman: sad, strong, ambitious, adventurous, courageous and sensitive.

  1. To encourage boys and girls alike to go their own way: To encourage them. Pippi Longstocking said, "We've never tried that, so I'm sure it'll work." Of course, you have to set limits for children sometimes, but it's important to treat children in the same way whether they are boys or girls

(1 ) https://civey.com/

(2 ) https://www.dwds.de/wb/Feminismus

(3) https://www.bento.de/politik/weltfrauentag-3-gruende-warum-mann-feminist-sein-sollte-a-c226e4da-49f8-4ffd-850d-ca4759c0ad9f?fbclid=IwAR0w69x49wBBmU0Q5DqMMG_0Hz9WKLh3l9Ixc1njprNjYcjJGbEmsjSW2zQ

(4 ) https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-gender-gap-report-2018


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