Turkish ministry to broadcast public service ad against gender inequality in education
ISTANBULThe Education Ministry is set to broadcast a new public service announcement against language reinforcing gender inequality in education, as part of its Project to Promote Gender Equality in Education (ETCEP), daily Habertürk has reported.
The ETCEP was launched back in May as a joint project between Turkey and the EU, aiming to promote gender equality in education, investigate the curriculum for contradictory discourse, and create a guide to be used by teachers and school managers.
A public service announcement has been prepared as the first phase of the project, in order to combat gendered discourse used to teach children how to read.
Between 1968 and 2005, Turkish children were taught to read and write through a deductive method: First learning to read sentences and then breaking them up into syllables and letters.
Some of the most widely used sentences highlight gender roles by urging boys to be active and earn their bread while portraying domestic work as the duty of women.
The new public service announcement gives examples of such sentences and then urges the public to re-write these phrases.
“Ali, throw the ball; Ayşe, catch the ball. Ali, buy the bread; Ayşe, set the table. Ali, help your father; Ayşe, help your mother. Ali, be a man; Ayşe, Ayşe? Let’s re-phrase these sentences,” the announcement says.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Turkey’s media watchdog, approved the broadcasting of the announcement.
Esat Çıplak, a member of RTÜK, told Habertürk that gender discrimination starts in childhood.
“It is not just the role of men to buy bread and the role of women to set the table. Gender discrimination begins in childhood. Unfortunately, gender inequality exists in schools as well,” Çıplak said.
Officials from the Education Ministry stated that the project will continue for two years, bringing the curriculum of 10 classes and the content of 80 school textbooks under scrutiny.
The parts of books that contradict the principle of gender equality will be removed, while it will be aimed for gender equality to no longer be a discrete section of the curriculum, but rather embedded throughout it. Writers of school textbooks will also receive training.
The ETCEP is currently active as a pilot scheme in 40 schools across 10 cities. It is the first scheme in Turkey that aims to promote gender equality in education by reaching out to teachers, school managers, students and parents simultaneously.