Letters to the press about boys' education

"It is uncool for boys to perform or to achieve in anything other than sport. Even in their traditional academic subjects of mathematics and science, boys have given up. When awards are given out, male recipients are sniggered at by both their male and female peers, but not so for female recipients... And then we have that most drastic symptom that something is wrong in boys' culture - the growing teenage male suicide rate... while women have spent a decade or more in struggle to make their culture more relevant to their needs, men have been content to do nothing about theirs.

Who today is championing boys' cultural needs in the same way feminists have done for more than a decade for girls? .. Are there any feminists who care about boys' culture for its own sake and for the benefits it brings to both boys and girls?"

A father, writing to "The Gen", June 1994

A parent writes about the lack of encouragement and role models for boys in high schools, as observed when trying to choose a suitable school -

"At our allotted school... there were three performances to impress us, 30 students in all, and all of them girls.

Well, not much to inspire us here so on to the next... Our son is a good artist. The art department was fabulous, the work lifted your spirits, and there was an active display for parents - all girls of course.

Off to the technology department, well equipped, interesting work... and posters up saying Girls can do Anything. Yes, of course they can, but does it just come naturally to boys?" Posters in the computer room - Equal Bytes for Girls. In Food Technology, no posters encouraging boys into this field. The writer "cannot escape the feeling that if you want your high school child to be nurtured and encouraged, shown the possibilities of all subjects and careers and to have their leadership skills developed, it's best to have a girl.... Of the 90 primary school teachers graduating from University of Sydney's Faculty of Education this year, two are men... We are becoming a society that fears it will never cross a bridge built by a woman but couldn't care less that its children may never be taught by a man".

S.J. Bunyan SMH 2/8/94

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