Equality in schools
Students learn about gender equality

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 26/97) - Andrew Menton hopes that in the future there won't be any stereotypical roles for men and women.

"It's going to be a long fight to prove to people that men and women are equal, but it will be worth it," said the Grade 12 St. Pat's high school student.

Menton is just one of hundreds of students who learned about the issues surrounding gender equality during a month-long campaign at the high school in February.

Through workshops, discussions, guest speakers and role-playing, the teens looked at an issue that has become an important part of the work world, the media, the home and society in general.

Staff member and project organizer Deb Cooke, said that the initiative was necessary to get students talking about a situation they all experience daily.

"Any kind of reaction is good -- just getting students to start thinking about the issues is good," she said. "Taking the time to talk about the issues is important."

"It's a lifelong thing -- it's not something that's going to stop at the end of February," added Cooke.

In a world of changing roles, Cooke said educators feel there is a need to educate young people about gender equality.

"I do know that kids are challenged to be their own person and to follow through with their own goals," she said. "I think society can make that very different at times."

This latest project is one of the ways schools try to deal with many of the issues facing teens these days, said Cooke.

"Our initiative is to reaffirm students' sense of self and to give them a healthy environment to do that."