Feminism to be included in A-Level politics syllabus

The A-level politics syllabus will be changed so that it includes feminism, schools minister Nick Gibb has said, after campaigners criticised the government for dropping all references to it in its new draft curriculum.

Mr Gibb said all politics students would be given “the opportunity to study the core ideas of feminism” and exam boards were already making changes to the final content.

Mr Gibb admitted the government did not properly recognise the role of female political thinkers in its draft plans – with Mary Wollstonecraft the sole voice – and said more women would now be included in the course content.

His comments followed an outcry over proposals to teach three core political ideologies, socialism, liberalism and conservatism, but to drop feminism as a named topic.

Education secretary and equalities minister Nicky Morgan intervened personally to make the change after a consultation revealed widespread opposition to the plans, Mr Gibb indicated.

During a Commons debate on the issue, Mr Gibb said: “We recognise that the work of female political thinkers was not given due weight in the draft content and the final content will set out clearly those female political thinkers whose work should be studied.

“Suggestions have included Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, Rosa Luxemburg, to name but a few. Feminism is an optional area of study in current specifications.

“It was never our intention to exclude the study of feminism from the reformed A-level and we said we would listen to the consultation.”

He said the department for education had seen the “strength of feeling” of those who responded, adding: “I can assure you that the final politics A-level will give all students the opportunity to study the core ideas of feminism.”

Mr Gibb was responding to Labour MP Rupa Huq, who said the original decision sent a “toxic” message at a time when the movement still had great importance, considering the wide gender imbalance in politics.

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