Programmes d'Études de la femme
Dans les écoles secondaires du Manitoba, les Études de la femme ne figurent plus aux programmes d'enseignement. Or, il y a tout juste dix ans de cela, les premiers de ces programmes étaient instaurés dans la province, suscitant un vif interet parmi toute une génération d'éducateurs et d'élèves. Il faut se souvenir qu'à l'époque, les droits de la personne, la sensibilisation aux besoins d'autrui, passionnaient le public. Dix ans plus tard, on assiste à un revirement vers la droite, et à une privatisation accrue dans tous les domaines. Face aux dures réalités de la vie quotidienne, l'individu cherche avant tout à sauvegarder ses intérêts personnels: une société altruiste fait place à une société égocentrique où les droits des femmes (comme ceux de toute autre "minorité") reprennent une importance fort mineure.
S'inspirant de son expérience personnelle, l'auteur, qui est conseillère scolaire de métier, évoque ici la brève historique des programmes d'Études de la femme au Manitoba.
THE STORY OF AN ORPHANED
by Martha Colquhoun
Women's studies in Manitoba schools died when the human rights thrust of the 70's -- those wonderful years when it seemed that at last we might all stay our hunger at the first sitting -- took a terrible turn to the right, to privatization, self- interest, the "Me" generation. The economic recession has forcefully reminded us that concern for human right's issues is a function of the size of the pie, not the size of the heart.
In Manitoba there was never a large number of schools offering courses in women's studies -- perhaps six at best -- but the materials developed for use in those courses and the mere fact of their existence sparked other teachers to include modules, or units, on women's studies in such regular courses as language, arts, literature, social studies, even general business and economics. A few dedicated, determined feminists such as Maxine Hamilton at Kildonan East Regional Secondary School have integrated topics from women's studies into their programs, but generally with the pressure of heavier workloads and the preoccupation with job security the impetus has been lost.
The Manitoba Department of Education no longer has a full-time or even half-time consultant for women's programs. Because of her own commitment, Grace Parasuik, who previously held the position, has carried the responsibilities of women's studies consultant into her new position as special assistant to the Deputy Minister, but her workload is heavy and time pressures severe. She hopes to find someone already on staff with the necessary commitment and time to assume responsibility for women's programs, but cut-backs in the Department make it impossible to hire someone for the job.
Ten years ago Department of Education priorities were such that a full-time consultant, Heather Henderson, was available to work with teachers in the field and to develop the material resources necessary to support, women's studies programs in the schools.
Ten years ago the first women's, studies courses were introduced in Manitoba. By looking back to 1974 we perhaps can gain some insight into the changes brought about by a decade. Since I know best my own experience, it is that, I will review.