The article, Preparations for the Duties of life: Women Reformers and the Functional Curriculum, 1893-1918, written by Christine Woyshner in 2004 explored a movement for all women in education. Womens clubs in the early 1900s sparked a change in the curriculum for women, to feminize the school curriculum so it fit the needs for women. Although this was a different era and the change to feminize the curriculum is not what we would hope for today, this movement did create a better education for women. This movement lead to shape the curriculum to accommodate for the education women need about their bodies, their rights, and equality. Stanley Hall was a well-known developmentalist who valued informed child study and to seize the opportunity to implement mothing along with a few other additional skills into the curriculum for a more functional school system. “Yet what women reformers wanted did not enter the school curriculum in the ways they had hoped. However, while women reformers were not entirely successful in changing the formal course of study, they did contribute to the notable change in making schools into social welfare institutions.”(Woyshner, 2004, p. 33).
By the early 1920s the feminized curriculum that women reformers had hoped to implement was unsuccessful wo they began to take a new approach to enter women’s needs into the education system. They wanted female anatomy, health, psychology, and child studies imbedded into the curriculum for the sake of proper education to create better parents and citizens for society and the future. The women reformers began a strong push for schools to become similar to social welfare institutions beginning with health initiatives. “By 1925 was assisted in large part by volunteers to ensure its success in identifying children school age and bringing them to schools for health inspections.” (Woyshner, 2004, p. 35). Along with health initiatives, women reformers took over meals in schools during World War I, this was an important opportunity for middle class schools because many families were to poor to provide all meals for their children. With the implementation of meals and health inspections women really began to spark a change in the curriculum not just for girls but boys as well. “Women leaders promoted this type of education sought to value the duties of women in the school curriculum and to legitimate the home among other social institutions, thereby allowing women to reconcile their intellectual interests with their everyday lives in the home.” (Woyshner, 2004, p. 36). If the clubs of women during the early 1900s pushed for such a drastic gender-neutral curriculum then why is the current school curriculum still more beneficial for men, even at the highest levels of education.
This is the topic for my curriculum summary paper and it focuses on the curriculum movement in the early 1900s effecting the current curriculum. Although we know that all people deserve to be treated equally and given equal opportunity then why does the current education curriculum still remain more beneficial for men than women even in university curriculums. I picked two recent articles based off the gendered curriculum currently in secondary and post-secondary school. Then compared the curriculum and outcomes of girls and women in school and the results from a curriculum that favours the success of men.