It’s the end of the school year, which means it’s class parties, talent shows and awards assemblies, all day, every day. Note to self…take the last week of school off next year!
So I’ve been in and around classrooms all week, and this morning, in a 5th grade room, I noticed this poster on the wall:
What do you think stands out to me when I look at this poster?
Hint…it’s not the fact that Warren Harding’s middle name was Gamaliel…
Right. They are all men.
I’m aware that this reality isn’t news to anyone, that every day as they grab their backpacks a classroom full of fifth graders looks up at a poster full of 44 male faces.
So what’s the issue?
For me it’s about what the poster communicates, to both the boys and the girls in the class.
For the boys, in part the poster communicates that as a gender they belong in power, that the highest office in the federal administration is something that not only is attainable, it’s theirs exclusively. Surely, this is a message that Tertullian can get behind.
For the girls–and I have had a little girl in this particular classroom this year–the poster communicates that as a gender they belong on the outside of power, and that if a woman is going to make it into the highest office in the land, they’ll first need to overcome 200+ years of national praxis. Is it subtle? Yes. But it’s real.
Models are important, which is why, someday, I hope a classroom full of fifth graders, boys and girls, can look up at such a poster and see: