Another matronising femsplainer at the The Conversation
Anyone who is any doubt about the degradation of academic standards in the UK should read The Conversation, an online outlet written by UK academics. You might expect balanced arguments, nuance and rigorous background research. You might expect that, but you will struggle to find it. What you often get is sub-Guardian standard moral grandstanding.
The UK government is considering cuts to its foreign aid budget. Personally, I think that is is a mistake but you can argue for and against this move. Pauline Rose in an article in The Conversation does something different and turns it into an argument about gender, suggesting that the cuts will put girls’ education at risk. The article produces no evidence that education, in particular, will be put at risk or that the cuts will be specifically affect girls.
Pauline Rose seems to be suggesting that it only matters if girls’ education is affected and the boys can just go to hell. If so, that would not be an uncommon point of view among feminist writers. An empathy gap that sees girls as more deserving of our compassion than boys is considered normal and justified.
Pauline Rose mentions Ethiopia, though why this country is selected from all the others is not clear. In Ethiopia, literacy rates are poor among boys and girls although slightly better among boys. Both genders are deserving of better education and the situation does not justify the ‘only girls matter’ tone of this article. The usual argument is trotted out that both genders benefit from improving girls education. That may be true but both genders will also benefit from improving boys’ education.
This kind of empathy gap was apparent on the coverage of the Boko Haram kidnappings. It was argued by some that it was a form a gendered violence and the media focus was exclusively focused on the girls who had been kidnapped. To some extent this made sense you could bring back from the dead the other much more numerous victims; boys. Whereas about 40 girls had been kidnapped the international feminist machine kept hidden the fact that of the order of 2000 men and boys had been murdered by Boka Haram at one school 29 boys had been shot or burnt alive. The violence was indeed gendered but not in the way it was rported by the Angelina Jolie, Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton and their ilk.
Let’s ampaign to ensure that both boys and girls receive a good education in all parts of the world.