Feminism Returns To A-Level Curriculum After Outcry That Women Were Being 'Deleted'

German-born American political theorist and author Hannah Arendt, who will appear on the new A-Level
German-born American political theorist and author Hannah Arendt, who will appear on the new A-Level
Fred Stein Archive via Getty Images

Feminism is to be brought back on to the curriculum after a Government U-turn forced by an outcry from campaigners and students.

Schools minister Nick Gibb told MPs last night that the new politics A-Level will give “all students the opportunity to study the core ideas of feminism”.

The Government prompted fury in November after a section on feminism in the revised version of the course was removed.

Just one woman, Mary Wollstonecraft, was included among seven political thinkers in a draft consultation.

Ministers now say exam boards are already making changes to the final content to include feminism, and say it was never the intention for the subject to be excised.

Labour MP Rupa Huq said the "mooted rewriting of history" was "nothing short of sinister – it’s deleting women"

Mr Gibb cited Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt and Rosa Luxemburg as “but a few” who would feature in the new post-16 syllabus.

Details of the change emerged during a House of Commons debate brought by Labour MP, Rupa Huq.

While she praised A-level student June Eric-Udorie, a constituent who launched a petition signed by around 50,000 protesting against the decision, the MP told The Huffington Post UK she found the minister's response "a bit thin".

It is the second re-think of the curriculum forced on the Government. Fellow student, Jessy McCabe, succeeded in her campaign to have female composers included on an A-level music syllabus after discovering there were no women among the 63 compositions selected.

She added: "Teenage girls shouldn't be having to re-write the curriculum for them. There seems to be a pattern here. The risk is they are trying to wipe out 50 per cent of the population."

Ms Huq said in the debate: “This mooted rewriting of history is nothing short of sinister – it’s deleting women.”

She added: “This proposed syllabus implies that women do not belong in politics and that their contributions are not significant.

“It’s a toxic message and it’s been condemned roundly by loads of people, including the Girl Guides – you wouldn’t think that they are a radical dangerous group usually.”

In the draft proposal, three core political ideologies – socialism, liberalism and conservatism – remained but feminism was dropped as a named topic.

In the debate, Mr Gibb said: “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 which opened on 3 November and closed on 14 December.”

He added: “Following the consultation on the politics A-level, exam boards are making changes to the final content to respond to the concerns raised and we will publish our response shortly but I can assure you that the final politics A-level will give all students the opportunity to study the core ideas of feminism.”