It’s time for the Toronto School Board to reconsider the words on its website

photo illustration by Natalie Angier for The New York Times

A few weeks ago, for some reason, the feminist organization Sheroes decided to run an ad on the Toronto School Board’s website. It featured several women — Queen Elizabeth II, Monica Lewinsky, Germaine Greer, J.K. Rowling, Jane Goodall, and Bernice King, among them — discussing their top achievement, and kicking off their careers. It is a powerful visual, and a lovely tie-in to next week’s visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

But what is that, exactly, the Toronto School Board thinks it is “the responsibility of the Toronto School Board” to teach its students about? Students should learn about women in their everyday lives, and “be inspired to reach their full potential”? Girl power has lasted, and continues to endure, despite intense opposition. Fictional female icons, in fact, are doing very well at the box office — how did that happen? I hope someone responsible at the Toronto School Board asks itself how it can foster greater women in the world, and continue to balance the curriculum with appropriate social and academic diversity.

The Toronto School Board posted the ad following criticisms of its curriculum about women, which some students and parents viewed as too “male-centric.” Its director, Linda Matsuda, said that the board was running an initiative to have students’ ideas and talents recognized and valued. She added, “Our holistic approach is to celebrate all of our people and all of our diversity and how that manifests itself in our classrooms in terms of content.”

She says. I say.


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