Award-winning authors will spend a week in Victorian schools under a pilot to help teach girls and boys to recognise gender stereotypes in the books they read.
The intensive writers camps, which will cost schools nothing and is aimed at years seven to 10, will begin this year under a $50,000 grant by the Andrews Labor Government.
The literature workshops will held at about six regional and disadvantaged schools and be run by the prestigious Australian women’s literary award, the Stella Prize, as part of its schools program.
The program – “Stella Writing Camp: Towards Gender Equality through Literature” – wants students to read more critically and imagine a future not limited by their gender.
The grant will also expand the “Girls Write Up” workshops that encourage teenagers to find their own voice and find the confidence to share their own stories.
The Government is encouraging secondary schools to include more female authors on their reading lists.
It is committed to changing attitudes towards women and girls through initiatives such as the Respectful Relationships program, which teaches students in years prep to 10 to build healthy relationships.
Additionally, Victoria’s first-ever Gender Equality Strategy will examine how poor attitudes towards women can be addressed, and what can be done to improve social, civic and economic equality.
Further information on the Stella Prize Schools program is available at http://thestellaprize.com.au/schools-program/about-the-schools-program/
Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Fiona Richardson
“This government is proud to support the Stella Prize Schools Program as it helps girls and boys read more critically and recognise the gender dynamics at play in literature.”
“Only 39 per cent of VCE books in Victoria are by women. We want all children – boys and girls – to have a voice and support a society where women and men are treated as equals.’’
Quotes attributable to Stella Prize ambassador Catherine Andrews
“Daniel and I want our sons and daughter to see themselves reflected in the books they read and study, and be exposed to the lives and experiences of our whole society. ”
“Gender stereotypes limit us all, male and female. ”