A small step against patriarchal hegemony

2017-06-01
This paper tells the story of a young female committed English teacher working at a public school in a remote village in eastern Turkey. Aspiring to work as a transformative intellectual, she chose to be assigned to a public school right after finishing her undergraduate studies. Towards the end of her first semester in teaching, she decided to take her first bold step by preparing a school bulletin board on the theme of women. This was indeed an important move in a conservative patriarchal village school where mothers of children had never stepped their feet onto the school building. Meanwhile, she raised the issues of child brides, violence against women and gender roles in her 5th grade and 8th grade classes. She also asked students to voice their opinions in writing: "Millions of girls in Turkey are forced to marry at the age of 12, they give birth at the age of 13 and they die at the age 15" (5th grader, female), "I am a woman, I have my rights. I shouldn't be afraid to walk alone in the streets" (8th grader, female). Inspired by student responses and reactions, she decided to hold a women's meeting at the village school in the following semester. She prepared invitation cards and invited each woman in the village by paying individual visits to their homes. On a snowy day, 40 women entered the school for the first time in their lives and talked about their individual experiences for three hours: "I was a child bride and I was exposed to physical violence. I am relieved we talked about this issue here. Now I feel stronger and valuable." Right now this novice teacher is feeling happy to have partly achieved the mission she set for herself by being able to take "a small step" neither the school principal nor her colleagues believed she would be able to take. This paper traces the roots of her commitment and intellectual courage in a solitary attempt to make a small difference in a patriarchal hegemonic social and institutional space.
Citation Formats
S. Y. Tezgiden Cakcak, “A small step against patriarchal hegemony,” presented at the International Conference on Critical Education :Rethinking Alternatives To Neoliberalism İn Education, 28 June – 2 July 2017, Athens, Greece, 2017, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/86749.