Education Union Chief Warns of Rising Misogyny Among Boys in UK Schools

Daniel Kebede, leader of the National Education Union, has called for an urgent government inquiry into the escalating issue of misogyny among young men in UK schools, citing concerns over easy access to damaging online content. Here’s the full story.

Online Misogyny

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The spreading virus of misogyny online has sped up in recent years, with a whole host of online grifters posing as influencers seeking to pollute the minds of young men and boys. 

Andrew Tate

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The most well-known is Andrew Tate, currently on trial in Romania for sex trafficking. Still, he is only the tip of an iceberg that goes far into the depths of the internet through podcasts, YouTube stars, and a pervasive online influence campaign rampant on social media. 

Proliferation of Sexism

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This has led to a proliferation of sexism and misogyny among young men, not just in the UK but all over the world. 

Calls for Independent Inquiry

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The situation is becoming so severe that Daniel Kebede, the general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), has called for an independent inquiry into what could be one of the most pressing issues in the lives of children and young people. 

“Completely Failed”

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Kebede has argued that government attempts to address this pervasive issue have “completely failed,” leaving schools and parents with the undue burden of addressing this societal emergency. 

“Problem With Sexism and Misogyny”

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Kebede, who was previously a high school maths teacher before being elected as the NEU’s general secretary, gave examples from his own teaching experience, telling the Guardian, “It’s very fair to say that there’s a real problem with sexism and misogyny within schools. I have my own anecdotes. I’m sure at conference members will be sharing their stories. There is a real problem with what young people can access via their smartphone with real ease.”

“Having a Real Impact”

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He continued, “It’s not just influencers such as Andrew Tate, but aggressive hardcore pornography which is really easily accessible to young people. This stuff is having a real impact, particularly on young boys and young men and their views of women and relationships.”

“No Doubt”

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Kedebe also expressed his disappointment in the government’s failure to tackle the issue, stating, “It’s a problem that I think that government has completely failed to intervene in. There has been no real regulation and it is causing a huge issue in our schools. There’s no doubt about that.”

“A Really Important Debate”

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He continued, “The problem goes well beyond just Andrew Tate in terms of what young people can access. I think this is going to be a really important debate and actually moving forward government need to take this very seriously.”

“Big Tech”

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Kedebe also called on the government to confront the problem at its source, which he claims is the “big tech” giants that have escaped any real regulation. 

“Accept Regulation”

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Kedebe explained, “Big tech have to take some responsibility and be regulated, and accept regulation, and ensure that young people can’t access these really aggressive, dangerous things on their phones.”

“Far Too Widespread”

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He continued, “It’s not enough to just allow schools to police it or parents. It’s just far too widespread. I think there needs to be a real inquiry into this from government which makes some recommendations on some significant reforms essentially.”

Mentorship and Media Literacy

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While acknowledging Labour’s initiatives to combat misogyny through mentorship programs and media literacy education, Kebede contends that more robust measures are needed to address a problem that has penetrated the educational zeitgeist. 

Real World Consequences

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According to Kedebe, teachers have seen the horrifying real-world consequences of the online misogyny and sexism that is now so rampant among young men. 

“Abuse, Violence, Sexual Assault”

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Kedebe stated, “I’ve worked with young girls who have been victims of really, really significant acts of misogyny on more than one occasion, who have experienced abuse, violence, sexual assault, and that is being fueled by a culture of misogyny and sexism that is in turn being fueled by what young boys and young men can access on their smartphones.”

Online Evolution

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Though some might see such issues as a parenting failure, Kedebe contends that this is not the case, stating, “Children and young people are very good at working out technology and how to use it and how to get around any filters and restrictions that are in place.”

Support for Families

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He continued, “We can’t individualize the issue and put it down to problem parenting, failure of parenting. It’s very difficult when every other child has access to a smartphone to be that parent who says no. There has to be regulation on this from government, who in turn supports families in making those decisions.”

Online Safety Act

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In response to the barrage of criticism from the country’s largest educational union, a government spokesperson attempted to assuage parental fears, stating, “Through our world-leading Online Safety Act, social media firms will be required to protect children from being exposed to harmful material online.”

“Support to Schools”

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They continued, “We are also reviewing the statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education and as a part of this, we are considering how our guidance and support to schools on this issue can be strengthened.”

Online Hatred

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Despite the government’s protestations, the call for an independent inquiry into misogyny in young men reflects the genuine threat of the spread of pervasive sexism and hatred in online spaces. 

Ghosts of the Past

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With recent polling by Ipsos showing that young men are more sexist than the generations that came before them, government failure to act risks a descent back into the kind of sexism many would have thought confined to period TV shows or old movies. 

Canary in the Coal Mine

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Daniel Kebede and other voices like his are the canary in the coal mine of an issue that, left unchecked, could seriously affect half the country’s population. 

The post Boys’ Misogyny Soars in UK Schools, Warns Education Union Chief first appeared on Swift Feed.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zeynep Demir Aslim.

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