German schoolgirls talk feminism
West German schoolgirls have gotten together to object to stereotyped sex roles in education. In a land where feminism still rouses snickers, that's news, Monitor correspondent Elizabeth Pond writes.
The young women, who gathered in Hannover in mid-September, came from every sort of West German high school: academic and non-academic, trade and comprehensive. They quickly discovered a common element: hardly any of them had a woman principal or director of studies.
When they pooled their textbook role models, they found men pilots, teachers, lawyers, mayors, skilled workers - and woman housewives.
In one of the most troubling areas, trade-school pupils reported that today's growing unemployment is going far toward restoring the old prejudice that girls shouldn't take ''real jobs'' away from boys and should confine their aspirations to the traditional nurse-secretary-clerk positions.
The Lower Saxony Pupils' Board, which initiated the pioneer conference and invited delegates from other West German states as well, hopes to repeat the gathering in the future. The assignments for next time have already been given: to campaign against any demeaning image of women in textbooks, to promote the discussion of women's issues in classes, and to monitor teaching in boys' and girls' trade schools to try to make them comparable.