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Education department draft drops feminism and gender equality from syllabus, while only one woman features among political thinkers

A move by the UK government to drop feminism from the A-level politics syllabus has triggered outrage among campaigners and students.

The section on feminism in a revised version of the course put to consultation by the Department for Education has been removed, along with the topics of sex/gender, gender equality and patriarchy. Furthermore, only one woman, Mary Wollstonecraft, appears in a list of seven political thinkers in the draft.

The open consultation on the proposal for the AS and A-level syllabus will run to 15 December and campaigners and students are urging the public to oppose them.

Student June Eric-Udorie has launched a petition to urge Nicky Morgan, the education secretary and women’s minister, against going ahead with the changes and urged her to add more female thinkers to the A-level politics syllabus.

She writes: “When women are underrepresented in society, the government should be working to address this problem. As a young woman and student, it is imperative that girls and boys get the full picture at school, or we are doing them a disservice. It has been said that you cannot be what you cannot see. Female role models are important.”

The proposal comes after student Jessy McCabe succeeded in her campaign to have female composers included on an A-level music syllabus after realising it featured an all-male list of 63 composers.

Jacquelyn Guderley, co-founder of Stemettes, an organisation that seeks to inspire girls into science, technology, engineering and maths, said the move would “silence the women’s voices of the past”.

She writes on her blog: “If we know nothing of key social and political milestones – women gaining the right to matriculate and graduate from many universities in 1920 and gaining the right to vote in 1928 – how can we learn from them and progress? How can we be thankful but hungry for more?

“This can’t happen and it won’t happen. The government hase a responsibility to all of us … to be a progressive force for change; to allow this country and this world to march towards betterment. Women’s voices are often silenced. Let’s not let them silence the women’s voices of the past too.”