Sewing, ironing, and cooking are basic tasks that most people learn at home. But it’s entirely different when a school offers it as an additional class, so the students, particularly boys, build values regarding gender equality and break the stigmas they face when doing these activities. That is what the Montecastelo School of Spain teaches its students under the slogan, “Equality is learned with actions.”
In 2018, the school, situated in the city of Vigo, announced that it’d include lessons in home economics among other subjects. During the lessons, the male students would be taught to do tasks such as ironing, sewing, cooking, and other manual activities such as masonry, carpentry, and plumbing and electrician skills.
All classes are taught voluntarily by teachers, representatives of the school campus, as well as some of the fathers of these same students.
As Gabriel Bravo, the coordinator of the establishment, explained, all the activities were carried out as “it seemed very useful for our students to learn to perform these tasks so that, when they form a family, they are involved from the beginning and know that a house is a matter of two, it’s not a matter of the woman cleaning, doing the dishes, and ironing. This will allow them to become aware and learn to handle themselves at home.”
The idea was born when the school administration was searching for ways that could promote gender equality criteria for their students. Then the project was communicated to parents and students. The parents being the ones who did not have any qualms about accepting the idea, while the students were uncomfortable when they heard about sewing and ironing.
Nevertheless, at the time they started to perform the tasks, their resistance dissipated, as they realized that these are simple activities both men and women can do if they only follow simple steps.
“For some, it was the first time they had held an iron, it was fun and instructive at the same time, we are quite surprised, and the parents are very happy,” Bravo said in an interview.