Skip to content

Health Education: The Androcentric Agenda

March 10, 2014

I originally wrote this post for the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education in 1986, and it was put online in 2014 – the date on which I am now publishing it.  To be honest, the core message (that perhaps a majority of Health Education themes are around the overt hazards of men, not the ‘invisible’ ones of women) probably remains valid, in part because there are good reasons to frame some health education around these themes, and also because not many people who teach health education routinely in schools have time to develop material which is not already easily available. 

The full text of Health Education: the Androcentric Agenda is below, with a few introductory observations and questions about how we might perceive this topic differently now, from in 1986.

These matters are however never easy; moral panics and even less dramatic public concerns change over time. More recently, media-led outcries about ‘teenage pregnancy‘ have somewhat abated, to be overtaken by emerging issues around e.g. children’s use of social media.

Nonetheless, given all the constraints of time, energy and sensitivities, there may even now be only a limited willingness amongst regular class teachers to delve beyond what’s unavoidable into sensitive issues such as ‘women’s health matters’.  But I do think there has been some progress, and almost certainly, despite political and media wranglings, there is a wider public understanding of issues around health and wellbeing, whether physical, psychological or socio-economic. 

Would it be helpful if there were a major reinstatement of school nurses – an increasingly rare team member in state schools at least – and counsellors who could take on some of these issues as well informed professionals? Or is it better if children learn about health matters in the normal course of the school day, from their classroom teachers?   And to what extent is it important that parents agree about the content of the school health education curriculum?  

To my mind all these aspects of health education are critical; and they all also tie in with my explorations elsewhere of the Health Education as part of the Social Curriculum, and of the interconnections (or not) between Epidemiology and Community Health.  

How do you think Health Education should move forward?  Your views are very welcome in the Comments box below.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Read more about PSHE, and about Education.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Books by Hilary Burrage on female genital mutilation

18.04.12 FGM books together IMG_3336 (3).JPG

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Hilary Burrage, Ashgate / Routledge 2015).
Full contents and reviews   HERE.
FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation  (Hilary Burrage, New Holland Publishers 2016).
Full contents and reviews   HERE.



No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: