Gender and Respectful Relationships: A new curriculum

The Victorian Labor government’s announcement of a new curriculum exploring respectful relationships at the end of October this year was met with controversy. Some claimed the program – which seeks to develop school students’ social and emotional skills, their understanding of positive relationships, and gender norms that may influence these – would create war between the genders. Our first article shared today is from The Conversation, arguing that providing this education will not lead to a gender war.

The article outlines the curriculum content, broadly covering social and communication skills, and challenging gender norms that limit all kids regardless of gender. The article also describes why the program is necessary given the harmful perceptions young people often have regarding violence, relationships and consent. The Conversation argues the curriculum will have ramifications beyond heterosexual relationships, because the respect it encourages will also benefit GLBTIQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) students who are often victims of bullying and abuse. Finally, the article outlines the positive impacts of such programs.

Given this recent controversy, our article series this week will explore the Respectful Relationships curriculum. What are respectful relationships? What do they look like? Will teaching them in schools actually lead to a reduction in violence and harmful behaviours? Let’s find out!

The Conversation 2016, Respectful relationships education isn’t about activating a gender war, The Conversation, viewed 20 October 2016,