French education inspectors lament failure to correct 'sexist' school environment

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French education minister Vincent Peillon has repeatedly insisted that the issue of gender parity is “at the heart” of the government’s overhaul of the educational system, announced as one of the most important reforms of its five-year office. A study of the equality of relations, educational opportunities and performance between girls and boys within schools is the subject of a recent report by the French education system’s general inspectorate, and it paints a sorry picture of decades of failure to address a markedly unequal situation. Lucie Delaporte reports.

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French schools, like a mirror of wider society, “favourise inequalities between girls and boys, whether that be by pedagogic practices, methods used to encourage the ones or the others, [or] the opportunities for which schools offer hope or not, notably concerning orientation,” notes a panel of eight senior inspectors from the French education general inspectorate in their report entitled 'The equality between girls and boys in schools and [educational] establishments', published in an updated edition in July.