Belgium: Fathers banned from school activities to attract “mothers of foreign origin”
Scholen weren papa’s om mama’s van vreemde origine te lokken: “Soms is de cultuurshock gewoon te groot” https://t.co/zQJK81S3Qp
— De Morgen (@demorgen) October 20, 2017
Belgian newspaper De Morgen reports that in Belgium, some schools are trying to lower the threshold for parents with a migration background by only welcoming mothers of pupils to school events and activities. Through this, they hope to attract mothers from a foreign origin into school.
De Morgen lists a few examples, like a school in Antwerp where only the mothers are allowed to cut fruit during lunch breaks and a school in Ghent where only mothers are allowed to assist during gym classes. Simultaneously, the school let the fathers know on their website they need not worry: “The dads will get their turn.“
De Morgen comments that:
“Nevertheless, it seems strange that fathers are being shunned in the first place. Should schoolchildren not have to learn that dads can also cut fruit? And why not have fathers and mothers attend gym class together? Do we really want to teach children that men and women should do certain things separately?”
When asked, philosopher Patrick Loobuyck can’t conclusively say whether it’s a good thing or not:
“If you intend to reach parents who you would otherwise not get into the school, then that’s a good idea, but you have to be careful. You should not strengthen certain prejudices or ideas of people which are problematic. I think it’s important for schools to use such mother-activities as a step-by-step approach. Ultimately, the goal should be to treat men and women equally and to get them involved in activities that are mixed.”
It’s a tough balance, recognizes Nathalie van Wassenhove. She has been working as a go-between in Ghent schools for 17 years. Her goal: involve parents in school activities.
“In general, we try to avoid this approach. Trying to reach a group by excluding another group: that’s not the best method.”
Sheikhwatcher Prof. D.A.H. Vintik comments that:
“It’s like schools are trying to be extensions of the mosques, all of which have their own so-called “sister committee”, which only seats women, who solely organize ‘ladies only’ activities, where men are not welcome.”
Earlier this year, A Belgian school in Brussels ditched Mother’s Day “out of respect for other cultures“.