If you’re a “Harry Potter” fan like I am, you grew up secretly hoping Hogwarts was real–and hoped to get an acceptance letter of your own. Well, recently fans of the series created an acceptance letter, of sorts–except it’s a really depressing one. So much so, the letter went viral.
Here’s how it started:
“We are pleased to inform you that you have been added to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Waitlist. Unfortunately, we are not able to allow you to come to Hogwarts at this time.”
The Harry Potter Alliance created the letter in conjunction with She’s the First, which is an organization that funds scholarships and mentorships for girls in developing countries. They also provide basic needs like medicines, school uniforms, and healthy food.
This, of course, is why the letter excludes girls from attending—to show just how wrong and illogical gender discrimination is. The campaign websites goes on to say:
“What would the wizarding world look like without Hermione? What about without Luna? Or Ginny? Cho? Angelina? Tonks? McGonagall?
Hogwarts doesn’t work without witches. Harry’s story falls flat without heroines. Yet all over the world, girls and women are being kept out of classrooms and losing the chance to lead.”
— amy (@Killjoy_182) September 2, 2017
— Susannah Choate (@osusannah_) September 1, 2017
According to a 2016 report by UNESCO, as pointed out by Upworthy, “girls are more likely than boys to remain completely excluded from education despite the efforts and progress made over the past two decades.” Girls who are able to attend school often don’t receive the same benefits as their male counterparts–or they experience sexist, emotionally violent bullying that invariably affects their learning.
For instance, a 2010 study by YouGov for the End Violence Against Women Coalition found 71% of 16- to 18-year-olds hear words like “slut” or “slag” used towards girls at school regularly. The same study found that 29% of 16- to 18-year-old girls had been sexually touched while at school without consent, according to The Guardian.
Meanwhile, when it comes to actual education, it’s no secret that girls are tunneled away from math and science–as suggested by research conducted by Northern Illinois University professors Lee Shumow and Jennifer A. Schmidt. In their book, “Enhancing Adolescents’ Motivation for Science,” they found “science teachers spend up to almost 40 percent more time addressing male students in class,” according to The Huffington Post, which quote this book excerpt:
“Teachers spent more time addressing boys than girls for the purpose of conveying basic content (43 percent more), moving the lesson along (17 percent more), elaborating on content (28 percent more), managing behavior (102 percent more), and discussing irrelevant material (92 percent more). Notably, the variation we observed in how teachers interacted with their male and female students did not appear to be systematically related to teacher gender.”
Seems like a problem sadly not going away anytime soon unless we do something about it. Let’s all strive to be Hermiones–and raise Hermiones and boys who appreciate them.