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EDUCATION

France publishes first school textbook depicting the clitoris

Even though we've known about the clitoris since the 17th century, school textbooks in France have famously ignored the existence of the female organ, until now.

France publishes first school textbook depicting the clitoris
Photo: AFP
French publisher of educational textbooks, Magnard Editions have made headlines by including a diagram of the clitoris in the 2017 edition of their biology textbook. 
 
The move has been hailed as a “big first” by a network of teachers (STV Egalité) who have set about fighting stereotypes in teaching. They are delighted that “at last” the clitoris will be faithfully represented in diagram in a science textbook for school pupils. 
 
Until now, the female organ — the only organ whose sole function is pleasure — has received blanket omission from secondary school science textbooks in France, according to France TV Info. 
 
“We are optimists. Things are advancing little by little, but they are advancing,” teacher and member of STV Egalite, Alexandre Magot told L'Express magazine.
 
 
 
But STV Egalité are disappointed that in spite of Magnard's bold move, other publishers of biology textbooks, including Belin, Bordas and Hachette have not followed suit.
 
“Unfortunately we can't say things are moving quickly because out of all the new textbooks, only one out of eight have updated their diagrams.
 
“All of the others have recycled their old false diagrams: without the clitoris, or have mentioned it without showing it, or reduced its size to a few milimetres (whereas its average size is 10cm).”
 
“Representing the female body in its entirety is essential. It's not militancy,” teacher and member of STV Egalité, Alexandre Magot told France TV Info.
 
It allows teachers to speak to their students “about female pleasure as an equal of male pleasure, which is an aspect of preventing rape,” she said. 
 
It's not the first time there have been complaints from groups about the issue of finding the clitoris in France.
 
 
The official website for the campaign, osezleclito.fr, claimed that in sexual matters, equality between the sexes is still an area where men have the power. “Whether in text books, exhibitions, literature or in relations between individuals, the clitoris is often forgotten and seen as unimportant or just part of foreplay. Every woman has the right to understand how to enjoy her own body.”
 
And in 2016 campaigners launched a more eye-catching campaign when they mowed a giant clitoris into a farmer's field in southern France, in a bid to end the taboo around female sexual pleasure.
 
The cunning stunt is the work of two sexologists and is aimed at stimulating a debate about the taboo that continues to surround the female sexual organ often referred to as the “joy button”.
 
 
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
 

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EDUCATION

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules

Around three-quarters of French teachers plan to go on strike onThursday to protest the government's shifting rules on Covid testing for students, forcing the closure of half the country's primary schools, a union said Tuesday.

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The strike led by the Snuipp-FSU union, the largest among primary school teachers, comes after the latest of several changes on testing and isolation requirements for potential Covid cases announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex late Monday.

After seeing long lines of parents outside pharmacies and labs in recent days to test children in classes where a case was detected, Castex said home tests could now be used to determine if a student could return to school.

But teachers say class disruptions have become unmanageable with the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Students cannot learn properly because attendance varies wildly, and a hybrid of in-house and distance learning is impossible to put in place,” the Snuipp-FSU said, adding that absent teachers are not being replaced.

It is also demanding the government provide facemasks for staff, including the more protective FFP2 masks, and CO2 monitors to check if classrooms are sufficiently ventilated.

“Not only does the current protocol not protect students, staff or their families, it has completely disorganised schools,” the union said, claiming that classes have effectively been turned into “daycare centres.”

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has said the government is doing everything possible to avoid outright school closures that could cause havoc for parents and jeopardise learning for thousands, especially those in low-income families.

“I know there is a lot of fatigue, of anxiety… but you don’t go on strike against a virus,” Blanquer told BFM television on Tuesday.

As of Monday some 10,000 classes had been shut nationwide because of Covid cases, representing around two percent of all primary school classes, Blanquer said.

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