In a few weeks, students in France will pass the French, Mathematics or History-Geography exam for their university patent. But the students of twelve establishments in Seine-Saint-Denis can already celebrate that they have been awarded another patent: that which testifies to their knowledge in the fight against sexist and violent behaviour. A first in France. Pascale Labbé, vice president of the department, would like to see this system extended to the rest of France. Interview.
Establishing a patent against sexist and sexual violence in colleges: that is one of the demands of the feminist collective We All to combat sexism. On the occasion of the International Day Against Violence Against Women, in November 2021, the collective declared to the World † “We need to teach the youngest what consent is, and that all middle and high school students pass a certificate of education in nonviolence, following the same model as [celui de] road safety. † In the department of Seine-Saine-Denis it is now done: On June 9, the first-ever departmental patent to combat sexist and violent behavior was awarded to high school students from Seine-Saint-Denis in Montreuil. In total, 12 colleges participated in the operation and 920 of the 1046 students graduated.
To pass the test, they had to score 15/20 by answering a questionnaire about domestic violence, cybersexism, the date of women’s suffrage in France or even gender stereotypes. These questions have been chosen with the aim of confirming the knowledge of the students acquired in recent years.
A device to detect violence
“We have been working on this questionnaire for three years and fifteen years in which we train young people against sexism in the department”explains POSITIVR Pascale Labbé, Vice-President of the Seine-Saint-Denis department and responsible for the Departmental Observatory on Violence against Women and Gender Equality. “Because equality between girls and boys is part of the National Education Programme, we wanted to make a patent available to young people so that their knowledge could benefit them. It is also a tool for us to see areas for improvement in the way we work.”
This patent is part of the “Youth against sexism” program supported by the Seine-Saint-Denis department. In addition to informing young people about the different forms of violence and raising awareness of sexism, the department also wants to identify violence among students or their families. “The longer it takes to identify violence among our youth, the greater the impact will be as they mature”explains Pascale Labbé, who then warns against the phenomenon of prostitution by young girls, which she believes is becoming increasingly important.
Ultimately, the department would like to introduce this same type of tool in kindergartens and primary schools, the responsibility of which lies with the cities, and in secondary schools, which for their part are governed by the regions. “We want the National Education to take this issue seriously and generalize the system in all the colleges of the department, but also in the rest of France”explains the vice president, before pointing out the lack of time for teachers. “With the new system, even if equality is on the national curriculum, they don’t really have time to delve into the subject. It is at the discretion of the teachers.”she decides.