Friday, November 17, 2006

"Sex" Education

Recently, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines announced that they will be accepting girls into the ranks of the BSP.

This, not surprisingly, pissed off the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

Boy scouts cannot teach girl scouts to be “womanly women,” said the GSP

"We do as many challenges now as the boy scouts and we are part of an international organization, which is the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. We have relevant programs like in Africa about HIV-AIDS, and here in the country, we are also doing programs even in reproductive health, awareness of what a girl is. A girl is different from a boy in the first place, why are they saying too girly?" she [Dr. Cristina Yuson] said.

This brings up a good debate, do organizations such as the Boy Scouts have a right to choose who gets to be a member?

Raul Pangalangan gives some very good insights into this question, particularly the notion of the "right to expressive association".

Basically, the right to expressive association means that if your freedom of expression as an organization is linked to the kinds of people you allow to become members, then you essentially have a right to discriminate among your applicants.

This may seem a bit mindboggling, but the idea here is that if your organization is sending a specific message that requires a particular membership (say, the GOP for instance), your organization can exclude people from joining (say, card-carrying Democrats, if there are any).

This was the case when the US Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to boot a homosexual from its ranks.

This kind of mindset might allow for a certain danger of discrimination, but then again, the burden of proof is that your membership has to exclude people to properly express its views.

Another thing that needs to be discussed regarding this development was, what is the difference between the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts in the first place? Aside from the obvious, of course.

It all boils down to the age-old question of whether or not there are inherent differences between genders that requires different activities and actions to be undertaken. Makes you wonder if there are any studies regarding this, doesn't it?

In that regard, there is also a movement in the United States that's demanding for single-sex public education to be provided.

The idea being, the government should provide diverse options when it comes to education, and since there are some parents who would prefer to have their kids go to single-sex schools but don't want to pay for an expensive private school, they should provide for this. I don't exactly know if this is reasonable.

But it certainly is debatable.

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