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International Federation for Home Economics Press Release

 

21st March 2016

World Home Economics Day

“Home Economics Literacy: Skills for Families and Consumers”

 

Since 1982 the International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE) has celebrated World Home Economics Day (WHED). The purpose is to promote the significance of Home Economics and the Home Economics profession. The theme for the WHED 2016 is: “Home Economics Literacy: Skills for Families and Consumers”. The aim of the WHED 2016 is to communicate the major role Home Economics literacy has in contributing to family and consumer wellbeing and quality of life.

“Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong
learning. It is fully essential to social and human development in its
ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it
is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s
income, and one’s relationship with the world” (UNESCO, 2016).

The concept of Home Economics literacy is the multidisciplinary expression of several literacies such as food literacy, health literacy, financial literacy, consumer literacy and environmental literacy. Home Economics literacy connects elements such as knowledge, skills, culture, systems, and behaviours to enhance quality of life. The IFHE promotes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the UN 10YFP on Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Sustainability is a consistent thread that is applied in Home Economics education.

The IFHE calls for:

  • All active Home Economists around the world highlight the theme
    of the WHED to show the importance of Home Economics
    competences to manage everyday life.
  • Governments consider the strengthening of the Home Economics
    discipline in school-based education as the basis for self-determined
    and sustainable lifestyles.
  • Home Economics professionals around the world promote the
    contribution of Home Economics literacy to achieve the
    Sustainable Development Goals.

 

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I don’t think I need to say much about the following excerpt taken from a Home Economics book published in 1880… it speaks about “the tyranny of fashion”. Have we moved forward since then? Have a read and discuss…

Excerpt taken from Home and Health: Home Economics: a cyclopedia of facts and hints for all departments of home life, health and domestic economy.  Written by C. H. Fowler and W.H. De Puy. Published by Phillips & Hunt, 1880. (Open the link to read the whole book, courtesy of University of Toronto – Gerstein Science Information Centre).

A lady of extensive and intelligent observation, tells the story of the tyranny of fashion, and of the evil results of fashionable dress: “Fashion kills more women than toil and sorrow. Obedience to fashion is a greater transgression of the laws of woman’s nature, a greater injury to her physical and mental constitution, than the hardships of poverty and neglect. The slave-woman at her task will live and grow old, and see two or three generations of her mistresses fade and pass away. The washer-woman, with scarce a ray of hope to cheer her in her toils, will live to see her fashionable sisters die all around her. The kitchen-maid is hearty and strong, when her lady has to be nursed like a sick baby. “It is a sad truth that fashion-pampered women are almost worthless for all the good ends of human life. They have but little force of character; they have still less power of moral will, and quite as little physical energy. They live for no great purpose in life; they accomplish no worthy ones. They are only doll-forms in the hands of milliners and servants, to be dressed and fed. They dress nobody, they feed nobody, they instruct nobody, they bless nobody. They write no books; they set no example of virtue and womanly life. They rear children, the latter are left to the care of servants and nurses. And when reared what are the children? What do they ever amount to but weak scions of the old stock? Who ever heard of a fashionable woman’s child exhibiting any virtue or power of mind for which it became eminent? Read the biographies of our great and good men. Not one of them had a fashionable mother. They nearly all sprang from strong-minded women, who had as little to do with fashion as the changing clouds.” (page 193)

469px-Summer_corset_1880Don’t forget – in 1880 – corsets were still the height of fashion… you should read the whole section they wrote about that… whoa!!!

Laughter, crying and singing were considered healthy pursuits. Sunshine and fresh air was prescribed for all sorts of aliments. I loved this book. I was amazed at how much they knew. Based on hundreds of years of scientific evidence, much of this Home Economics knowledge has become “common knowledge” in 21st century life… BUT we still seem to be ignoring the good advice!

Warning: ubiquitous use of a Christian belief system and the overt patriarchy may taint some readers against appreciating this book; evil and fear at every turn. Although the “Church Manners” section (page 46) was an eye opener and particularly funny to a non-church goer like me. It sounds like boredom was problematic. Happy reading! Would love to see a discussion happen! Perhaps contribute to the Miss Representation conversation?

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