In the primary workshop, the pupils were shown a series of images and phrases showing stereotypical and non-stereotypical images of jobs, emotions and sports. They were asked to choose one that they felt interested in. We had some great discussions about women in the army, boys dancing, men and women playing football and boys crying. The phrase ‘You throw like a girl!’ proved to be an interesting one too, with one boy pointing out that this was a compliment as girls throw very well!
We then did a continuum line with ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’ for the following statements:
‘Boys are embarrassed to do dance.’
‘Boys are all good at DIY.’
There was an interesting gender split with the dance, with the boys saying that they would not be embarrassed to do dance. The general feeling about DIY was that some boys are good at DIY but some certainly are not!
Next we thought about what was good about being a boy/girl/either. Here are some of their thoughts:
Girls: dance, being smart, people don’t judge you when you cry, you can wear trousers and skirts.
Boys: Straightforward, self-confident, being smart, dance, nerd, exercise, maths.
Either: long and short hair, ability to do sport, sensible, make up.
We discussed the pressures and difficulties of being a boy/girl and wrote them on post it notes around an outline of a body. These included;
‘Boys get teased for dancing.’
‘It’s harder for girls to do football because they’re not as good as boys.’
‘Girls should get the right amount of money for doing the same job.’
‘Some boys think that they’re superior to everyone else.’
‘Boys find it hard to cry in front of other people.’
‘In other countries, boys go to school and girls have to stay at home and work.’
They then ranked these pressures from most to least important, using a diamond 9 shape.
Using these ideas, the pupils worked with their schools to create an action plan of something that they felt needed addressing in school. 2 groups wished to create a play to act out in assembly, looking at respect for one another and challenging teasing. The 3rd group wished to organise a dance competition to encourage more boys to have a go at dance. We look forward to hearing about the success of their ideas.
Comments from the teachers:
‘The day was a great opportunity for children to meet others from different schools and outside the authority of Sheffield. They didn’t know each other and yet soon started to share their ideas. The performances/ presentations were meaningful and pupil led. Our school council members have also chosen to be ambassadors and wish to champion respect for the school. They want to address attitudes they see towards female dinner staff from children and also encourage other pupils to challenge controlling behaviour when a child is told by another child they can’t join in because of gender, race or age. They want to start with an assembly and posters and will meet weekly. It was interesting that they choose an area in which staff at school have previously discussed but haven’t had an opportunity to raise with the children. I feel that they can have a real impact with this work.’
‘I found the day really exciting as the children were so interested and had such good ideas. It gave me lots of hope for good things happening in the next generation and I can’t wait to hear what happens in the schools.’