Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

Aiming to help children and young people to understand, question and challenge gender inequality and violence.


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Gender Workshop at CRESST Peer Mediators’ Conference

The Gender Respect project was involved for the third year in CRESST’s annual Peer Mediators’ Conference with ten Sheffield primary schools. For a short film of the conference click on the image.

Screen shot 2017-03-21 at 17.01.41

 

Helen and Heather ran three 50-minute workshops for all the children with the aims of

  • exploring what it’s like to be a boy or girl in South Yorkshire in 2017
  • looking at the attitudes and assumptions people have about boys and girls;
  • considering how these thoughts may affect their peer mediation work

The children engaged readily in discussion about gender equality and their comments were very similar to previous years and to the Scoping Study carried out by the Gender Respect project in 2013.

When asked at the beginning whether there were any issues in their schools relating to gender, every group identified a problem with girls being excluded by boys from football with general agreement from many of the children including the boys: ‘Boys are reckless and don’t pass to girls’. Yet when we discussed this further most of the children told us that girls could be just as good as boys at football and it was only because ‘boys play football more’ that they ‘can be better’. With one group we had a lively agree / disagree line from a statement by one of the children that ‘professional football should have mixed teams’. Children stood along the line presenting strong arguments at either end for why this would advantage or disadvantage women. None of the children suggested that it would ruin the game or spoil it for men.

The discussion about jobs and occupations prompted by some photographs of people in non-stereotypical roles prompted surprise from many of the children particularly at female builders and pilots and men involved in childcare. Most of the children said that they hadn’t seen women builders or pilots:

‘When you think of a pilot you think it would be a man, and staff are women.’

‘You don’t see girls playing with planes and pretending to be a pilot.’

‘Really excited when I saw a female pilot on board, as it made me feel like I could do anything.’

Since a number of the children were doubtful whether men were capable of childcare we had another agree / disagree line with the statement:

‘Men are not good enough to take care of babies’

Agree   Disagree
Don’t put enough work in There’s nothing wrong but they need to know they can Dad looks after baby sister
Women want to Men can’t deal with it as well They can learn to look after their babies

The children’s wishes at the end of the session displayed a heartfelt belief that there should be equality:

‘I wish that boys and girls all believed they can do anything they want, e.g., girl  –  football, or boy – ballerina.’

‘I think that boys should pass in football and understand that girls are equal to boys.’

‘I wish that girls and boys would get along together, work together and play together. I wish they could share and play together. I would help them share.’

‘I wish that girls and women would be expected to do as much or as little as boys and men. For example, in football games, rock-climbing, dancing, being pilots and many more, and get paid equally for the quality of their work. For example, a male footballer who plays for Sheffield and scores three goals every game should be paid as much as a woman footballer who plays for Sheffield and scores three goals every game. And the same with boys doing things you normally see the girls doing.’

Although in order to explore gender inequality we had to identify perceived differences between girls and boys  some of the children were aware of the problem of naming girls and boys as separate and opposite in the language they used in their wishes:

‘Whatever gender you are, you can do everything.’

‘Any person can do any job or play any role regardless of their gender.’

 


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New teaching resources ‘He Named Me Malala’

‘One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world’. There are few people who have not heard of the inspiring story of Nobel Prize Winner and ordinary teenager, Malala Yousafzai.

DocAcademy, through the Students Stand #With Malala UK schools programme, has made the DVD of the documentary available to UK secondary schools and written accompanying lesson plans for KS3/4 English and KS5 English. The documentary pieces together Malala’s story conveying how she is both an extraordinary activist and speaker and a totally ordinary young woman with a family life with her two younger brothers and parents with which many people across the world could connect.

The film and lesson plans not only look at the importance of girls’ rights to education but also explore the themes of forgiveness, refugees and having a voice. There is a separate ‘Activity Toolkit’ for suggestions of how school students can take action in relation to the lesson themes. Although the lesson plans are aimed at secondary students, much of the film would be appropriate for younger pupils (aged 9-11) and clips could be used in English, PSHE, Citizenship and as stimuli for Philosophy for Children.


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Project Leader Blog: Helen

Gender Equality Books for Children

This is a list of recommended books put together from DECSY’s Resource Centre. I chose good quality books that related to gender equality in different ways. Most of the books challenge gender stereotyping in one way or another whether by offering alternative roles, jobs or behaviour. Some of the fiction books are chosen because of the strong central female character(s), many of them also reflect ethnic diversity or are set in countries of the global South. Biographies of famous women are included. It was harder to find books that portrayed alternative ways to be a boy or gender fluidity in general but these are included where they have been found. The recommended age groups are, of course approximate. There is a huge list of ‘girl-empowering’ books (and other media) on the American A Mighty Girl website although many of these are not available in the UK and have an obvious US bias. Please do get in touch if you have any other books to recommend.


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Helen: One Billion Rising

OBR3Gender Respect project teachers, pupils and parents joined with other people from Sheffield to celebrate One Billion Rising on Saturday 14th February 2015.  Pupils had been introduced to the issue of gender-based violence through assemblies and lessons with the primary school linking the issue with their Rights Respecting Schools work.  The pupils were taught the dance in school and invited to join the event in central Sheffield if they wished to.

For a helpful article which links gender stereotyping in toys with violence against women see Let Toys Be Toys.

Here’s a YouTube clip from the event:

One Billion Rising YouTube film

 

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Violence and Prejudice Activities

Sue Lyle has given us permission to publish an article, ‘Violence and Prejudice‘, that she wrote for Creative Teaching and Learning (vol 5.1) which describes a number of activities using images which can be used to discuss some of the issues facing young people (particularly young women) today:

  • ‘girlification’
  • sexualisation and pornographication of society
  • pressure to achieve highly
  • class differences
  • search for the perfect body
  • dieting
  • self-harm
  • violence against girls and women
  • economic realities for women

As Sue says in the article ‘The activities are intended to promote discussion of values and promote principles of respect between young people and active participation’ and some teachers she worked with suggested that they could be used with pupils as young as nine.

Please let us know if you use or adapt any of the activities and how they went.


Leave a comment

Violence and Prejudice Activities

Sue Lyle has given us permission to publish an article, ‘Violence and Prejudice‘, that she wrote for Creative Teaching and Learning (vol 5.1) which describes a number of activities using images which can be used to discuss some of the issues facing young people (particularly young women) today:

  • ‘girlification’
  • sexualisation and pornographication of society
  • pressure to achieve highly
  • class differences
  • search for the perfect body
  • dieting
  • self-harm
  • violence against girls and women
  • economic realities for women

As Sue says in the article ‘The activities are intended to promote discussion of values and promote principles of respect between young people and active participation’ and some teachers she worked with suggested that they could be used with pupils as young as nine.

Please let us know if you use or adapt any of the activities and how they went.