Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

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

Leave a comment

Teacher Blog: Carol

Debate Club

Week 2 (5 males, 14 females)

Question: Do we need the women’s equality party?


  • It’s very exclusive to have a women only party.
  • Normal political parties should have more women. Women need to be more assertive & stand up for themselves in politics.
  • Women have some different concerns to men, for example men just think about war or business and women think about the NHS.

Concern about:

  • Unequal pay
  • The way women are shown in the media particularly sport
  • Unequal divide of labour at home


  • Expectations start early at school.
  • There are gender stereotypes: men do physical jobs e.g. electrician. Nurses are female and doctors are male. There are different male and female roles at home.
  • Women are limited by having to look after kids, where as men have their work as their main focus.
  • Women are not strong enough and feel intimidated in male dominated fields.
  • Concern from a boy about males being expected to be more violent and being treated unfairly as a result.
  • From the ‘olden days’, men were always taught to be a gentleman and to look after women as if women needed looking after. This could be why women may feel less confident.


  • In adverts, women are mainly seen as looking nice and doing proper jobs.
  • Girls & boys do separate PE and women’s sport gets very little coverage. There are not many role models.
  • Positive examples: the Virgin campaign shows women in sport and the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign.

Leave a comment

Teacher Blog: Carol

Debate Club


  • Skill up – reasoning, communication, assertiveness, getting your point across
  • Become more articulate (talking clearly right?)
  • Blow you mind on current issues of your choosing
  • Hear ideas and views different to your own
  • Certification and membership – great for your future CV

Week 1 (3 males, 14 females)

The students were welcomed and thanked for coming. We discussed the badges, certificates and they were told that this was a commitment for 6 weeks.

The students were asked the following questions for a baseline:

  1. Are you male/female?                                                                F / M
  2. Do you have any good friends of the opposite sex?             Y / N

If NO – What would make you choose not to make a friend with    the opposite sex?

3. How do you rate your communication skills out of 10?

4. Rate your confidence to speak in front of a group of people out of 10

We discussed the basic structure of the club: there will be 2 sides for some topics, you can change your position, there will be whole group discussion for less polar topics. We developed some ground rules: 1 person speaks at a time, addressing the whole group. The students will have the opportunity to chair after week 3.

We chose some more topic ideas and voted for today’s topic: ‘Committing suicide is a selfish act.’ 20 mins 2 sides (4 in favour 13 against)

Summary of debate: possible reasons for suicide, how to get/give help, responsibility for own state of mind, euthanasia, effect on family and friends, depression, self-harm, personal choice, autonomy

We agreed next week’s topic – Do we need feminism?


Leave a comment

Teacher Blog: Carol

The ‘Chat’ – Evaluation session 14th July 2015

Carmel, Carol and eight students

Carol: Thanks for coming today, we have asked you to come back because we want to find out how well you thought the sessions worked.

Question 1: Did you enjoy the sessions? Mark 1 to 5 where 5 is good.

1 2 3 4 4.5 5 good
  1 1 2 4  

Good and fun sometimes we argued.

Question2: how many sessions did you attend?

1 2 3 4
    2 6


Question 3: What did you get out of it? (Written answers)

I don’t know


A different view on different topics

Realised more about stuff

Think more about people who I spend my time with.

Learned things debating confidence



L (girl): I’m more cautious about my surroundings. I’m more aware of what I’m going to do I used to not care about stuff. I think about things more, what I spend my time with.

A (boy): I think about positive and negative consequences.

S1 (girl): I used to kill spiders but I don’t anymore.

S2 (girl): I came because I want to show support for you miss.

Carol: You have well established beliefs already don’t you.

S2 (girl): I know my own opinion. Because I don’t know people here it is hard to talk, I feel a bit awkward.

Carol: Did anyone else find it awkward?

H (girl): because you don’t know everyone.

L (girl): And you don’t want to disclose.

H (girl): I’m very self-conscious.

Carol: How did other people feel about sharing?

A (boy): I was ok.

C (girl): I did.

Carol: Did you feel you had enough time to talk?

General comments all at the same time: Sometimes –some people kept going on – people were interrupting – I had a good point but the subject had moved on.

Carol: We should make sure everyone gets heard. Was I too dominating? Everyone addressed me instead of each other. What would make it better?

S2 (girl): Pick a topic then do a debate like a court case.

L (girl): Sounds geeky.

S2 (girl): Can we get badges?

General comments about stickers, certificates, badges, prefects

Question 4: What skills have you learnt? (Written answers)



Learning to take other people’s thoughts and to take them into consideration.

I did but I then lost my confidence and they sort of went away.

I was less confident going against people’s opinion but now I’m not and I talk more. Confidence, Listening, More talk.

Listening to other people’s opinions.

Eye contact.


Question 5: It make me think more deeply.

1 2 3 4 5 Agree
1   3 1 3


Question 6: Did you find anything difficult to talk about? (written answers)

Kind of

Yes sexual stuff

No I didn’t but I might struggle now

No not really a bit with pornography

Yeh, kind of, porn, sex stuff

The one about porn because we were different age groups, different beliefs

L (girl): That time thing

S2 (girl): I hated that.

L (girl): I think the girls should have done the boys and the boys the girls. I wish I could see inside a boy’s head.

Carol: Boys can seem immature because physically they are two years behind.

Carol: Would it have been better if you had a less opinionated teacher? I know I have strong opinions.

S2 (girl): You are a cool teacher.

General comments: I only come because of you. We do fun stuff. We like your lessons.

Carol: As you get older you realise you don’t know it all.

Someone? : Boys have different opinions and you learn more.

A (boy): I all boys only get the same opinion we would all think the same.

Question 7: Was it fun?

1 No fun 2 3 4 5 Really fun
    2 2 3


General comments about how to make the group cool next year – designer glasses for the group! – having a debating club. Debating is cool.

Question 8: What do you want to discuss next year? (written answers)


Death penalty x3


Judgement / Judgemental x3

Bullying, picking on people x4

What’s banta, what’s offensive x5

Abortion x2

Under age pregnancy x4

Teacher-student boundaries x2

How we treat special needs people in school, should they be treated differently x4

Sexism x3


Animal cruelty x2

Should you get paid to go to school?

Judging people by looks

Tax Credits, benefits, welfare state x2



Women’s sports

Should you get the vote in prison?







Leave a comment

Teacher Blog: Carol

Reflection on The Chat – spring 2015 and planning for autumn term 2015

Evaluation – last session this term

  • Redo initial evaluation BUT the group membership changed quite a bit over the sessions.
  • Ask: What have you got out of this group?

Has anything surprised you?

Were the views of the opposite sex what you expected?

Did you find anything about this group, or the topics, difficult to talk about?

What would improve the group?

Did you get to speak when you wanted to?

  • Use continuum lines to assess how they felt about the group

What structure for next term?

  • Friday lunchtimes
  • Would like to work with older age – logistics difficult
  • Could we use older students as leaders? – probably not logistically
  • Would like a longer session – after school discussed but logistics difficult as any time
  • Would like to be more group led – less dependent on adults
  • Can we prevent the group membership changing so much throughout the term?
  • Do we want to develop resources, or our skills at running the group? Would the resources end up just being like PSHE stuff?
  • Promise a certificate? – Some have asked for this. Should we offer it or stress other group benefits?
  • How to promote group talk rather than addressing Carol?
  • Carol to reflect on past sessions, re-read notes – did she need to respond as much as she did?
  • Use question prompts or sentence starters to promote responses to each other
  • Speaker chooses next
  • Some members this term said very little, how do we address this? We have tried to develop a place where it feels safe to talk. Do they all feel they can?
  • How do we get a global perspective?
  • Which matters most – what they talk about or that they talk?
  • How do we get a more equal girl/boy mix?

Leave a comment

Talking Group: Secondary

Session Three: Parenting vs Career

Carol – Today’s topic:  Is it more important for parents to focus on their career or on bringing up their families?

A2 (boy) – Can I just tell you some good news I’ve deleted Grand Theft Auto off my ipad. (Referring to previous discussion)

I (boy) – In between, mine do focus on work but they help me with my homework. We all need money only children get bored if they do too much work.

A1 (boy) – In the middle. You’re not just children you are also people.

A3 (boy) – My dad’s an architect ‘cos the place he works is not paying him enough for six months he’s been looking for a new place to work. He comes home and he is always looking for a new place to work.

N (boy) – My dad goes to work everyday and every weekend.

P (girl) – My dad works from home. He’s always busy and I don’t know when I can talk to him.

I (boy) – When dad is at home he is in his office in the evening he works on his laptop.

J (boy) – Parents should work half and half, work half days.

E (girl) – In my family Saturday is family time. Sunday is when we do homework. Both my parents are busy, Mum and I like to hangout on Saturday.

Carol – Do other families have hang out times?

P (girl) – My dad is a Christian minister. My Dad is doing sermons on Sunday. He is only paid two days a week but he works seven. When we go on holiday he is preaching at a different church so he never really has a holiday.

Carol – Do you think it is the same for Mums and Dads whether they should focus on their career or their family?

L (girl) – I spend more time with my Mum.

Carol –Who prefers to have time with their mum? Hands up. Mum 12, 4 Boys 8 Girls; Dad zero!, Both 5 Girls

E (girl) – My Mum is a bit funnier but my dad is more manly. I’d be embarrassed talking to my dad about make-up.

B (girl) – I’d ask my Mum if I wanted to go shopping but Mum is a mood swinger. If she is in a bad mood I just keep out of her way.

 J (girl) joined the group

A3 (boy) – My parents are always in a grump. My dad hates me.

Carol – Is that because he is so stressed about finding a job?

A3 (boy) – If I don’t do a question on my homework he gets really mad.

Carol – What about your Mum?

A3 (boy) – Yes she’s nice.

A1 (boy) – We fight 24/7 except on family days when we don’t. It’s because there is all of us and the cats.

Carol – Do all parents get the grumps sometime?

J (boy) – My Mum does but she works with women who suffer domestic abuse.

Carol – I’m having to decide at the moment what to do about my career because I’m passionate about what I’m doing, sex education, but I’m also a Mum and both are important. Should my kids be more important?

S (girl) – Kids are more important than a job- you need money- but if kids are ill they should have their parents at home.

Carol: I also think it is important for me to be a role model for my children to show them what I can achieve at work.

S (girl) – You should have time for a job, and time for your kids, and time for yourself.

M (girl) – You need a job and to be with your kids.

A2 (boy) – It’s a different thing but it’s important to me, I found a cat and I kept it so it was my cat and it had eleven kittens. My neighbour wasn’t happy because the kittens were mewing all night and she put all eleven kittens in a bag and threw it in the river and the kittens all died. I told her I would never forgive her.

L (girl) – You could have reported her. They are her (the cats) kids and that is like killing eleven of someone’s kids.

Carol – Well that happens in dairy farming. The young calves are taken from the mother so that we can have milk and cheese.

A2 (boy) – My cat is now with my grandparents. Later she had four or five kittens and she kept them.

E (girl) – What country were you in?

A2 (boy) – Iran. When you live in a country without laws you can’t say anything.

Carol – Every animal is some animal’s child. If you eat lamb or chicken…what about carrots? They are the carrot babies?

A1 (boy) – If a cat was like a person and had eleven children then an ogre/giant came and put them in a bag…it would be like that.

J (boy) – With a cat the kits could have grown up.

D (boy) – In China over one thousand cats are slaughtered and killed and eaten.

Carol: In China hundreds of thousands of baby girls are killed at birth or in pregnancy, in Pakistan and in India too. Why do you think that is?

L (girl) – If you had a daughter and she went away to live with her husband and look after his parents when they are old there would be no one left to look after you. Some countries have orphanages set up for girls because no one wants them.

H (girl) – going back to cats, my kittens were close to being put down but my dad found someone who could take them in.

Someone – S stole a cat!

S (girl) – This woman left a cat for two when she went to America so I carried it home. My Mum wasn’t happy but my Gran said ‘give it some pork pie it’ll be right.’ Now it lives with me. It had worms and fleas and we had to flea bomb the whole house and worm it but now my Mum likes it and she says, ‘Come to Mummy.’

 Time ran out – group disbanded without any time to sum up.



1 Comment

Teacher Blog: Carol

Talking group – secondary

Session Two – Consent

Carol – The government have recently passed a bill to make consent a compulsory subject for 11yr olds.   Lets think about this. What does it mean not to have consent?

J (boy) – It’s rape.

Carol – Remember to talk to the whole group not just me. Is it a good thing to have lessons for eleven year olds on sexual consent?

J (boy) – No some families might think it is not a good idea.

Carol – Are parents concerned?

I (boy) – My Mum would be concerned. They are only doing it because there have been quite a few cases.

Carol – How much rape do you think there is?

J (boy) – Quite a lot.

A1 (boy) – There was the thing in Rotherham with the taxis, lots of under-cover people, Jimmy Saville – no one expected that.

Carol – Is it just about pinning someone down?

S (girl) – We did it in Crime Awareness. It’s rape if you are under thirteen, if there’s peer pressure and…something else.

Carol: If you are drunk.

L (girl) – It’s good we learn about it. It might happen in later life and we might not have the confidence if we don’t know.

Carmel: Does learning make you safer?

Carol asks S not to be on her phone but she is looking up rape statistics.

S (girl) – 85,000 rapes in England and Wales last year and 400,000 sexual assaults.

Carol – Those are very large numbers and they are only the ones who went to the police. Are there any reasons why people might not go to the Police?

J (boy) – You might be frightened or ashamed.

Carol – Or very angry.

(Got distracted by taking about school dinners cat-food, dog-food)

A2 (boy) – I was playing a game and I pressed the chat button and the next day someone was chatting to me and said, “Do you want to have sex?” and I said “No” and she said “Do you want the best girlfriend ever?” I said I was a girl and turned the chat off.

Carol – Do animals give consent to sex? Described guinea pigs mating – talked about bringing baby guinea pigs into school for them to see.

The group got excited and were pressuring Carol to bring them in soon.

Carol – I will not be pressurised into bring them in!

Some laughter – they saw the link

A1 (boy) – Is bringing animals into school allowed?

Carol – It is for me. Do you think rape is used as a slang word now? On Grand Theft Auto there are rape rewards where you get to rape a prostitute.

D (boy) – They do it to advertise the game more.

S (boy) – Like Pretty Woman.

Carol – Who would that appeal to?

? – People who watch porn.

A1 (boy) – Is it women rape men or men rape women?

Carol – Mostly men play. CBBC are bringing out a drama based on GTA for Cbeebies.

Shock from the whole group

J (boy) – They will learn to play it.

L (girl) – It’s frightening, rape, heist, sexual violence, robbery.

A2 (boy) – I’ve got GTA on my ipad and I play it, you don’t have to be 18.

D (boy) – On the shop it asks you for your age but not when you play it.

H (girl) – I have to ask my parents to download for me when I want things because it is on their account.

S (girl) – The law isn’t working it’s rubbish, it’s just on who buys it not on who plays it and there are no restrictions on watching.

Carol – Why should there be restrictions?

D (boy) – It’s a bad influence. Some children might not be very mature.

Carol -There was a case recently of a ten year old boy who watched something and then he sexually abused his seven year old sister.

H (girl) – There are age restrictions but you can put in a different date of birth.

S (girl) – My cousin’s tablet wouldn’t let us watch a video. We only wanted to listen to a song but it came with a rude video.

A1 (boy) – When something has age restrictions it makes you want to watch it more.

Carol – So it makes it worse?

S (girl) – But I don’t want to watch a PG or a 12. 15 and 18 are good films. I like horror movies.

I (boy) – It’s like smoking, young people do it because it makes them look cool.

Carol – When someone tries to control you it makes them rebel. –e.g. of own children.

L (girl) – I’m not allowed to watch 16+ programmes. My parents would have to watch it.

? – A ten year old boy would want to watch it then tell his friends, it’s being cool.

A2 (boy) – I had a friend who kept talking about women. I told him to stop. I died in the game I was playing so I had a rest. He was on my ipad watching women having sex. I said this is not for your age and he gave it to me. Then my parents came in and I was holding the ipad and it was still playing. – long explanation of parent’s reaction.

Carol – When you have seen images like that they can stay with you for a long time.

I (boy) – What if you saw your children watching porn?

Carol – They wouldn’t choose to do that they are only 6 and 7 so it would be traumatic for them. They know about sex .

Carmel – My boys are 18 and 21 and I would be worried about it.

S (girl) – Models in shops always show perfect girls and men see them and think all girls are like that.

H (girl) – On YouTube there was a film about people who were dared to look at porn on a site and you couldn’t see what they were looking at but you could see that they were really shocked.

L (girl) – Can looking at porn cause post traumatic stress?

Carmel – You can get flashbacks from porn, just the same as with post traumatic, the images can seem to always be there and they won’t go away.

A2 (boy) – In Iran there were no rules, my friend watched a CD with really horrible sex it was so bad I broke it.

A1 (boy) – Can you get scarred if you see someone naked?

Carol – Well it could have the same effect that you can’t get the image out of your head if it had really shocked you.

Time ran out the group disbanded without any time to sum up.


Name Questions Comments Total
A1 (boy) 3 2 5
A2(boy) 4 4
Carmel 1 2 3
Carol 11 11 22
D (boy) 3 3
H (boy) 3 3
I (boy) 1 2 3
J (boy) 5 5
L (girl) 1 3 4
P (girl)
S (girl) 1 1
S (girl) 6 6

Leave a comment

Teacher Blog: Carol

Teacher Blog

Talking group – secondary

Aim: to start a weekly talking group offering a space for a mixed (age & sex) group to talk in a facilitated group

 Session One: Growing up, Friendship and Gender, 

Ground rules – listen – respect – all equal

Feedback from gender friendship questionnaire

Discussion (Carol – teacher, Carmel –  project volunteer, letters – different students)

Carol – do you have friends of the opposite sex?

Yes cousins

Carol -Is it easier if they are cousins?


S – I had a best friend who was a boy and then he asked me out, and I said no because he was not best looking, but then I did go out with him but it was weird because he knows everything about me so then I dumped him and then he started stalking me and coming into my garden.

A – I used to have friends who were girls but I don’t know.

Carmel – When did it change?

Y7 –  Then people make fun of you – (Discussion about boys not being as nice after that age).

Carmel – Boys, how do you feel about the girls saying you are not as nice as you used to be?

A – Being cool being in the wrong crowd

Boys get mardier

S – We were looking at an old photograph and we all wear very different clothes now but the girls hadn’t really changed, except for the clothes, but the boys are very different and not as nice. – (Continued into a description of one particular boy and his relationship with prescribed drugs).

Carol – Are you still the same person?

  • It’s not cool to be a mama’s boy.
  • Boys don’t want to learn but girls do they want to do well.
  • Are there different pressures?

H – Girls fall out more than boys (P whispered a comment)

  • Boys and girls fight differently – air kissing – violent hugs
  • Discusion of kissing in public – Valentine’s day – embarrassment
  • Sometimes people think they are popular if they are in a relationship. It’s about feeling popular

Joined by A – described a drunk man falling onto another man and hugging him and a computer game and online pressure to start a relationship.

  • Lack of trust in friendships when not sure of the other person’s intentions.

S – My neighbour’s little boy acs like a girl

Plans for next week:

  • Another room with less distraction
  • Tokens for speaking to limit loudest and encourage quietest.
  • Addressing each other not Carol
  • Reminder about boundaries and gossip.
  • Carol to record answers to the three questions we asked this week.
  • Carmel to plan an activity. At what ages do certain behaviours start and stop?

Leave a comment

Teacher Blog: Carol

Nature of and frequency of friendships between girls and boys: survey and intervention
The results from a mixed gender friendship questionnaire delivered to Year 7, 8, 9 and 11 students (aged 11 – 16) showed that on average 2 in 5 of the students surveyed did not have a good friend of the opposite sex (boys and girls).  
Reasons for this stated could be summarised into
  • religious restrictions
  • embarrassment and misunderstanding intentions
  • fear of sexism and violence from boys
  • disliking boy’s attitudes/ not being respected
  • girls having different interests
  • not having shared experiences with the opposite sex
Students cited their friendships coming out of:
  • being stuck up for in a vulnerable situation
  • being able to be honest and one’s self
  • shared opinions (eg. dislike of a teacher!)
  • finding the same things funny
  • playing/chatting together
  • shared experiences, special & everyday
The talking group provides a space for sharing and debating issues of importance to students.  It is mixed sex and includes students across Y7-Y9.  Students agree ground rules and decide democratically topics that they like to discuss but this is not rigid within the session if another topic of interest arises.  The group of 16 is facilitated by two adults (both Philosophy for Children trained).  Some of the outcomes hoped for are:
  • an experience of constructive dialogue
  • new friendship connections
  • space to speak, listen and be listened to in a mixed group.