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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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.

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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?


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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?







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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?

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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.