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: Kathryn

Women in India (Y5)

The following information and video was shared with the pupils:

In the past

In the past, the status of women in India was inferior to men in daily life. However, they had a higher status in scriptures, such as Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Durga, Parvati and Kali. They are famous for being tough and determined and devoted to their families.

In India, many women did not have the same rights or freedoms as men. They were not allowed to leave their homes, be educated or take on roles in the community. Women were prohibited from taking on external matters as well as domestic matters. They were under the influence of their parents before marriage & their husband after marriage. They were treated badly by their husbands, for example they ate after their husbands, sometimes eating their husband’s leftovers.


In modern times, women in India are given rights and freedom. There are a number of women education grants that offer help to women from poor backgrounds to be educated.

The government of India provides money that women who have business ideas can borrow in order to start businesses. Women are encouraged to start small businesses in order to have their own source of income and become independent.

The status of women in India has greatly improved and there are many women who hold high positions in the government and businesses.

Women Off the Map video link showing empowerment of women in Neemrana

Images and quotes from Indian women

The children then developed their questions, using this quadrant (adapted from SAPERE P4C Level 1 handbook):

P4C quadrant

These were some of their questions:

  • Why don’t women get lots of money compared to men?
  • Why does it have to be women?
  • What is the point of having rights if they can’t use them?
  • Why can’t men serve women?
  • Why don’t women have equal rights as men?
  • Why are women treated badly?
  • Why do you think women are treated badly and men are treated well?
  • Why do men have more power?
  • What can we do to get more rights for women?

The chosen question was: Why can’t men serve women?

These are some of the children’s thoughts that they wrote down after the philosophy circle.

‘I think men should serve women because they do all the hard work and the men just relax and get free food. So for a change I think women should relax and all of the men serve and do the hard work.’

‘I think that women in India should be treated differently. They should be able to go to work and school and be educated. I think the men should help the women and do some cooking. The men should look after the children and help them to have fun.’

‘India: Because men are bigger than women. In 2009 women got tired and started to complain. The president changed the rules and now men can do the job as well.’

‘Sheffield: Sheffield is a big place and women don’t have all the things that women have in India. Women in Sheffield, even teenagers, are not scared of men.’

‘I think it was a good thing to discuss because the way women in India used to be treated wasn’t right. It helped us come up with good ideas about how we can stop it. I think that they should be treated equally because women are capable of working proper paid jobs. It should be fair and maybe they could do what we do in Britain.’

‘I think that the husband and wife should share the work equally so that they would not fight or get tired. If men are really physically stronger than women, why don’t they do more work?’



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Teacher Blog: Kathryn

Y4 P4C about Gender

Stimulus: images from Google (search ‘gender stereotypes’)

Chosen question: Why do people think that there are things just for girls and just for boys?

‘If you saw a Barbie, a sister might not want to play but a brother might. If a boy wanted something girly, they might want Barbie.’

‘Dolls have pink accessories and packaging. Blue is for boys. I think more girls like pink.’

‘Boys and girls should be treated the same. I don’t think it makes any difference if boys and girls like different toys. They should have what they want.’

‘Boys might not want a cricket set, but a sporty girl might.’

‘Girls and boys are treated differently. Girls like pink and boys like blue. I don’t want pink frilly clothes; it’s hard when I go shopping.’

‘Girls might like playing with Xbox. My brother sometimes plays girls’ games.’

‘Girls shouldn’t say ballet dancing is only for girls – boys can do it too.’

‘If you went to a boy shop and you wanted a football, it wouldn’t be fair if dad said no.’

‘There is no difference between girls and boys – they should like whatever they want. They should be able to play with whatever they want.’

‘My friend’s mum is good at sports. I have a sticker of ‘My Little Pony’ on Xbox. It doesn’t matter what you like, just be yourself.’

‘I don’t always like girls’ clothes. Girls should have the right to pick boys’ stuff. It’s the same for boys.’

‘I think boys would feel left out if they were treated like that (not allowed to do ballet). There shouldn’t be such thing as a tomboy and no such thing as girl and boy things.’

‘I like parcours. I wanted a bike for my birthday, but I didn’t want a ‘girly’ one with hearts and kisses. Boys’ bikes are much better.’

‘My cousins dress up. The boys dress up in dresses and make up. Girls sometimes put boys’ clothes on.’

‘A boy’s favourite colour can be purple/pink. A girl’s favourite colour can be blue etc.’

‘My brother used to like wearing princess clothes.’

‘When you go into Tesco’s, I don’t think girls and boys stuff should be separate.’

‘Boys might like Barbie but others might laugh.’

‘Girls like gymnastics. Boys like boys’ things – it shouldn’t be like that.’

‘Why should boys like Barbie? That’s for girls!’

‘I disagree about tomboys. Some people think that boys and girls things are separate. It depends on people’s thinking – if they believe there are separate girls and boys things or not.’

‘Barbie is not just for girls, just because they have long hair and dresses. You can get boy ones too.’

‘I used to have a friend who wore a pink frilly dress and her brother wore a dress and a wand. My friend went to a girls’ dance school but her brother wasn’t allowed to go.’

‘I like football and girls to do. Boys might like ballet or gymnastics.’

‘I have a t-shirt with pink on it. My mum likes blue. My sister plays football.’

‘I think there should be a mix-up in shops with toys and clothes. I think there should be no such thing as a tomboy; it could be a boy or a girl. You should get what you want.’

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Teacher Blog: Kathryn

Thinking about Gender: Y3

Following a session on Commedia Dell’Arte, as part of our One World Week work on Italy, we thought about the roles that men and women play in the theatre. I gave the children 2 sheets of paper, one with the word ‘boy’ and one with the word ‘girl’. I asked them to write down anything that they associated with being a girl or a boy.



  • Boys can put make up on if they’re dressing up as a girl.
  • Boys like football, rugby, basketball and video games.
  • Boys can be cheeky and sneaky.
  • Karate, tennis, hockey, acting, watching TV, singing, running, sewing, hair gel, football, cars, rugby, racing.
  • In the olden times, only men were allowed to act.
  • Some boys like football, rugby and playing tag.


  • Girls and boys don’t have to do separate sports.
  • Girls can dress up as boys.
  • Violin, badminton, flowers, art, ponies, ballet, singing, music, teddies, knitting, animals, football, gymnastics.
  • I like being a girl because we get to wear lots of nice dresses.
  • I like football, even though I’m a girl.
  • Some girls like boyish things.
  • Girls like to dress nice. They also like playing with dolls and princesses.
  • Sometimes boys can’t understand them.


The children were then given the opportunity to walk around the classroom, looking at images of tomboys, girls playing football and climbing trees, girls dressed as knights, boys in dresses and kilts, pantomime dames and women in suits.

They were asked 5 questions and asked to stand on a continuum line to show whether they agreed (yes/thought it was OK) or disagreed (no/thought it was not OK). Below are some of their comments.

  1. Do you feel happy playing with girls and boys?

‘Yes, I’m happy playing with both boys and girls. Boys are just like girls.’

‘I’m not sure, I don’t play with girls, I prefer rough games and football (boy).’

  1. Do you mind if people are tomboys?

‘I don’t want to play with tomboys, I don’t want to play rough (girl).’

‘I play football, I like playing rough games and games with boys. I play tennis with my dad (girl).’

  1. Do you think it’s OK for women to wear suits?

‘I don’t know if women should wear suits (girl).’

‘Yes, I bought a suit on holiday (girl).’

‘No, it looks really weird (girl).’

  1. Do you think it’s OK for men to wear skirts (kilts)?

‘No, my brother wore a skirt and it looked weird. People laughed (girl).’

‘Yes, boys wear a dress at their christening (boy).’

‘Yes, I’ve seen a boy wearing a skirt with shorts. He didn’t look silly (girl).’

‘Maybe. It doesn’t look silly. I’m not sure if they should wear it (girl).’

  1. Do you think it’s OK for men to be pantomime dames?

‘Yes, it’s OK for men to dress up as ladies. If there’s no other option, men have to do it (girl).’

‘No, men have to put make up on and everyone laughs at them (girl).’


The children then developed their own questions and chose this question for their philosophy circle:

Is it OK for girls to do boys things and boys to do girls things?

Girls’ comments

‘All girls don’t have to do girl things.’

‘It’s OK for girls and boys to play together. Some girls are tomboys, they like playing football and rugby.’

‘I don’t like playing rough stuff, it can hurt people.’

‘Girls and boys should do both. Some boys like doing gymnastics, some girls like playing football. You can play what you like, but not rough because you could break something.’

‘At playtime I play a boys’ game with my friend (who’s a boy).’

‘When we’re outside, everyone can play together. They can pick which game they want to play.’

Boys’ comments

‘I mind because I’m a boy. I don’t want to play princesses or Barbie or other girl things. I like football (disagreement from girls, who said they don’t all like to play princesses).’

‘Boys and girls can do whatever they want. Parcours is like gymnastics. I like that. Girls like riding bikes, some boys like gymnastics.’

‘Girls and boys can play anything they want. My little brother loves gymnastics. I like video games, gymnastics and dancing. I like being creative, like some girls do.’

‘Boys can play girls’ games and girls can play boys’ games. Some girls play football, boys can do gymnastics.’

‘Some girls like to play boy things and some like to play girl stuff- it’s whatever they want. They can choose their own life. They are free to do whatever they want.’


As a follow up, the children were asked to write down their thoughts about the question in their think books.

Think Books

Girls’ comments

‘If a girl likes football, then she can do it because she might be a tom boy. She doesn’t have to be friends with girls, she can be friends with boys because you might play football with boys and make friends with them as well as girls. Girls can also do rugby better because my friend plays rugby and cricket.’

‘I think it’s OK because I like doing boys things.’

‘Girls are allowed to play with boys because there is no difference. Only some boys like football and some girls like gymnastics.’

‘You are free to do whatever you want.’

‘I think girls are allowed to wear boys’ clothes because I’m a girl and I wear boys’ clothes.’

‘I think that girls can play football. Girls can climb trees. Girls can play with boys.’

Boys’ comments

‘It’s OK because I have played Barbie and my sister has played Jurassic Park when I was little.’

‘Some girls like playing girl stuff but they might have a best friend who is a boy.’

‘It’s OK for girls to do boys things because everyone can live their own life.’

‘I think there are no boys’ things or girls’ things because I am a boy and I like gymnastics and I have friends who are girls and they like rugby and tennis.’

‘I think girls and boys have the right to do anything they want. They have a decision and they can do gymnastics if they want to. They have the option to do whatever they like. Girls can play boys’ stuff and boys can play girls’ stuff.’

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Teacher Blog: Kathryn

Gender and Work : Evaluation of project

I asked the children to re-do the questionnaire (full results can be found here )done at the beginning to see whether their ideas had changed.

Key things to note:

  • Comparing the percentages from February, the boys have stayed exactly the same.
  • There is a higher percentage of girls wanting to do non-stereotypical jobs and a higher percentage of girls wanting to do gender-neutral jobs, and therefore less wishing to do gender stereotypical jobs.
  • However, it must be remembered that February was data for 2 classes, and July was only 1 class as only 1 class has had all of the interventions. Also, the choice of whether a job is gender stereotypical is subjective.
  • Overall, I have noticed that children have got more knowledge about what types of jobs they could have, as the results in July are much more specific and there is a greater variety of job choices.

I asked them to fill in an evaluation form about the whole project. These were the questions and a summary of the results (click here for full results):

  1. How much did you enjoy the following activities?

Rate them from 1 to 5 (1 = not at all, 5 = enjoyed it a lot)

  1 2 3 4 5
Questions about graphs that showed how many men and women do certain jobs. 4 4 13 3 6
P4C using images of men and women doing non-stereotypical jobs. 5 7 5 3 9
Liz from WEST coming in 2 2 5 8 12
Research about your future careers 2 2 5 8 10


  1. Which is your favourite type of activity? (rate them 1 to 5 with 1 being your least favourite and 5 being your most favourite)
  1 2 3 4 5
Looking at graphs 8 6 6 6 3
P4C 10 2 5 4 8
Visitors 5 4 2 7 12
Internet research 3 5 3 6 11
Questionnaires 2 1 12 4 10
  1. What have you learned from our work about jobs and gender stereotypes?

Responses were all about how men and women can do any job that they wish too. Some children spoke about following your dreams and that the only person stopping you is yourself. My favourite quote was from one girl who said ‘I would tell my children to follow your goals and respect your dreams. I would say the future belongs in the hands of those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’ 

  1. If you were a teacher, what would you do to teach children about jobs and gender stereotypes?

This question was answered in 2 ways. Some children thought about how they would teach and some thought about what they would teach. The ‘how’ were all methods that we have used already in this project, with the addition of venn diagrams. The ‘what’ were similar to the responses for question 3.

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Teacher Blog: Kathryn

Gender and Work: P4C around gender and work stereotypes

I reminded the children of all of the activities we have done during the year related to gender and work. I asked the children to use these as stimuli and to come up with a philosophical question that they would like to discuss. These were the questions they came up with:

  1. Do you think that boys and girls should have the same responsibilities within the same job?
  2. Why do people think that there are jobs for boys and jobs for girls?
  3. Do you think that males or females prefer to work with humans or animals and why?

The chosen question was number three and these were some of the children’s responses:

‘Both could help humans or animals.’

‘It’s not fair if it’s just boys that get to do 1 job.’

‘It shouldn’t be one or another. They (males/females) should work with who they prefer to (humans/animals).’

‘I think males prefer to work with humans and females prefer to work with animals.’

‘My personal choice would be to work with animals rather than humans. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m a girl.’

‘I think women prefer to work with children and babies rather than adults. Women work with people with needs e.g. old people.’

‘Some people don’t like working with humans. Some people don’t like working with animals.’

‘I prefer to work with humans because it is easier to communicate with them. Both males and females like to communicate with people.’

This was an interesting discussion that followed on from looking at graphs of which professions are more female/male dominated. We had agreed that there are more females in caring professions but the consensus of this discussion seemed to be that it didn’t make a lot of difference if they were male or female as to whether they would chose to work with humans or animals.


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Teacher Blog: Kathryn

Gender and Work: Visit from WEST

We invited in Liz Kettle from WEST (Women in Engineering, Science and Technology) to share her experiences with the children.


We showed this Newsround clip about WEST to get the children thinking about their future jobs.

We chose some children to dress up as fire fighters, police officers, red cross volunteers, builders, formula one drivers and doctors and asked the children to stand on a continuum line as to whether they thought the job was just for boys, girls or somewhere in the middle. The children mostly stood in the middle for all jobs, recognising that anyone can do any job.

WEST visit1 WESTvisit2

We looked at where there are real life stories of females working in trade jobs. We discussed if children had experience of female builders/plumbers etc and quite a few said they had. We talked about what job the children would like to do.


The children really enjoyed the WEST: We can booklet.

I had thought it would be too young for them (they are Y3s), so had planned for them to design their own page for a similar booklet for Y1s. However, they enjoyed the games, activities and especially the stickers!

We carried a follow up activity from WEST in the computing suite:

Children did a quiz to find out which job they could be suitable for in the future:

Children then researched what they would need to do to get that job and what the job is like:

Evaluation of WEST (carried out a few weeks later)

I asked them three questions about the visit from WEST. Children stood on a continuum line to show how they felt about the question. The questions were:

  1. Did you enjoy the activity?



2.  Are you more aware of jobs and gender stereotypes?


3. What have you learned?

‘If you have a dream, follow it.’

‘Don’t care what other people say.’

‘Go where your mind takes you.’

‘You can do any job without anyone stopping you.’

‘The only person stopping you is yourself.’

‘If you want to do something, go for it.’

Teacher Blog: Kathryn

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P4C: Gender and Work

Questions generated, using the stimuli of images of people doing non-stereotypical jobs.

  1. In the olden days, why did people think that men could do more jobs than women?
  2. Why are men more likely to do DIY than women?
  3. Why do more women than men do the housework?
  4. Do you think that men and women should have equal rights to choose a job?
  5. Should women be able to do the same roles as men in the army?
  6. What would you do if your rights changed and you were not able to do your job?

P4C on gender and work DSC01037








Chosen question: Should women be able to do the same roles as men in the army?  

Key points of discussion:

  • Women should have the same rights as men.
  • Women are as strong as men.
  • Women can do the same jobs as men.
  • Both men and women are humans, so they should be treated the same.
  • It wouldn’t be fair if they had to do different roles.
  • Men shouldn’t tell women what to do.
  • All the girls in this class could be in the army if they wanted to be. They could all do any sport too (link to ‘This Girl Can’ campaign).
  • Men and women are the same. They can do the same jobs. Women don’t have to do the housework.
  • It’s good for women to go into the army as they can learn how to defend themselves and get fit.
  • It’s not just about strength; you have to be fast and athletic.
  • There should be a mixture of men and women on the frontline. We are all human, we’re just different genders.