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: Year 7 Session 1: Exploring Gender Awareness

Year 7 Session 1: Exploring Gender Awareness

My aim was to try and establish what the Y7s actually knew about the role of gender in society.  I used a stimulus that I thought was going to lead the students into exploring gender.  I wanted to keep it organic and not lead the students too much to the subject.  The plan was to learn by discovery without any prompting about being a part of a research project.  However, the first P4C session produced questions that were philosophical but I feared would take us far away from gender.

On the next day, I wanted to dig deeper into the questions.  The students had already created a sort of spider diagram which used pairs of opposites to suggest multiple questions.  I did not want to dismiss what they spent the previous lesson developing so I tried another approach to get us back on the gender track.  The students were entrusted to watch a video and highlight all of the questions that they could link to the themes in the video.

Students worked in small groups and actively discussed the connections they could make between the questions they created based on a different stimuli and found links to our new stimulus.  The topic of gender was more apparent in our journey.  The students eventually voted for “Why don’t we accept other people?”

Many of the students are new to P4C and required me to facilitate more than normal.  As I facilitated, I took notes as they explored their big question.  Please remember that these students are just settling into their form and gaining confidence in speaking/listening. Although the notes will look a bit fragmented, I think you can clearly see some light bulb moments from the session.

The Big Question: Why don’t we accept other people?


Strict way of what people should be

Singled out, people just got to accept

Different, WW2, singled the Jews out

Different, can’t accept

People are scared to accept

We are all the same, but we have different hair colour

Gay, not right to be

Make fun of other people and some people have an obsession about it


How we see ourselves and others


Found out for yourself what normal is and can make a new you

Huge geeks get better jobs

Labels-we are told by adults and what they believe rubs off

We copy other people and we are just doing what we are told

We shouldn’t copy other people because we don’t know how we will end up

We are influenced by TV, environment, photos, internet

Ask the truth

We have our own soul, find out who you really are

I don’t play football like the other boys and I felt lonely

But individuality makes us exciting

If every girl was into hair extensions we wouldn’t have women in sports

Male hairdressers are labelled

Label your sexuality

**In response to the ‘I don’t play football comment’…another student asked whether as a good leader, could he persuade the sporty boys to do non-boy type activities.

Pink for girls

Blue for boys

Should girls play with boys’ toys?

My mum could not be a mechanic because she was a female

In primary school boys like pink and purple

For the plenary, I asked the students to respond to a question that asked whether gender determined how successful you would become in the society (or something similar).  Their responses varied from:

“Yes because there are more manly jobs and also men get more money from work.” (boy 1)

“I think a boy is treated better than girls because girls can get raped boys can’t girl are gauged on their looks.” (girl 1)

“No being a girl has nothing to do with how successful you are in the future.” (girl 2)

“Despite what society would have you believe, it does and it will always be like that because of how people view the world.” (boy 2)

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a boy or a girl it depends on what you are good at and you enjoy.” (boy 3_

“I think it does but I honestly think it shouldn’t.” (girl 3)

“No because everyone is different and it isn’t our fault that people can’t accept it.” (girl 4)

“Yes because there is a lot of fuss around the type of job single minded people think genders should have.  If a woman applied for a job as a mechanic a lot of people would judge that person. They might be scared of being judged.” (boy 4)

“Yes because people think boys are strongest than girls so that would affect the future for example a policeman/women there are more policemen than policewomen!” (girl 5)

Now that I have been able to access how much the students are aware of gender issues, I can now develop another P4C session which taps into awareness of career inequality.