Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

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


Leave a comment

CRESST Peer Mediators’ Conference

Kathryn and Heather ran a Gender Respect workshop at the CRESST conference for peer mediators on 7th January, 2016. We ran the workshop 3 times with 3 different groups of children in Y5 and Y6 from 10 schools in South Yorkshire.

Our aims were:

  • Explore what it’s like to be a boy or a girl in South Yorkshire
  • Identify attitudes we have about boys and girls
  • Think as peer mediators how we can make it fairer.

We used the same images of sports, careers and emotions that we had used in the scoping study as stimulus for discussions. We used continuum lines with agree and disagree about a view or attitude that emerged to generate further thought and discussion.

DECSY Gender Respect (16)

These are some of the attitudes that we drew out from the lively discussions:

Sports:

  • Many girls want to play football at play time but don’t because boys are too rough.
  • When we asked boys ‘Is this true?’ some replied ‘Yes, because we’re more competitive than girls.’
  • Football is a boys’ sport. Boys are tough and can be aggressive.
  • Girls are not as good at sport.
  • Girls can be stronger than boys and they can play football as well as boys.
  • Some boys like dancing and are good at it.
  • Boys can be embarrassed to be friends with a girl.
  • Some schools had girls only football at play time. Other girls said they did not want this. They wanted to play with boys but for boys not to be so rough and obey the rules.

Careers:

Strong views were expressed about equality, that men and women should be able to do every job.

  • Boys and girls can do every job.
  • It’s good to see a woman pilot and men looking after children.
  • Usually women do childcare. They have carried the baby so they are more in touch. However, men can look after children too.
  • Comparisons with the past. Men used to go out to work and women stayed at home. Now more women go out to work.

Emotions:

  • You sometimes see women being angry, but they’ve got good reasons to be angry. They do not get equal pay and are often treated unfairly and not with respect.
  • It’s unusual to see men cry but they all agreed that it’s acceptable for them to cry.
  • Boys and men act really tough. If they cry, they think they’ll look weak.

We asked the children: ‘If you had super magical powers and had one wish, to make things fairer and kinder between men and women, girls and boys what would that be?’

  •  Girls and boys can play together
  • Don’t judge people by if they’re black or white
  • Girls are the same as boys and everyone is treated fairly
  • Girls and boys are in the same team in any sport
  • Make girls confident to do sports
  • Make more jobs accessible to different genders
  • Freedom of choice
  • Change attitudes
  • To make sure men and women get treated equally and have the same rights
  • Boys and girls shouldn’t judge each other by what they look like
  • Everyone having the same opportunities
  • That men and women should share their feelings
  • To make every man, woman and child get along so everyone should stop bombing and attacking people.
  • For people to aim for their dreams

Finally, we asked them ‘As a peer mediator, what could you do to make it fairer?’

  • Talk to the school in an assembly, about genders getting along with being friends and making sure you are able to do what you want to do. E.g. being able to play football if you are a girl.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover
  • To make sure you’re not taking sides
  • Don’t judge people by their gender
  • Giving people the opportunity to play
  • Make girls try to play sport and not make boys make fun of them
  • Play together fairly. Treat people respectfully. Practise together.
  • Collaborate more
  • Listen to other people’s opinion
  • Encourage people to believe in themselves and do what they want with their life
  • Use encouragement to build their confidence
  • Make a rota (that’s clear) for girl’s football on a certain day, same with boys, ‘We have a rota but whenever I look at the football pitch and there are always boys, the same boys.’

DECSY Gender Respect (23)

Our reflections

We really enjoyed the workshops and felt very encouraged by the opinions of the young people. We realised we had the benefit of being with a selected group of hand-picked 10 and 11 year olds, trained in listening and mediation. The children were forthcoming in their views and able to discuss their differences. They had strongly held views about the importance of equality – between men and women, boys and girls, black and white. This held true for occupations, emotions and relationships. We were very interested to hear that some girls and boys did not like the banter about ‘Girls are best. No! Boys are best.’ which they said was very prevalent in their schools. ‘Because we are all human beings. We want to be treated like human beings.’ However, in the everyday experience of playground football, girls expressed their reality of exclusion. This held true across all 10 schools represented. It may be boys had not heard this before and discussions like this could make a difference, especially as peer mediators are mostly engaged because of conflicts at play times. However, some boys’ view that they were more competitive than girls seemed insightful, and may reflect an underlying culture.

Thoughts for the future of the Gender Respect project: We were encouraged that some children spontaneously suggested holding an assembly on gender equality. We hope their teachers will be able to support them in this. This idea may be developed at the young people’s conference later this month. All the children said they would love to come to a Gender Respect student conference if there was one in the future.

 

 


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?

Yes

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.