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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Gender Respect Pupil Conference: Primary Workshop

In the primary workshop, the pupils were shown a series of images and phrases showing stereotypical and non-stereotypical images of jobs, emotions and sports. They were asked to choose one that they felt interested in. We had some great discussions about women in the army, boys dancing, men and women playing football and boys crying. The phrase ‘You throw like a girl!’ proved to be an interesting one too, with one boy pointing out that this was a compliment as girls throw very well!

pri 1

We then did a continuum line with ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’ for the following statements:

‘Boys are embarrassed to do dance.’

‘Boys are all good at DIY.’

 

There was an interesting gender split with the dance, with the boys saying that they would not be embarrassed to do dance. The general feeling about DIY was that some boys are good at DIY but some certainly are not!

 

Next we thought about what was good about being a boy/girl/either. Here are some of their thoughts:

Girls: dance, being smart, people don’t judge you when you cry, you can wear trousers and skirts.

Boys: Straightforward, self-confident, being smart, dance, nerd, exercise, maths.

Either: long and short hair, ability to do sport, sensible, make up.

 

We discussed the pressures and difficulties of being a boy/girl and wrote them on post it notes around an outline of a body. These included;

 

‘Boys get teased for dancing.’

‘It’s harder for girls to do football because they’re not as good as boys.’

‘Girls should get the right amount of money for doing the same job.’

‘Some boys think that they’re superior to everyone else.’

‘Boys find it hard to cry in front of other people.’

‘In other countries, boys go to school and girls have to stay at home and work.’

Pri 2

They then ranked these pressures from most to least important, using a diamond 9 shape.

pri 4

Using these ideas, the pupils worked with their schools to create an action plan of something that they felt needed addressing in school. 2 groups wished to create a play to act out in assembly, looking at respect for one another and challenging teasing. The 3rd group wished to organise a dance competition to encourage more boys to have a go at dance. We look forward to hearing about the success of their ideas.

IMG_2601

Comments from the teachers:

‘The day was a great opportunity for children to meet others from different schools and outside the authority of Sheffield. They didn’t know each other and yet soon started to share their ideas. The performances/ presentations were meaningful and pupil led. Our school council members have also chosen to be ambassadors and wish to champion respect for the school. They want to address attitudes they see towards female dinner staff from children and also encourage other pupils to challenge controlling behaviour when a child is told by another child they can’t join in because of gender, race or age. They want to start with an assembly and posters and will meet weekly. It was interesting that they choose an area in which staff at school have previously discussed but haven’t had an opportunity to raise with the children. I feel that they can have a real impact with this work.’

Stephen

 

‘I found the day really exciting as the children were so interested and had such good ideas. It gave me lots of hope for good things happening in the next generation and I can’t wait to hear what happens in the schools.’

Abbey


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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.

 

 


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Teacher Blog: Carol

Debate Club

Week 2 (5 males, 14 females)

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

Responses:

  • 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

Stereotypes:

  • 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.

Media:

  • 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: 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.

Now

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: Abbey

Gender and Careers

The main thing I found from the questionnaire was that pupils in my school had a very gendered understanding of job roles. Almost all pupils believed household roles, such as cleaning, cooking and childcare should be undertaken by women and that women should not work. There were some cases were pupils believed specific jobs, namely medicine and law enforcement, were unsuitable for women and some, such as teaching, were unsuitable for men. Despite this, most girls aspired to have a career. However, this seemed to be a belief held at the same time as the belief that they would need to undertake the roles described above, and that they would definitely have children. Often, the girls had more aspirational aims for work (in terms of traditional views of aspirational roles i.e. well paid and highly qualified). The primary career options for the boys were professional footballer, taxi driver or shop owner.

To address this I planned a number of sessions culminating in an equal opportunities job fair, at which women and men would represent roles not traditional for their gender. In the end, my time was so wholly consumed with the admin of the job fair that this became the sole focus.

The job fair, however, was a great success. The children were enthused and engaged and their understanding, particularly about police officers, was successfully challenged. Many children expressed the fact that their understanding had been altered and almost all children said that they would like to have one of the roles that they learned about.


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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.