Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

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

Friendships between girls and boys

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.

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