Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

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

Gender and Sport

Gender and Sport

My project so far has consisted of a P4C session with Y3 and Y5 to see what they think about gender and sport. This helped to inform the questions that I chose for my questionnaire, which I did with focus groups from Y2, Y4 and Y6. They were in groups of 4, with 3 groups from each year group; girls, boys and mixed.

As a follow up to the findings from these, I asked my Y3 class what they thought the problem was and what they would like to do to solve it. I then used their ideas to come up with my project.

Part 1: P4C with Y3 and Y5

Stimuli: Clip from Billy Elliott and Bend it like Beckham; images of females and males doing a variety of sports; newspaper articles: female boxing allowed in the Olympics in 2012 for the first time, differences between men’s and women’s gymnastics, Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to play sport.

Y3 questions:

  1. Why can’t both genders do some sports?
  2. Why do people think boys can’t do girls things and girls can’t do boy things?
  3. Why do we say in some countries people aren’t allowed to do some sports?
  4. Why do people not like boys to do ballet?
  5. How would you feel if someone said you couldn’t do sport anymore?
  6. Why can’t women play every sport?
  7. Why do people not let girls play certain sports?
  8. Why do men and women have different equipment for gymnastics?

Chosen question: Why can’t women play every sport?

Examples of comments:

(G) Girls like shopping, boys like running. This is why some people think that girls can’t play sports.

(G) Some people let girls play, others think boys are stronger and faster so only they can play.

(G) Some girls can be stronger than boys…I think that all boys should think that if they were a girl if they would like it if they were told they couldn’t do this sport. I think everyone should get to choose if they can do it or not.

(B) Men have skill and speed in football. Men are stronger than women…men and ladies are good at dancing. Why don’t boys do girls sports? Girls can play football because they are strong. Women are more into swimming than men. Because women don’t just want to get strong. They want to get fit and healthy as well like boys.

Y5 questions:

  1. Why can’t there be some sports for men, some for women and some for both?
  2. Why aren’t women seen on TV as much as men?
  3. Why do men and women have different categories?
  4. Why do you barely ever hear about women sports people?
  5. Why do men call women’s football girls’ football?
  6. Why do people think that men are better and stronger than women?
  7. Why don’t women have as many opportunities as men?
  8. Why should different genders effect how we play sport?
  9. Why can’t women’s sport be on TV more often?
  10. Why should women be forced to play on women’s teams but not men’s?

Chosen question: Why can’t there be some sports for men, some for women and some for both?

Examples of comments:

(B) You have to practise to get better at sport, regardless of gender.

(B) If women’s rugby was on TV more, more women would want to join in.

(B) I disagree, I think some sports e.g. synchronised swimming, are for girls and some e.g. football, are for boys.

(G) Some people think girls are better than boys, or boys are better than girls in general life. It’s the same for sport.

Part 2: Focus Groups

Questions and summary of findings:

  1. Do you enjoy PE? What is your favourite sport?

All children said they enjoyed PE and did a wide range of different sports.

  1. Do you think girls and boys are equally good at sports/PE? Why?

Boys and girls are better at different sports, sports that they are more suited to because of their physique. However, it’s often more about skill and practice and anyone can do anything if they believe in themselves.

  1. Are there any sports that you think are more for girls or more for boys?

Yes – girls and boys are suited to different sports and enjoy different sports. It is ok for them to do sports that are considered not for their gender, however they may get teased for it. Boys and girls commented on the fact that girls don’t like having balls thrown at them and they don’t want to get muddy or be rough.

  1. Are there any sports you’d like to play but you feel you can’t? Why?

Some sports they can’t play because they haven’t been given the opportunities to play them e.g. skiing, tennis. Some sports they can’t play because they feel they don’t have the correct skills e.g. being strong enough. Some sports they can’t play because they get teased by the opposite sex.

  1. What do you think we can do to encourage girls and boys to play whichever sport they want to?

Children had many ideas including; teaching different sports, stop teasing, assemblies, rotas at lunchtime.

Part 3: Ideas generating

After sharing the results of these focus groups with Y3, they came up with the following ideas:

  • Teaching sports to younger children, discussing gender issues.
  • Lunchtime sports club.
  • After school club.
  • Write a song/poem to persuade children to encourage people to do all sports – for an assembly.
  • Posters with messages to go around school.
  • Read posters in assembly.
  • Rules and facts to go around school, with pictures of different sports.
  • Acrostic poem with a message.
  • Make a website.

Part 4: Intervention

Following discussions with other teachers involved in the project, I decided to go for the posters idea. I have 8 children who are gifted and talented in art to design posters with a message linked to gender, sport and sports day. These will be shown in assembly and the messages will be explained to the children. The key messages we are trying to get across are that it’s ok to do any sport they wish, regardless of their gender, and that it’s not ok to tease people because they have chosen to do a sport normally associated with the opposite gender.

Success Criteria for posters developed by Y3

1.    Title

2.    Pictures – computer, hand

3.    Slogans

4.    Messages to encourage people to be kind to others.

5.    Messages to encourage people to ‘give it a go’ = try other sports.

6.    Information/facts about the sport.

7.    Information about/images of sports legends.

8.    Easy to understand, makes sense.

9.    Flaps, pop-ups

10.  Our values: cooperation, responsibility, teamwork, thoughtfulness, respect.

Examples of messages

1.     Don’t tease people.

2.    Don’t be mean if a boy wants to do gymnastics.

3.    Don’t tease people who do different sports to you.

4.    You have the right to do any sport you choose.

5.    Don’t judge other people by their sport.

6.    Anyone can do any sports they want to.

7.    Be fair to girls and boys in sport.

8.    Let girls and boys join in.

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