Gender stereotypes limit girls and boys during their school years, but also lead to negative outcomes beyond school and over the course of an adult's life. Gender stereotypes constrict which subjects and activities toddlers, children and teenagers choose. They affect job choices and explain why many industries and professions are male or female dominated. Attitudes about women have been shown to be one of the causes of violence against women and girls in the UK.
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One school is using this checklist to start discussions within staff groups. Have a look and see if these questions might be helpful in your primary school or early years setting. Click here to download.
Breaking down gender stereotypes must start with asking why girls and boys chose activities and behaviour associated with their gender. It also requires teachers to ask why is it that certain characteristics or aptitudes are deemed to be feminine or masculine. Boys and girls do not 'grow out of' these stereotypes and their life chances will be affected by them.
Why is 'aggression' traditionally associated as masculine whereas 'passivity' is associated as feminine? Why do we assume all women will want children? Why are more of the pupils excluded from school male than female? What attitudes do we teach young people about men and women, their role in society and their roles in the home?
The NUT is currently working with five primary schools on a project called Breaking the Mould. The primary schools are in Norfolk, Portsmouth, London and Nottingham.
The teachers will be using a range of Project Books to explore attitudes to gender with their pupils and break down stereotypes. As the project progresses, lesson plans and findings will be posted on this webpage.
Gender 5 Schools Breaking the Mould Project book images
To view the books which are being used in the project, please see the Powerpoint.
One school is using this checklist to start discussions within staff groups. Have a look and see if these questions might be helpful in your primary school or early years setting
Using reading and storytelling to challenge stereotypes about gender- a new NUT resource
Primary teachers know that reading and storytelling can be used to fire up children's imagination. As part of the 'Breaking the Mould' project, the NUT has been working with a small group of primary schools to challenge 'traditional' gender stereotypes through the curriculum. As part of the support for schools, the project team provided them with a range of books featuring characters who defy some of the long established typecasting of girls and boys in children's literature. A full report will be published later this year but the project team have already produced notes on some of these books. This resource gives examples of books which can help teachers, parents and carers to get the most out of reading the stories with children they know or teach.
Click here download Breaking the Mould - it's child's play