Colouring – and talking about gender stereotypes – in the Nursery
A nursery teacher developed her own ‘non-stereotypical’ images for children to colour. Copies of the images – and her reflections on using them with children – are included here.
Words used by girls and boys about girls and boys
One school worked with single sex groups of year 6 children. They asked girls to suggest words associated with girls and boys and boys to do the same. They recorded the results on four sheets of flip chart paper. Click here to view.
Girls’ and boys’ drawings of each other
Two KS2 classes were asked to draw pictures of girls and boys. Using a simple template, boys drew pictures of a girl and girls drew pictures of a boy. They then wrote on their pictures characteristics that they ascribed to the other sex. Generally, girls’ views of boys were much more positive than the other way round. Click here to view.
Comics for girls and comics for boys
One teacher showed Yr. 4 children the covers of different comics – some aimed at girls the other at boys. She asked the children who they thought they were for and why. Click here to view.
Design a magazine for both girls and boys
Children were asked to design a magazine for both girls and boys. They generally responded by producing images that were a mix of ‘stereotypical’ themes – some pink and some blue, footballs for boys and fashion for girls – rather than images that challenged these stereotypes or which didn’t have a stereotypical component. Click here to view.
Male and female characters in the Beano - worksheet
One teacher looked at the Beano with her Yr. 4 class. Unlike other comics they had looked at, the children identified this title as being for both boys and girls. They were subsequently surprised to discover how few of the characters in the comic were actually female – and that only one had a principle role. They wrote to the publisher questioning this. Click here to view.
Pink and blue new baby cards
Several schools used things like design and drama to encourage children to think about how stereotypes were ‘promoted’ and endorsed through the media or in books they read at school. One teacher showed her class a collection of ‘new baby’ cards. A copy of the images from her web search for “baby cards and pictures” – virtually all of them pink or blue – are shown below. Click here to view.
What job is this – and who would do it? Lesson plan and slides
One school showed Yr.3 children untitled job descriptions and asked them whom they might apply to. They included lists of skills that turned out to relate to dancers, farmers or footballers. Many children thought the dancer’s job description was for a footballer. Click here to view.
Toys, gender stereotypes and advertising. Lesson plan
These Year 2 lessons use toys as a starting point for helping children to think about changes in their own and their families’ lives, discuss what a gender stereotype is, recognise differences and similarities between people and begin to consider the impact of advertising on our choices. Click here to view.
English history, Robin Hood – and Maid Marion. Lesson plan
This Year 5 lesson plan encompasses a range of learning outcomes integrating English, History and PSHE. Specifically, it develops children’s understanding of rights and responsibilities, particularly in relation to gender equality, and the impact of gender stereotypes on our thoughts, feelings and actions. It encourages them to recognise the power we have to make choices over our identity and to become critically aware of the gendered portrayal of characters in fiction and how this can be challenged. Click here to view.
Questions for the class after reading The Paper Bag Princess
A Year 3 teacher used the following the questions to support discussion around The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. The story subverts the ‘traditional’ view of a princess who, in this version, rescues a prince from a dragon and is subsequently rejected by him because she is dirty and untidy after her ordeal. Click here to view.
Talking about books – It’s a George Thing
Teachers often used storybooks as the starting point for discussions about the fact that ‘some people think that only girls/boys can do…’. What follows is one teacher’s account of a discussion about one of these books, It’s George Thing by David Bedford. George isn’t sure whether he can share his love of dancing with friends Peachy and Moon. Click here to view.
Prompts for discussion about what girls and boys can do
Many schools used discussions about activities that are often thought of as being ‘for’ boys or girls as a starting point for challenging stereotypical views about gender. Sometimes these arose spontaneously in response to a book or activity, sometimes staff would initiate them. What follows are examples of a couple of ‘prompts’ that staff used to begin discussions. Click here to view.
What do boys and girls like? Worksheet examples
Staff used an exiting SRE resources to ask children whether they thought girls, boys or both would take part in particular activities. There was quite a variety of opinions – some quite non-stereotypical – with the more traditional responses seemingly heavily influenced by parents' views and what children watched on television. Click here to view.
Drawings of Tyke Tyler
Children enjoyed The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler. When asked to draw and write about the character, they gave Tyke a wide range of qualities – but nobody guessed that the person they variously described as cheeky, smelly, imaginative, brave and resourceful was actually a girl… Click here to view.
When I Am Older… Drawings
Year 3 children were asked to draw what they wanted to be when they were older. Their ambitions were very different. Girls were more concerned to ‘help people’ and boys to ‘have fun’. Click here to view.
Supporting more girls to use the football pitch at lunchtimes
How one school involved children in discussions and letter writing about challenging gender stereotypes. Click here to view.