5 Ideas for Working on Gender Equality in the Classroom

Take advantage of these ideas to work on gender equality in the classroom and collaborate to build a better future.
5 Ideas for Working on Gender Equality in the Classroom

Last update: 02 August, 2022

Education in values for boys and girls is the basis for changing the stereotypes and prejudices that still exist in society. Therefore, what could be better than working on gender equality in the classroom?

With good ideas, it’s possible to encourage children to carry out activities that allow them to reflect on discriminatory behavior, such as the use of sexist language and the perpetuation of sexual stereotypes.

According to Clara Alemann, a specialist in social and political development programs with a gender perspective at the Inter-American Development Bank, we can achieve change by “encouraging non-sexist games, toys, and books that don’t segregate or categorize spaces, themes, activities, and roles for boys and girls.

Based on this advice, we’ve developed a series of ideas to put into practice in the classroom and educate children on values and not based on prejudices or stereotypes. Are you ready to start promoting gender quality?

Activities and games to work on gender equality

Science has made it clear that gender stereotypes are learned in early childhood.

According to the results obtained in a study published in Science Magazine, the following is the conclusion:

  • Until the age of 5, children don’t differentiate between “very intelligent” boys and girls.
  • From the age of 6 onwards, girls rate boys as “very smart” more than girls and tend to stay away from games and toys traditionally intended for the male gender.

But for this to stop being the norm, we need to retrace the path and foster equality, empathy, and understanding of different contexts and realities. So, take a pencil and paper and learn some keys to achieving this task.

A little boy and a little girl playing in a play kitchen.
Toys have no gender, as they adapt to children’s need to put into practice what they learn from their environment. Use them in favor of change, as the limiting prejudice is that of adults.

1. Reinforce the idea that games and toys are genderless

Including genderless games and toys is a great idea to prevent children from self-limiting their choices and, on the contrary, to focus on their emotional well-being when playing.

Then, you’ll need to invite them to reflect on the act of choosing toys according to gender, when they can play with all of them equally. One way to make this proposal concrete is to have them review the catalog of a toy store and discuss their ideas and thoughts on the matter.

Finally, we can ask them if there are unisex games in that advertisement. If not, it’s worth suggesting that they invent some with cardboard, drawings, or whatever they can think of.

2. Revalue housework: It’s about helping or sharing responsibilities

In the classroom, we can recreate a room in a house and ask the boys and girls to share the cleaning tasks. When finished, dedicate a moment for reflection to determine if everyone has understood that both boys and girls are capable of doing the same household chores.

Apart from this, this activity allows children to understand the magnitude of household chores and the effort involved in keeping the family home in good condition. It’s important to go beyond the concept of “helping” and replace it with the concept of “sharing responsibilities” within the home. This contributes to a more equitable distribution of the daily burden of household work.

3. Encourage reading “stories for all”

Books are an excellent tool for learning about values. A story adapted for children can help them understand the problems of gender inequality and opens the door to an interesting debate: What should happen in an egalitarian society and how can we change the reality?

4. Propose mixed sports to promote equality

The sports field is one of the environments that best reflects stereotypes, as, traditionally, there are “masculine” and “feminine” disciplines.

Therefore, a fun idea to rethink this reality in the classroom is to propose a sports championship (of any discipline) with mixed teams.

Boys and girls playing tennis.
Sports have no gender and we must instill this concept in children in order to break down limiting prejudices to perform with freedom of choice and expression.

5. Implement the skills cards

Write 10 everyday actions on the board, such as sweeping, cleaning, running, studying, walking, playing, laughing, and cooking, among others. Then ask the children to write on an “I can” card below a list of five things they’re able to do.

Next, ask the group who can sweep, laugh, or play and see how many children have written those actions on their cards. From this, open the space for reflection by having them see how many have chosen the same actions, regardless of gender. In the end, we can all do the same things.

Ideas for working on gender equality in the classroom: Educating to change the world

One of Nelson Mandela’s most transcendental phrases is the following:

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

The role of education is fundamental in order to make gender equality go from being a utopia to a possible, everyday reality.

If classrooms were to educate boys and girls in values, we would have a society free of prejudices and limiting stereotypes, in which everyone could develop their full potential as human beings. Without distinction of gender, race, religion, or thought. These aspects have to do with the personality and qualities of people, but don’t make them better or worse than anyone else.

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