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GENDER STEREOTYPES
Encouraging critical thinking & resilience in the face of limiting gender stereotypes

THE FACTS

  • The more TV a child watches, the more likely they are to believe that “boys are better”, according to a 2013 study by developmental psychologists

  • Stereotypes can work against boys as well as girls. As Gender Action points out, boys are just as likely to be put off studying English and drama as girls are to feel they aren’t capable of pursuing physics and business studies

Do you unconsciously allow more aggression in your boy? Tolerate more sensitivity in your girl? Hold them to different standards for bravery, physical prowess creativity and focus?

Every now and again, picture your Edward as an Edwina as a role-reversal test!

Gender stereotypes sound like:

Boys like…” “Girls don’t, can’t or shouldn’t…” “Boys are naturally…

 

Watch out for them and gently challenge why it isn’t OK for girls to play with tractors or boys with dolls

A MIGHTY GIRL

The world’s largest collection of books, toys, movies and music for parents, teachers and others dedicated to raising smart, confident and courageous girls

 

Go to A Mighty Girl >

GENDER DIARY

Follow a mother and father on Twitter as they parent one a girl and a boy. They’ve now published a collection of their online writing: The Gender Agenda  

Go to Gender Diary >

How to challenge friends and relatives’ stereotypes?

Kassia Binkowski’s post How to broach feminism with the unconvinced and this Bust article both counsel a respectful storytelling approach: “Ask questions”, “Agree where you can” and ”Be patient and kind”

“If Grandma insists on splitting up the cousins based on gender or only gifting them certain things, you have every right to remind them that ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ are concepts us grown-ups created”

6 ways parents can challenge gender stereotypes… – Karen Fratti 

“One day I asked my oldest what it was like to have one best friend who is a girl and one best friend who is a boy. His answer? ‘It’s the same. We all like computer games and running around and making up stories and crisps’”

Being a Feminist Mum to Boys – Ella Duncan (Zero Tolerance)

GENDER-POSITIVE MEDIA

A recommendations service with a great section for parents on sex, gender & body image. Find reviews and lists of the best and worst kids’ films for gender stereotyping & advice on talking about gender issues

Go to Common Sense Media >

It might be easier for children of different genders to foster their relationships outside of school at each other’s houses.

It’s surprisingly easy to fall into having only single-sex friendships or playdates. The more you mix up girls and boys, the more gender neutral their play will become

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive, to be strong. I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts, that I should be able to make decisions about my own body, that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life, that socially I am afforded the same respect as menIn my moments of doubt, I tell myself firmly: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

 

– actor Emma Watson, HeForShe campaign speech to the UN, 2014

 

Gender resources

More help with #GenderStereotypes
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ZERO TOLERANCE | Anyone Can Play
The Anyone Can Play project from Zero Tolerance explores the best ways to talk about gender stereotypes and their effects on children. Includes the Talking Gender factsheet series, posters and social media links  Go to Anyone Can Play >
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LIFTING LIMITS | Challenging gender stereotypes in school
Their work in schools tackling gender stereotypes is making an impact on children, teachers and parents. Check out their views on gender stereotypes in society and at school and why it’s important to challenge & change our attitudes  Go to Lifting Limits >
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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT | Exploring positive masculinity

One for positive-masculinity enthusiasts – a kind of “Upworthy for men” with plenty of inspiring content to explore – like this article about dads, daughters and the chat. See also the great work of A Call To Men…  Go to The Good Men Project >

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FAWCETT SOCIETY | Campaigning for equality
The Fawcett Society campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. Join as a member, engage in the #SmashStereotypes campaign or read their useful Gender Stereotypes research  Go to the Gender Stereotypes Review >

Remember: every child is different. Adjust these suggestions for the age and stage of your child. Children with special educational needs and disabilities, looked-after children and children who have experienced abuse may all need different support.

If you’re in doubt about your child’s development, you should seek the advice of a professional

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