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Encouraging critical thinking and resilience in the face of limiting gender stereotypes


  • The more TV any 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


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 >


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

Karen Fratti – 6 ways parents can challenge gender stereotypes… (Feb 2018)

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”

Ella Duncan – Being a Feminist Mum to Boys (Zero Tolerance, May 2019)


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

Go to Commonsense 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


Gender resources

More help with #gender stereotypes
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The Anyone Can Play project from Zero Tolerance explores the best ways to talk about gender stereotypes and their effect on children. Includes the Talking Gender factsheet series, posters and social media links  Go to Anyone Can Play >
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 >
Good Men Project.png

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  Go to The Good Men Project >

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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