Laura Smyth

In my own school I can think of a situation where there was gender stereo type-it was in relation to school football team and an upcoming tournament. We had been proactive in getting the girls to play football by getting an FAI female coach to do football coaching with the girls only and at the end she ran a tournament for the girls which was very successful and saw girls mixing with the boys at break time in football games, quite naturally. However when it came to the school being invited to a local football tournament only the boys team was brought. This led to a parent coming into the school to question why his daughter wasn’t brought to the tournament. So while we as a school actively encouraged girls participation we had gone with the stereotype of boys only going to represent the school. I think as a school it made us stop & think & re evaluate what message we were giving. We could have challenged the tournament organisers to include girl’s teams & perhaps gotten the students involved in advocating for this. It was an opportunity for highlighting inequality & initiating change. The plan is to get the girls involved next year but I feel we probably failed them this year!

It would be a good year in the upcoming year to use the PLan International lesson plans challenging job & role stereotypes. I liked the lessons where the children had to match the phrases to the photographs, I think these could lead to very interesting conversations in the classroom and get the children & teachers to challenge their stereotypes.

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