Eimear Donohoe

Gender stereotypes is clearly evident in schools and it can range from mild to ore extreme.

A few examples.

Birthday parties: In a school I worked in the way it was that boys invited boys only to the parties and girls invited girls only to the party. It wasn’t a case of well the boys play with the boys usually. A lot of the time they play in games together like tag etc. However, when it came to the parties a boy didn’t invite a girl and vice versa. One time there was a boy who invited some girls also and it seemed to get a strange reaction.

Roles and responsibilities around the school: When I first started teaching gender stereotyping in this area was very evident. Say for example the tables and chairs needed to be moved from one room to another, then the boys would be asked to do a job like that as boys were deemed stronger physically. Or if one of the younger children was upset or needed cheering up then that was deemed as a girl’s job as she was seen as a more motherly role. In the school I work at now we challenge things like this and children are chosen at random for physical jobs irrespective of their gender and the same goes for comforting a younger student.


Physical appearance of children: I would find that even though this has changed a lot the appearance of children in particular to the length of their hair. We would have a few boys in the infant room with quite long hair and a lot of their classmates when referring to them before they knew their name would have referred to them using the incorrect pronoun ‘He said this…/’She said this,


Playing games and sports: Often when picking teams, the boys will want to only pick the other boys and vice versa with the girls wanting only girls. We challenge this with trying choose a boy first, next a girl, next a boy etc or just simple encourage them to have a good mix of both gender on their teams explaining that some girls will be faster runners than boys and some boys might have quicker reflexes and vice versa.


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