Emma Molloy

I teach in an all-boys school and so I see gender stereotyping all of the time. Recently, we reached a unit in our Irish spelling book themed ‘At the Hospital’. There were words like ‘ambulance’, ‘doctor’, ‘nurse’, ‘waiting room’ etc. One of the activities was where the children had to look at a picture and match the correct word to it. In one picture there was a woman with a stethoscope around her neck. One boy said “nurse”, to which I replied “but look what’s around her neck” and his response was “but she’s a woman”. As soon as he said it he went red and knew that he had made a mistake. We did have a giggle about it afterwards but this led us to a discussion about how women can be fire-fighters, pilots, police, professional footballer – which are all stereotypically jobs you would associate with men. By having more of these conversations regularly and including development education in our planning, this highlights these issues and creates a better awareness and understanding.

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