eimear o callaghan

This year I was working in a single sex boys primary school. Traditionally the school hold an annual football match at the end of the year ( Teachers v’s 6th class) . All teachers are invited to play, however this year, several female teachers/SNA’s agreed to play. ( Unfortunately I was minding an injury and couldn’t play). It was at this time, that I recognised that gender stereotypes were very much present and evident from the pupils from all ages (from JI’s to the 6th class players themselves). I overheard conversations from many of the pupils who were very confident that the 6th class boys would be more skilful than the female adults on the pitch. Dips were put on certain male teachers who they believed, because of their gender, would score the most goals. Luckily one of the Senior Ladies Dublin Footballers is  working in the school and represented the women very well. Every player held their own on the pitch. For the rest of the week, I overheard the boys talking about her top right corner goal.

I think having this mixed teachers team play against the pupils was very important for them to witness and acknowledge gender equality and hopefully break societal gender stereotypes.

I also believe that teachers should be mindful to celebrate great sporting achievements from men/women/boys and girls that have represented their local club, community or country, would encourage these boys to see women/girls as sporting leaders too.  Inviting both male and female sport stars into the school regularly to discuss sport, diet, exercise and following their dreams may help debunk societal gender stereotypes.

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