British comedian, David Walliams, has written a book that has touched the hearts of children and adults alike. The title of the book is a giveaway to what the story is about. The book is available in paperback, ebook, audiobook and there is also a film, so you can choose the medium that best suits you and your class!
These books provide an excellent way to challenge gender stereotypes. I would suggest reading them to your class without any discussion, gauge your pupils reactions and go from there. Perhaps you could send them home to be read to/or by parents to reinforce the message.
It is all well and good to promote equality during non-lesson time (recess, lunch, free play, classroom setup), but an actual planned lesson can be good too. Here are some ideas to promote class discussion regarding gender stereotypes. These activities are also relevant to teaching prejudice in general - we all know the saying 'you can't judge a book by its cover', placing labels on boys and girls is no different.
As teachers, most of us are aware of these and it has become second nature (as many people have pointed out in the comments section). I still think we can all do with a little reminding from time to time, and this list is great for that. It is also useful to share with any student teachers or parent helpers that may come into your classroom. I like that number nine goes beyond gender stereotypes and focuses on inclusion in general.
Sure, not every little girl who plays with trucks wants to be a boy, but this fascinating documentary (part of UK Channel 4's 'Born in the Wrong Body' series) gives an insight into those who do. The themes of support and acceptance are key here and something that, as educators, we should be striving to promote.
The impact of gender stereotypes can go on to have long lasting effects when children reach adulthood. This article looks at ways we can target children at a young age to close the gender gap in the workforce. Many schools and teachers are already doing this, but this articles shares how media, retail and toy companies are coming together to work on this.
This article (ironically in the 'women' section) highlights juts how prevalent gender stereotypes are. The positive note is that children do no often seem bothered. That is, until they are. We need to keep working to promote gender equality, not just in regards to the toys kids play with or the subjects they take, but also when it comes to examples in questions and homework tasks.
This ad aims to promote confidence in young girls, but I think it does more than that. It makes us think about the saying 'like a girl'. There are plenty of boys who do not like sport and who are not good at it, and saying that they 'throw like a girl' is deemed as an insult. Let's work to get rid of it, instead allow our students to thrive in areas beyond the stereotypical ones.