Teaching Gender Equality without 'Preaching' Gender Equality - Happy International Women's Day!
Here at My Primary Tutor, we’re excited to be celebrating International Women’s Day 2021. The theme of this year’s event is #choosetochallenge, and we feel that one of the most effective ways to challenge gender stereotypes and to raise awareness of women’s issues is to educate the younger generation, and we know that parents will be behind us!
With this in mind, and in order to help our lovely tutees to grow up in a world where gender stereotypes are on the wane, we have chosen to write our blog this week with lots of different resources which we feel are a gentle, empowering way to introduce younger children to concepts which can be challenging!
Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World by Kate Pankhurst
We feel that this book is truly inspirational! It has some very easy to access stories of women throughout history who have challenged gender roles and forged their own paths – often at great personal cost. It includes stories about Jane Austen, Emmeline Pankhurst and Rosa Parks among many others and is a lovely read with a KS1 child.
For slightly older children (we think this book is probably best for upper KS2), Girls Are the Best by Sandi Toksvig is a great read, pointing out women who have changed the world and raising awareness that history is often written by the winners (which in the past has mainly been men).
Disney have not always had a history of writing women with strong, independent roles to play, but in recent years this has all changed. A particular favourite in my house at the moment (i.e. I’ve watched it 16 million times and know the Maui rap off by heart) is Moana, the story of a princess who dreams of more than the small world which her parents coddle her in. I also love Brave (Kelly McDonald is lovely in it) but the bear is a bit scary for my youngest.
OK, this one is partly on the list because I loved it when I was small, but there has been a real benefit to sharing these programs (and their updates) with my children. One of the best benefits is that my son also loves watching them. Of course, it’s important for us as parents to empower our daughters, but we also need to be showing our sons that women are partners to be valued and respected – and that shows featuring them are just as good as those with male heroes! Watching my 6 year old enjoying She-Ra, and discussing what we like best about her afterwards is one way of achieving this without forcing the issue.
Of course, Katie Morag has been going for years, and her books are classics, but the CBeebies show is wonderful too. Full of strong female role models and teaching independence and creativity, it is hugely popular in my house. Double-super bonus added because it can be viewed in Gaelic!
We hope you've enjoyed our suggestions! What are your top resources for making younger children more aware of gender equality and strong female role models?