At the beginning of November last year, I was lucky enough to take part in the planning, creating and giving a presentation to year nine pupils on gender equality, in the hopes that we can help break the gender divide and create a society where there are little to no gender stereotypes. Myself, Olivia Unsworth and Saskia Lewis worked together to produce a presentation that (we hope!) was engaging, interesting, and eye-opening. The presentation took a few months of planning; we wanted to make sure that we were as educated ourselves on the issues surrounding gender equality in 2019, the history of the gender equality movement and the improvements that have been made so far to help reach some the level of equality there is today. Our presentation helped show the pupils the issues at hand when it comes to gender equality, making it clear that gender inequality affects both women and men, after discovering it is a concept that people mainly believe only affects women.
To start our presentation, we defined exactly what was meant by gender equality, and included a YouTube video that broke down the underlying levels of the issue by using cereal and milk to show how, in different sectors, there is an obvious difference between how men and women are treated. This was particularly beneficial to our presentation; it helped engage with the pupils so they could fully understand exactly what issues are at hand, whilst also adding a bit of humour and light to what is ultimately a rather serious topic. Next, we provided information on the history of the gender equality movement. Our focus was on when exactly the first gender equality demands began, the key people involved throughout the movement, and the different methods used and achievements they made. Of course this included famous equality groups like the Suffragettes and the Suffragists, but it also suggested people crucial to the cause today, such as Emma Watson.
On top of this, there were activities for the pupils to complete to independently expand their knowledge on the topic. We created information packs with different facts and figures on the gender equality movement, as well as statements and quotes from a variety of celebrities who have voiced their opinion on the topic – Will Smith seemed to be the celebrity the pupils were most shocked to hear about, being a gender equality ambassador himself. Pupils then had a series of questions they could answer about the information they had read. The fantastic part about this activity was that it allowed the pupils to have freedom over their own research; they could pick and choose what to read based upon what interested them, to allow them to really make the most of the opportunity. The other activity we did was a guessing game. On the board was a statement or fact about a gender equality issue, and the pupils had to hold up a card guessing whether they thought the issue had occurred in the UK, Iceland or Afghanistan. The pupils were pretty good at guessing the correct country, although there were a few they found surprising!
To finish off, we spoke to the students about how gender inequality can occur in the workplace, and the reasons for this. For us, this seemed especially important to talk about as it is potentially an issue all the pupils will come across when they enter the workplace, and we believe that the more educated people are around the issue, the sooner and easier it will be to stop it. Just so we didn’t end on complete doom and gloom, we provided some figures we’d found that showed that gender equality in the workplace is improving year by year.
Overall, it was a great experience for us both researching the gender equality movement and the issues around it, as well as providing that information to others. It gave us the opportunity to teach what we’d learned on gender equality and pass that information on in the hope it will benefit the pupils and help expand their understanding. It really gave us a feel for teaching, and we found it particularly rewarding when students told us how interesting they had found it. It’s definitely a topic we’d like to teach more about, so we can both educate people and help diminish the gender divide.