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Sri Sarvajna Public School's Blog on Coeducation

Gender bias is a preference or prejudice towards one gender over the other. Bias can be conscious or unconscious and may manifest in many ways, both subtle and obvious.

Gender inequity is not only learned and accepted in the socialization process that starts at home, but is also present in the school environment from the very early years. Parents and teachers consciously or unconsciously reinforce sex stereotypes.

The foundation for gender identity formation gets established during the pre – school years. By age of three although most children can identify themselves as boys or girls, the support they get or do not get in their pre-school years lays the foundation for the rest of their gender identity formation.

Teachers usually without being aware of it, exhibit gender bias in classroom teaching in three principal ways:

1. reinforcing gender stereotypes

2. maintaining sex separation and

3. treating male and female differently.

So teachers can take a variety of measures to create fair and gender equitable environment for young children. They can:

Reflect on their own Attitudes and Behaviour.

  • Provide equal opportunity for girls and boys to speak
  • Avoid responding more quickly to children of one gender than another
  • Discuss gender issues by involving children in helping to solve gender – related problems that may arise.
  • Use gender-neutral languages.

Ensure the environment encourages opportunity for everyone.

  • Gender neutral career puzzles images of men and women in non – stereotypical roles.
  • Diverse family styles and composition
  • Children’s books that reflect diverse gender roles.

Helping children to develop skills for thinking critically and taking action

  • Having them explore their ideas about gender identity and think about what is or is not fair with respect to gender.
  • Honour children when they stand up for themselves or others in the face of gender bias.

So as a teacher we can teach our students to be open-minded and to accept people from every background. Teachers are in a powerful position from where they can mobilize the next generation. Awareness can consciously help children to cope and deal with this conflict and respond to intolerance in the real world.

Written by Ms. Niveditha, Assistant Teacher, Sri Sarvajna Public School.