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Unravelling gender identity in school workshops

14OctFrom Maslah
By Latifa Akay

Unravelling gender identity in school workshops

Last month we ran a set of workshops around gender identities and equality with a group of 200 Year 8 pupils at a North West London academy. As we often find is the case when discussing gender with young people, the trajectory of discussion and the outcomes of these conversations were fascinating. While pupils were at times perplexed and disbelieving, they were animated and keen to discuss and listen throughout. 

 It is always interesting to present an idea or experience that’s completely different to what a young person knows or how they expect things to be. We looked at gender stereotypes and gender as a social construction, with examples from different places around the world to show that contrary to what tick-boxes would have us believe, gender can be as fluid as we want it to be. 

 While societal norms would have us believe that gender is an 'essential category' and that being male and female should mean particular things, understanding gender as a 'social construct' allows many people to make better sense of their own lived realities which more often that not do not fit into rigid categories.

 Bringing together history, sociology, geography and linguistics, we explored different conceptions of equality: is it similarity, is it complementarity or is it allowing space to be different? The difference between gender equality laws and everyday realities means this remains a relevant and important area for debate and understanding, whatever the local context.

 If you would be interested in workshops around equality and gender identity in your school or college, please get in touch! Read more about what we have on offer here.