The issue of gender stereotyping has been laid bare following a Vision 10 classroom session that led to direct action to try and tackle it.
As part of Vision AfriKa’s life skills programme, a presentation on the topic was given to the Grade 10 learners, who were subsequently divided into smaller groups to discuss this often-unconscious activity. While some students were highly engaged in the debate, others seemed less open to it at the time. But the longer-term effects could clearly be seen only a week later.
When one learner was asked by his school-teacher to clean the board for her, he responded: “I’m sorry teacher, but it seems unfair that boys always have to wipe the board. Doesn’t that amount to gender stereotyping?” Although taken aback, the teacher was happy to allow a huge 30-minute debate on the subject to take place to the benefit of the whole class.
A second incident also took place later that same week. As one of the male students was standing with his friends, they started making comments about the appearance of a girl who was passing by. But the learner challenged their statements, asking whether they would give out similar compliments if she had been male. His friends were shocked and, while not all of them understood where he was coming from, at least it made them think.