Being girl or boy – college student interrogate gender norms

Before the gender lessons: This was 11 & 13 year old understanding of what it means to be female

In a group exercise in one of Wfac’s gender, Society and health education (gShe) programme with students at Master Bilingual College (MBC) , some thirty 11 and 13-year old students were tasked to create a gender word webs, reflecting on their own understanding of gender and construction as well as the type of words they often hear people in their communities, families, neighbourhoods would use in describing a girl or boy, man or woman.

11 & 13 year old social construct of males ness

The whole idea of this exercise was an attempt to enable the  30 young adolescents debunk as well as interrogates gender norms and stereotypes and hopefully as they grow into adulthood empowered and knowledgeable about these injustices and effects of gender roles and norms to societal growth and the wellbeing of the human race, they would be conscious of the need to stand for equal opportunities for all. Such an exercise was therefore paramount, a step towards challenging gender constructs and re-correcting the wrongs and years of inequalities against women and girls.

We are humans first

After a series of exercises around deconstruction and reconstruction of a gender word web drawing of who a woman or man is and is NOT.  It became evident to the adolescents that apart from the socially constructed traits, as purported by an 11-year college boy, “we are all humans first”. And that the only difference is biological that is “males are born with a penis, and produces sperms”, while females are born with a “vagina” and at a certain age in their life they “menstruate”.

adolescents gender web of maleness and female

 

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Written by Nkongho Chantal, 

Wfac gShe Volunteer Facilitator

Published on November 20, 2018 

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