‘Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility.’ — Ban Ki-Moon
Today, Human Rights Day, marks the end of the 16 Days of Activismagainst Gender-Based Violence. The theme this year was ‘Together we can end GBV in education.’
Part of our responsibilities as educators is to recognise the potential of children to be world changers and to empower them to fulfil this role. For this reason, despite the complexities of GBV as a theme in itself, we decided to approach it with our primary school students focusing on the concept of ‘respect’ between boys and girls.
We didn’t know what to expect but as usual they surprised us! The children first watched a video on gender inequality and most of them were able to identify the unequal treatment that was taking place as expressed by one group’s comment: “ boy girl no same flower the girl is sad but boy girl same flower the girl is happy”
We played games in which they had to demonstrate empathy and work collaboratively in order to succeed. As a group, they then sorted pictures of different scenarios that they might have experienced or experience in school into what would make them feel happy, sad or angry. There were different reactions, sometimes contrasting opinions and levels of engagement amongst the 11 classes that carried out this activity; however it was unique to observe the children thinking and working together around this topic.