Talking about Gender and Equal Opportunities with 12-year-olds

Last year I was invited to my 12 year-old-son’s school to talk about gender and equal opportunities. I am the gender equality officer at the department (see this blog post), and of course I could come and discuss gender with them. I asked my son Edvin very carefully before doing this if it would be OK with him. I know that my kids sometimes think that I am the most embarassing mother one can find :-P….

Last week I was asked if I could do another lecture on equal opportunities and gender in the same class. I managed not to say YES immediately since it takes some time to prepare a lecture for 12-year-olds, and I am practicing my NO saying just to get some space in my calendar. I really have very much to do this year with my new reserach project Disa, NordWit and  and my new HTO reserach group..

However, believe it or not: Last week my son asked me about this lecture (!) and he really wants me to come and talk about equal opportunities again so now I need to be planning another dicsussion with the class.

This time I think I will be focusing on what we expect from boys, and what we expect from girls in school and what these norms lead to. I will also do some repetition about what gender equality is, and where the norms come from. I can give them very good examples from their book in religion and how it portrays the world. The chapter on Buddism was a horrible one-eyed text with only men. Perhaps I can also give them some examples from films etc. to make them understand. What would you talk about if you were given an hour to talk about gender equality in schools?

Lesson learned from the last visit:

  • I talk too fast
  • I become too abstract
  • I have too many different things to say.
  • I need to better prepare how to activate the kids in the classroom so that they get to think for themselves.
  • And I need to make sure that the girls talk as much as the boys!