Gender Stereotypes and Identity

Credit: Sakina Saidi for Fine Act

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I don’t want to be boy tough, I am girl tough

(Gender Stereotypes and Identity Workshop participant)

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Credit: Zhana Mitkova – Balancing act (Fine Acts)

Gender stereotypes are systematically replicated everywhere from representations in film, media, culture and entertainment; models of leadership and governance; books and educational materials; to fashion and children’s toys. They are embodied in physical structures and infrastructure as well as in institutions, laws and rules. They reinforce ideas about acceptable or expected attributes or characteristics.

Notably, gender stereotypes are often defined by absence – of the women, girls and openly LGBTQIA+ identifying people whose voices, names and contributions have been rendered almost invisible in public spheres that include historical recollection, influential art, music, film or political leadership.

In July 2021, PRAXIS, in partnership with Changing the Story, held a two-part workshop on gender stereotypes to support awareness and critical self-reflection. Young people from across the Changing the Story network were invited to engage in a series of discussions guided by questions about gender stereotypes, challenges, norms and assumptions in their lives, and contexts, and to share their actions for change; actions that they can implement at the personal or community level to affect change.

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Men act like they are lions

(Gender Stereotypes and Identity Workshop participant)

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Credit: Violeta Noy for Fine Acts

Call for Action: Gender Stories

Often when we reflect on our lives or on significant moments, we think in terms of stories…What happened? Why? How did it make us feel? What journey did we take and what impact did it have on us? Stories can help us communicate difficult, maybe very personal ideas, thoughts and feelings. They can also sometimes help us resolve them through expressing or sharing them.

We invite you to think about significant events, moments, or periods in your life where gender stereotypes and expectations have affected you or someone you know, and how they shape us in particular ways. We invite you to prepare your own gender story and your action for change. Your gender story can be short. It can be in the form of prose or a poem. It could be a photo that is significant for you, a painting or drawing, film or animation.

Join our community calling for change – add your story to our gender story wall and read the gender stories of other people from around the world, or inspire others’ and add to our actions for change wall – personal actions that you think can drive change in your community, school, university, among friends and family.

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I will break boundaries and respect others choices

(Gender Stereotypes and Identity Workshop participant)

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