We are delighted that Brookfield is one of five Camden primary schools taking part in a year long project to promote gender equality, run by Lifting Limits. The project helps schools to examine their own practices and to help their pupils recognise and challenge the gender stereotypes which surround them as they grow up. These pictures, for example, show some of the ways in which toys and clothes give children messages about the different sorts of jobs they might aim for when they grow up, or that give very different messages about what is expected of boys (to be tough) and of girls (that appearance is valued more than maths skills).
Although they might seem harmless, we know that gender stereotypes influence many future outcomes for children such as their mental health and their academic future. For example, gender stereotypes are a factor in the low numbers of girls choosing physics and computer science and the low number of boys choosing English and Art and Design at A Level. Gender stereotypes can limit children’s aspirations, choices, behaviour and even achievement. The aim of the pilot is to lift these limits through schools – making staff and children more aware of gender stereotypes and better able to challenge them.
Lifting Limits ran an inset session for school staff at the start of the school year and have provided us with a package of resources we are using throughout this academic year to discuss gender stereotypes and gender equality with the children through lessons, assembles and activities. We hope that your children will talk to you about what they are learning. Many of you have already attended workshops run by Lifting Limits for parents and carers and a ‘guide for families’ distributed at those workshops is available here.