GENDER EQUITY and Middle Years Social Studies GENDER EQUITY What is gender equity? “[it is]… equality between women and men… promoting the equal participation of women and men in making decisions; supporting women and girls so that they can fully exercise their rights; and reducing the gap between women's and men's access to and control of resources and the benefits of development.” -- Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) And… “Canada is a world leader in the promotion and protection of women's rights and gender equality. These issues are central to Canada's foreign and domestic policies. Canada is committed to the view that gender equality is not only a human rights issue, but is also an essential component of sustainable development, social justice, peace, and security.” -- Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada. GENDER EQUITY Universal Declaration of Human Rights Gender equity is also explicitly or implicitly mentioned as part of the UDHR in many places, but especially articles 1 and 2. GENDER EQUITY Does gender equity exist in Canada? Women make up over half of the Canadian population (50.4% Statistics Canada). Yet, women generally experience disproportionately lower income than men ($24,400 to $39,300 – Ibid). Women are the victims of more than half of all violent crimes committed, and are particularly at risk of sexual offenses and criminal harassment. Women are less likely to hold advanced degrees, to enroll in mathematical/science-related post-secondary programs, and the trades. Finally, women are more likely to experience chronic health problems than men, and this is exacerbated by typically longer life expectancies. GENDER EQUITY But… Most of these statistics, and many others, have shown a long-term trend towards equalization. Consider that it was less than 100 years ago that women were first allowed to vote provincially (1918). …to be considered “persons” (1929). …granted full suffrage (1950). NB: While women enjoy comparatively equal rights in Canada, the situation is much worse in several countries. There is limited or no suffrage in Brunei, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. GENDER EQUITY What are (some) of the causes of gender inequality? Media stereotypes regarding gender roles. Patriarchal political and cultural systems. Family socialization. Girls are statistically likely to experience more physical contact, more talking, and less independence. Education systems which encourage gender stereotypes. GENDER EQUITY Curricular supports for teaching gender equity Included as part of the concerns for Active Democratic Citizenship in Canada, in the Social Studies curriculum. 4-KC-002: Identify democratic ideals in Canadian society. (Examples: equality, freedom…) 6-KP-054: Identify factors that contribute to inequalities in Canada and propose solutions. (Examples: poverty, racism, sexism…) 7-KI-008: Describe the influence of various factors on personal identity. (Examples: gender and gender images…) 7/8-S-105: Recognize bias and discrimination and propose solutions. GENDER EQUITY Ideas for the classroom Historical study on significant events in the equalization of gender rights. Discussion of continuing inequalities. Collaborate on classroom rules to ensure equality. Mixed-gender table groups to help all voices be heard. Design/decorate classroom to reflect interests of all students. Encourage gender-neutral language, discourage assumptions about gender and academic abilities. Consider rights (ideals/actualized) from John Rawls’ perspective. (Activity) Dramatize how life would be different if certain rights were unequally held. (Activity) GENDER EQUITY Activity! GENDER EQUITY •Break into groups of four •A member of our group will go around and pass out a post-it note to each student GENDER EQUITY First Round: •Each group is assigned 12 jumping jacks •Talk amongst yourselves and decide how many jumping jacks each member of your group will perform GENDER EQUITY 2nd Round •Only those members with a blue post-it note will be allowed to decide who in the group does jumping jacks and how many GENDER EQUITY 3rd Round •Only the guys get to pick who does the jumping jacks and how many GENDER EQUITY Possible Variations •Using forms of reinforcement for the students •Using different criteria to decide who chooses the reinforcement •What are some other ways to modify this activity?