• NEWSELA: resources for teachers / Studying Gender Stereotypes

    THANKS TO Isabelle Destat




    Note: In terms of content maturity and lesson rigor, this text set is intended for middle school students.  

    “Pink is for girls.”

    “Only boys like to watch football.”

    Children begin internalizing gender stereotypes like these at a young age, through watching TV or movies, looking at advertisements, and watching the adults around them. In this Text Set, students will look more closely at gender stereotypes and why they can cause problems for people of all genders. Students will also learn about kids and adults who are resisting gender stereotypes, and fighting for all kids to have the freedom to look, dress, and act however they want. Finally, students will complete a project asking them to analyze advertisements that contain gender stereotypes, then redesign these ads to make them more gender-inclusive.

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    Enduring Understandings

    What 2 - 3 understandings should students come away from this Text Set with?

    • Gender stereotypes are “rules” for girls and boys. They say that girls should always look and act a certain way, and boys should look and act a different way.
    • Often, gender stereotypes are especially unfair to girls. 
    • The media sends strong messages to all people --not just girls-- about how they should act based on their gender. 
    • All people have the power to resist gender stereotypes and choose to be themselves. 

    Activities Packet 

    Download this Student Activities Packet to give to your students. 

    The packet includes an overview and intro to the unit, activities for each step of the pathway, and a culminating project. Use the information below to learn more about how to use the packet with your class.

    Intro to the Unit for Students 


    Lesson 1: What Are Gender Stereotypes?

    Lesson Overview for Students

    As you learned in the introduction to this unit, gender stereotypes are specific ideas about how boys and girls should look, dress and act. Did you know that gender stereotypes can actually be dangerous to your health? In this article, you will learn about a study that revealed some interesting findings about how gender stereotypes affect kids. You will also consider how the article connects to your own experiences with gender stereotypes.   

    Central Article

    Kids learn gender stereotypes early

    Download Lesson 1 activity pages

    Lesson 2: Girls Like Sharks, Too

    Lesson Overview for Students

    Are boys really the only ones who are interested in sharks? The girls and women in this article don’t think so. In this lesson, you will consider how gender stereotypes exist in science, and how girls and women are working to resist these stereotypes.   

    Central Article

    Sharks aren't just for boys

    Download Lesson 2 activity pages

    Lesson 3: Gender and Clothing

    Lesson Overview for Students

    The phrase “gender neutral” refers to something that is for all people, and not just for boys or girls. You may have seen a gender-neutral bathroom before. This means that anyone can use the bathroom, no matter their gender. 

    In our society, there are lots of gender stereotypes around clothing. People have strong ideas about what clothes are right for girls and boys. However, clothing can be gender-neutral too. In this lesson, you’ll learn about how gender stereotypes can be applied to clothing, and how some people are resisting these stereotypes to give kids more freedom in how they dress. 

    Note: Students should begin this lesson by reading and viewing the images in the article below, and responding in their activity packet. 

    12 Brilliant Kids' Clothing Lines That Say No To Gender Stereotypes

    Central Article

    Gender-neutral uniforms

    Download Lesson 3 activity pages

    Extended Reading

    If students wish to do further research on this topic, the articles below offer more information on the concept of gender stereotypes in clothing. 

    Shoe style is unfair to girls

    High schooler wants to change dress code policy 

    New Zealand school uniforms are for boys and girls

    Lesson 4: Representation Matters

    Lesson Overview for Students

    When you watch TV, go to the movies, or see advertisements, do you see people who look like you? Do you think these people are good role models? In this lesson, you will think about why it’s important for all people to see themselves represented, or shown, in the world around them. You will also learn about girls and women who are fighting for more representation and better role models.   

    Note: Students should begin this lesson by watching the video below and responding in their activity packet. 

    GirlChat: Representation Matters

    Central Articles

    Girl scouts want park statues of women
    Superheroes for girls

    Download Lesson 4 activity pages


    Culminating Project

    Download Culminating Project and Rubric

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