Bringing Gender Equality into the Classroom

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Nelson Mandela

Changing people’s attitude towards things takes time and patience, but even the smallest effort can make a profound difference. This has been proven by all the successful activists and campaigners throughout history. It is with this in mind that I began my gender equality campaign in my school on behalf of UNICEF Ireland. At the beginning of my campaign I was aware that gender equality and feminism were not popular or well understood topics amongst my peers at school, so I thought it only logical to base my campaign around educating people about those topics.

As my school is already involved in a lot of campaigns I found it hard to find people to help me with my gender equality project, so I ended up running the campaign by myself. However, this did not decrease my motivation at all. After some brainstorming I came up with a plan for a 40 minute workshop to be done in each of the second year SPHE classes. I chose to work with that year group because I feel that they are at the age where gender based issues first begin to surface and really cause problems for people e.g. sexting, gender based stereotyping and bullying etc. I know this from my own experience when I was at that age (which is only two years ago, so it’s pretty fresh in my memory) and also from talking to people in my school who are at that age.

The workshop that I put together involved a 10-15 minute PowerPoint presentation, followed by showing Emma Watson’s speech at the launch of the HeForShe Campaign on YouTube. After that I did a Kahoot! Quiz that I made called “Gender Equality in Ireland” with each of the classes and the winner in each class got a chocolate bar to motivate everybody to participate. I finished each workshop with a round of questions and a class discussion on the topics covered in the workshop.

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