Gender Sensitivity

                         Gender Sensitivity                                                                                         Gender sensitization of teachers in order to reduce barrier for girls and boys in primary education in Pakistan

                                Session Objects

By the end of session, students will be able to:
  • Explain the concept of gender, gender issues and gender sensitivity, and will be able to develop a strategy to overcome these issues in school.
  • Understand the different attributes of boys and girls and the importance of addressing these attributes.
  • Devise such activities in which boys as well as girls can be equally included.
  • Realize that the performance of both girls and boys is equally important from social and economic perspectives.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the importance of gender neutral language and stereotyping roles.
  • Familiarize with the leadership qualities essential for bringing attitudinal change in the society.
  • Devise strategies to address gender inequality issues, for local level implementation of gender concepts.
  • Develop their understanding such a way that both boys and girls physically and mentally can do everything almost equally.

                                       Key terms

·      Sex:

Sex refers to the biological characteristics/differences between male and female that we are born with.

·       Gender:

Socially constructed role of man and woman in any society.

·       Gender Equity:

The process of being fair to men and women such as equitable allocation of resources and opportunities. Equity can be seen to be the means of attaining gender equality. Equity contributes to equality. i. e. working mothers need day care center at their work place to fulfill their responsibility of motherhood and work.

·       Gender Equity:

Means provision of equal opportunities in all spheres of life for men and women. For example a legislation for mandatory education of all girls and boys in primary education.

National and international commitments regarding gender:

1.       Gender equality is a burning issue of the global world. Pakistan committed to attain the gender equality in different fields of life in many national and international forums.
2.       In the world education forum at Dakar 2000. Pakistan committed that by 2015 all children, especially girls, would have access to free, compulsory primary education of good quality.
3.       In education for All (EFA) conferences in 1990 and 1993, Pakistan committed for gender equality in education.
4.       The ministry of education has a special desk for gender in the EFA wing to facilitate different gender activities.
5.       In universal Primary Education (UPE) Pakistan committed to achieve gender equality by 2015.
6.       In the Convention on the Elimination of all Forums of the Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Pakistan committed to achieve gender equality.
7.       In national education policies, the National Policy on Women empowerment to shows Pakistan’s commitment to gender equality.
8.       Women protection Bill 2016 regards to protect sensivity of women

                  Attributes of Men and Women

Ask about the attributes of men and women, and then show this slide, revert the attributes  with each other. The idea is to give a clear concept of gender, sex and gender stereotype.

             Men               Women
             Fearless              Weak
                Smoke                 Beautiful
          Physical Strong   Short
                    Grow beard         Bear children
                  Economically      Economically
              Independent        Dependent
         Tall                       Long hair
            Short hair              Breast feed
Aggressive            Cook
   Adventures            Caring
       Loud and forceful  Obedient
             Hard-hearted         Compromising

                                     Gender issues

There are multiple gender issues in our society, for example:

                       Invisibility of women’s contribution

Women and men have multiple roles that have to be recognized, otherwise one of will become invisible and undervalued. Housewives do a lot of work at home but the society does not recognize or value it

                  Unequal burden of work for either gender

Women and men have different needs and priorities due to their different status and roles in society. Unless the needs and priorities of both are addressed, there will be an imbalance of burden. For example, being a teacher, a woman has to fulfill her responsibility but society does not give her credit for this.

Unequal access to and control over resources gender issues also arise when one gender has a great access to resources including education, land, skill training, credit, health, and income                                                     Gender stereotype                                                                                                                                                          Members of our society carry stereotypes with regards to what is considered appropriate behavior for boys and girls (Gibbs, 2001).

Boys are expected to be more aggressive and aggressive behavior is discovered in academic settings.

                                  Female Socialization

Girls are generally encouraged to be more passive. Consequently, they don’t participate in class with as much ease and confidence as many of their male peers

                               Lack of Awareness of the Issue

While most teacher education programs provide training on diversity, learning disabilities, discipline, etc. they don’t provide an instruction that addresses gender issues in the classroom.

                              Gender Sensitivity

Proper awareness of the different needs, roles, responsibilities of men and women e. g. provision of adequate and separate toilets at schools.

                         Gender Responsiveness:

Create awareness of gender concepts, disparities and their causes, and take action to address and overcome gender-based inequalities e.g. provision of integrated health services i. e. services for children, pregnant women and other ailments at same service points on same day.


A project invested in Girls schools, as government schools for boys already exist in their target areas. Over a period of five years they established and maintained ten high standard private schools for girls, when the project was evaluated – as expected – literacy levels for women showed marked improvement. In most areas girls were better educated than boys. A concerning by product was that there was a large number of single women than ever before. Further inquires found that educated girls found it difficult to obtain marriage proposals local boys.

                         Gender Blindness:

Lack of awareness of gender concepts and its impact on the life girls and boys, men and women
The education policy in a certain province requires that land for schools br provided bt the community.
Normally groups which donate land are relatively better off and send their children to private schools. The land donated is least valuable and often located at a distance from the village. Although boys have little difficulty, accessing these schools, that are deemed inaccessible and unsafe for young girls who are consequently not allowed to go to school.

                     Gender sensitive attitudes result in:

Women and men’s similarities and differences are recognized and equally valued.
Men and women enjoy equal status, recognition and consideration.
Equal conditions are created to realize their full potential and ambitions.
Equal opportunities to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from society’s resources and development.
Equal   freedom and quality of life.
Equal   outcomes in all aspects of life.

                      Language related to Gender Roles

Language is very important in the delivery of gender concepts.
Example, Urdu translation of:
The doctor is coming
The nurse is coming

Gender Noun                  Gender Neutral

Man                                  Person, Individual


Mankind                           People, Human beings, Humanity


Man made                        Machine made


Common man                   Ordinary Person


To man                             To staff


Chairman                          Chair person


Mailman                            Postal worker


Police man                        Police Officer


Steward, stewardess        Flight attendance
          Leadership qualities for attitudinal change:
In old times teachers were leaders, advisers to kings, and philosophers. For example, Aristotle, Socrates, and  Ibn-e- Batuta. Their memories are alive through their students, who quote them.
Fatima Jinah


We still quotes these great teachers. Teachers have the power to bring about change. They shape young minds. They have the chance to be immortal through the memories of their students. However, not all teachers are motivated.
They can motivate their students through vision. A teacher must have the vision to visualize the change students can make to the future world. A vision to produce good person, both girls and boys, who will contribute to the society both positively and economically
This vision empowers the teacher to change attitudes not only in the class room but also in the community to promote gender equality and fairness for both girls and boys.

                  Guidelines for Teachers:

(a)    Check to see if textbooks and other materials you are using present an honest view of the options open to both males and females. Are both males and females portrayed in traditional and nontraditional roles at work, at leisure, and at home? Discuss your analyses with students, and ask them to help you find sex role biases in other materials, for example, magazine advertising, TV progrms, and news reporting.
(b)   Watch for any unintended biases in your own classroom practices. Do you group students in accordance to sex for certain activities? Is the grouping appropriate? Do you call on one sex or the other for certain answers, for example boys for math and girls for poetry?
(c)    Look for ways in which your school may be limiting the options open to male or female students. What advice is given by guidance counselors to students in course and career decisions? Is there a good sports program for both girls and boys?
(d)   Use gender-free language as much as possible. Do you speak of “law-enforcement officer” and “mailman”? do you name a committee “head” instead of a “chairman”?

                   Show fairness in your classroom

Within the first 10 minutes after walking into your classroom, students and other guests absorb hundreds of signals from you. Take a close look at the posters and other displays you use to decorate the room. Do they depict both males and females engaged in similar activities without stereotypes and biases?

                        Select a variety of books

Carefully consider the kinds of books you introduce to your students. Stories that depict males and females in traditional stereotypical roles may perpetuate biases.
Choose your words carefully “boys will be boys” is one of the most harmful phrases uttered by adults in school hallways. Don’t allow yourself to accept this traditional notion. Make it your responsibility to correct students’ speech or actions when it borders on discrimination or bias. All students come into your classroom with preconceived notions. Accept them to learn new behaviors. In addition, remember to use “he” and “she” interchangeably in conversation. As a role model for young adults, the words you choose have a lasting effect on the school’s climate.

                        Encourage non-traditional courses

When a school doesn’t allow a girl to participate in a male-dominated sport or tells a boy cosmetology is not for him, it reinforce traditional stereotypes, allow your students to choose the courses they want to take. Moreover, support those students who choose non-traditional courses and encourage them to consider non-traditional careers. Ask your principal to create peer support groups for students enrolled in and considering enrollment in non-traditional classes.

          Organizations that develop the mindset regarding gender:

                 Ask questions regarding the mindset, then show slides.











 Use of gender lens to observe activities of school:

Ask a teacher after having understood the basic gender concepts, how she will use these concepts while teaching in the classroom:

               Common observations:

Teacher have not exhibited the most respectable track record when it comes to their behaviors towards male and female students,. Numerous studies have shown that
  1. Boys get teachers attention by being straightforward and unreserved.
  2. Teachers praise boys more often.
  3. Boys receive more academic help.
  4. Teachers are more likely to accept boys’ ideas or opinions during classroom discussion.


They are equally supportive of boys and girls in education. They equally value male and female teachers.






Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that gender issues are prevalent in our schools. The beginning of a new school year gives us an opportunity to observe our behaviors and make adjustment to wipe out any gender biases we might unconsciously exhibit.
When preparing for a new school year, we should follow these guidelines to increase gender equity in our classroom and throughout our campus.
Close enough for all boys and girls school age students. Safe from any discrimination and sexual harassment.
  • Separate latrines and resting areas
  • Proper boundary wall in the female schools.


  • A balance of reflection of the lives of boys and girls.
  • Promote peace and equality regardless of their race, class, cast, and religious background.
  • Co-curriculum activities should be made equally attractive for boys and g





Head teacher should treat male and female teachers equally.
Female teacher for girls and male teacher for boys can be role models.
Value the view of boys and girls equally.
Encourage boys and girls to speak and contribute equally.
Create a gender friendly culture in curricular and co-curricular activities.


Should feel  confident in making subject choices.
Equal  achievement  of boys and girls in every activity of the school.
Equal opportunity for discussion and expression to both male and female students.
Group work should encouraged both male and female students.

          Review / Remarks

        How do you explain this

Case study:

A father once drove to a football match with his son. The car broke down in the middle of a railway crossing. The father and son could hear the train whistling in the distance. And the father desperately tried to start the car but could not. The approaching train hit the car.
An ambulance rushed to the scene of the accident and picked up the father and the son. The father died on the way to the hospital. The son was still alive but in such critical condition that he required immediate surgery. Upon his arrival at the hospital the son was taken to the operating theatre. The doctors came and shockingly the surgeon said “I can’t operate this is my son”.


A surgeon can be a mother, because of stereotyped thinking patterns, our mind does not think of the other side of the picture.


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