Gender equity for pre-schoolers

We are using the results of a six-month study into gender stereotypes and respectful relationships at one of our children’s centres to shape our approach to early learning.

Dr Kylie Smith from the University of Melbourne led the research, which aimed to positively influence knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to promote gender equity and prevent violence against women.

‘I was excited that educators and families were interested and wanted to explore opportunities to support gender equity and could see how young children were beginning to develop bias,’ Kylie said.

‘When educators have access to knowledge and time and space to reflect and talk with each other they can create exciting possibilities for gender equality.’

The project team worked with parents, carers and educators to create resources that will help them challenge gender stereotypes and create a more equitable world for children.

Practical tips for the home include modelling equal distribution of household chores, encouraging children to play with a broad range of toys and equipment, and having conversations about gender stereotypes and fairness at story time.

You can find links to more resources on our website.

‘It takes time for adults and children to identify their own biases, develop skills, relationships and confidence to challenge bias and create different possibilities,’ Kylie said.

‘My hope is that all early learning environments in Melbourne have access to training, resources and mentoring to implement gender equity teaching that prevents gender bias and violence.’

To find out more, visit respect and equity.