Italy - Siena Province
The municipalities in the province of Siena carried out activities to prevent gender based stereotypes in schools.
The aim of these initiatives is to encourage children to question existing stereotypes that appear in their surroundings, especially in media, in books or in toys and to promote equal opportunities for girls and boys. More generally, combatting gender stereotypes allows future adults, both young men and women, to be more equal in the distribution of domestic tasks and more open towards different career possibilities.
An example of an initiative is the three stage approach implemented in the community of municipalities Valdichiana:
1. Analyze children’s perception of stereotypes
The first step was to analyze the perception of stereotypes among children by giving them a questionnaire on “the gender of professions” (including questions on different professions such as lawyer, nurse or fireman and if the children consider these as professions for men or for women?)
2. Promote acceptance by changing stereotyped images
The second step aimed to introduce the topic of diversity and acceptance beyond stereotypes by using “flashcards” presenting men and women in domestic situations that do not correspond to the traditional gender roles (a man taking care of children or cooking while a woman is outside leaving for work for example). After showing the pictures, the children were asked to make up stories to explain the images.
3. Reversing the roles
The third phase invited the children to practically apply non-stereotypical features by playing.
Six similar projects have been implemented in the province, local associations have actively mobilized to participate in the campaign and join the fight against inequalities based on gender.