ACTIVITY: 2. Are You Acting Like a Man or a Woman
TIME: 55 to 100 minutes
SUBJECTS: Life Skills, Career Awareness
This activity is designed to help students understand gender roles and expectations that are learned in our society. This is a useful introductory activity on gender roles as related to career and class choices.
To understand and analyze gender role stereotyping and origins.
To examine the effects of gender role stereotyping on career choices for both males and females.
To provide encouragement to those students who are contemplating or have chosen "nontraditional" courses or careers.
Long Term :
To challenge and minimize and/or eliminate stereotypical perceptions and actions towards the "other" gender.
To accept and support those career and life choices made by peers, even if they may challenge gender role stereotypes.
Large sheets of paper divided into three sections.
1. Divide students into small groups no larger than 6 students. Groups can be gender same or mixed groups.
2. Give each group the piece of paper divided into three columns. On the top of the middle column either write Act Like A Man or Act Like A Woman. Ask students to make a list of what it means to act like a man or woman in this column. Each group will have a different heading.
3. On the left column, ask students to write down what people might "say" or "do" if someone does not act like a man or woman as defined in the middle column. This portion of the activity can generate a lively and graphic use of words and discussion.
Remind students to be respectful.
Some instructors may want to set ground rules around language usage.
4. Divide the right column in half and ask students to list the jobs one would choose if they acted like the descriptions listed in the middle column.
For example, the "traditional" female role and career choice might not include welder, construction worker..., a "traditional" male role and career choice might not include elementary teacher, nurse...
5. Hang up the lists for students to view and contemplate. Ask each group to make a few comments about their lists.
6. Assist students with analyzing these lists. Possible questions for discussion include:
How and where do we learn our perception of male and female roles?
Do these roles and descriptions limit or enhance us in life choices?
Have you or someone you know ever acted differently from how your gender is "supposed" to act?
Have you or someone you know ever stood up for a person who challenged the gender stereotypes?
What other conclusions/statements do you have about this topic?
Assess the overall work of the group including: contribution, discussion, and analysis.
Use a rubric to evaluate the subjective aspects of this activity.