The system – who does it work for?

Inclusive teaching for 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

Objective: To consider whether anyone benefits from gender roles.


  • PowerPoint
  • Challenging Stereotypes animation
  • laptops/computers for research
  • resources for presentations


Create or refer to your working agreement. Set this out at the beginning to agree behaviour and language expectations (see Teacher Notes).


  1. Watch the Challenging Stereotypes animation. Go back to 00:53, play and stop at 01:12.
  2. Slide 3: Reiterate the phrase they’ve just heard: ‘There’s no way of telling whether this is a male brain or a female brain. The only big difference is in how individual brains work. So, who does this system work for? Men might get paid more than women for doing the same job, but the fact that men die younger suggests that there aren’t really any winners…’
  3. Slide 4: Ask students:
    • What do you think about this statement? Why are women often paid less? What effect might childcare and other caring responsibilities have?
    • Can you think of any reasons why men on the whole die younger? How about working conditions, and mental health? Do you know of any other gender related facts?
    • Have you heard any discussions about other related issues?


  1. Explain to students that they are going to do some research, taking a look behind this phrase, to consider whether anyone benefits from gender roles.
  2. Students divide into pairs/groups to undertake research, focusing either on employment and the gender pay gap or men dying younger.
  3. Pairs/groups report back in whatever style is suitable for your cohort e.g. presentation, film, blog or vlog, a piece of art or poster etc. Have all the resources required available so the research task remains the focus.
  4. Allow time for everyone to feed back and share their findings and thoughts with the class. Take note of any relevant points on a flipchart or whiteboard to aid future learning/assessment.


  1. Allow time for students to reflect and consider what they have learnt in view of their research. Discuss in groups and/or as a whole class asking:
    • What have you learnt from doing this research?
    • Do gender roles really benefit anyone in society? If so, how and why?
  2. Remind students that if they feel uncomfortable about anything raised in this session they should talk to an adult they trust. (Parents/carers, other school staff or maybe ChildLine who are open 24/7 for everyone up to the age of 19 on chat, text or call).

Extension Ideas

  • Discussion/activity: How can they personally challenge stereotypes to find the right path for them, now and in the future?
  • Activity/homework: Research other areas of life that are affected by gender stereotypes e.g. career choices.
  • Debate: Having learnt the correct rules and etiquette of debating, students put forward a motion related to the objective and challenge the two differing perspectives of this motion in a class debate.
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