Challenging Gender Stereotypes: A Guide for Parents on International Women's Day

The date is marked on the calendar – International Women’s Day is here, and you may be pondering on how to raise a generation that questions gender stereotypes and values equality. For parents, this day is more than just a celebration; it's a call to action, an opportunity to engage our children with powerful messages that shape their understanding of gender roles and biases.

At Kids Konnect, we create environments for all children to learn, grow and thrive, but sometimes that isn't enough. That's why we incorporate activities and discussions into our curriculum that promote diversity, inclusivity, and empathy.

In celebration of International Women's Day, here are some ideas on how to ensure your child can recognize and challenge gender stereotypes.

When is International Women's Day?

International Women's Day is celebrated around the world on March 8 every year.  With a rich history rooted in the early 20th century labor movements and calls for women's rights, International Women's Day commemorates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide while highlighting the ongoing fight for gender equality.

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1. Encourage Open Conversations

Bias is instilled in our children as they grow up experiencing the world around them, being influenced by friends, family, media and just about anything. This can happen without the grownups in the home even realizing. A good place to start is to simply open up a discussion with your little ones. Let them explain their thinking and ask questions. They may even help you identify your biases!

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Discuss Notable Individuals 

Sit down with your child and discuss various individuals they may know - from superheroes to real-life champions - and ask them about the traits and skills they value in each.

  • What makes Spiderman a hero? Are these traits specific to boys?
  • Why do you admire Grandma? Can boys or girls cook as well as she does?
  • Name a situation where you helped someone today. Could both boys and girls do that?


Leading Questions

Pose a series of questions to stimulate thinking and open discussions:

  • Why do you think certain toys are for boys or for girls?
  • Can girls run as fast as boys?
  • Do you believe that girls are better at taking care of others than boys?

2. Embrace Diverse Role Models

It’s crucial for children to see a world where women undertake diverse roles. Parents can expand their children’s horizons by introducing them to various female leaders and personalities who excel in fields typically dominated by men. Perhaps they have a parent or family member who is a wonderful example of this and has an inspiring success story.

Tell Their Stories

Share stories of impactful women from all walks of life to inspire children with diverse narratives.

  • Mention the achievements of Malala Yousafzai in advocating for girls' education.
  • Highlight the work of Gitanjali Rao, a young female inventor and TIME’s Kid of the Year.
  • Talk about Michelle Obama, not just as a first lady but a lawyer, writer, and advocate for health and education.

At Kids Konnect, we love this activity on special days like International Women's Day. It's a fantastic way to get children excited about the positive qualities of a specific person without straight-up discussing girls Vs boys.


3. Role Play without Limitations

Encourage role play that crosses gender stereotypes, letting your children explore various personas. Through this, they learn that preferences and abilities aren’t dictated by gender and can take on any role they choose.

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Imaginative Play That Breaks Boundaries 

Engage with your child during playtime and break traditional role barriers.

  • If your son loves to cook, join him in the kitchen, praising his culinary talents.
  • If your daughter gravitates towards toy toolsets, engage her in building and fixing things.
  • Maybe it's the grownups turn to challenge gender stereotypes! Is Daddy a good ballerina?

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Take a look at this video, they explore gender stereotyping when it comes to children's toys! 


4. Celebrate Individuality 

Every child is unique and ensuring they appreciate this fact is essential. By focusing on individual interests and abilities, parents can help children understand that being themselves doesn’t restrict them to conforming to traditional gender roles.


Nurturing the Leaders of Tomorrow 

The effort to challenge gender stereotypes should not merely be a response to a day on the calendar. Rather, it must be an ongoing commitment to foster an environment that values everyone equally. Parents play a vital role in shaping their children's worldview, and by instilling these principles from an early age, we pave the way for a future where gender does not define your capabilities or opportunities.

This International Women's Day, as we commemorate the achievements and contributions of women, we also look to the future with the hope that these efforts will make a lasting impact on the perceptions of gender for generations to come.

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