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Did you say Gender?

Thanks to two animations, you will allow participants to dissociate, on the one hand, the biological characteristics linked to a person’s gender and, on the other hand, the social representations associated with them.

Content description

To facilitate the appropriation of the concept of gender, it is important to understand the difference between the biological characteristics specific to an individual’s sex and the economic, social and cultural attributes associated with being male or female.

Two animations exist concerning this workshop, one works in the form of drawn representations of the body and the other is interested in social situations.

Drawing a man and a woman

1/ Invite participants to form sub-groups of about five people.

2/ On a piece of paper, ask them to draw their own representation of the silhouette of a man’s and of a woman’s body, highlighting what they consider to be the physical attributes of men and women. The objective is for the group to agree on the characteristics of each silhouette.

3/ To take it one step further: have participants indicate around the silhouettes the behaviours, values, attitudes and abilities that would seem to correspond to the gender of the silhouette.

4/ Once the silhouettes have been drawn and the indications written down, start the discussion. One after the other, the sub-groups present their production to the audience, explaining the arguments that have been written down.

5/ ln order to highlight the differences between the two silhouettes, the facilitator lists the elements of each restitution in a table that clearly distinguishes between biological characteristics (sex) and social constructs (gender).

Gender roles

1/ Provide each participant in pairs with a set of picture cards (that you will have created) representing roles or activities that are said to be feminine and others that are said to be masculine (examples: motherhood, bringing up children, wearing jewellery, using weapons, driving a lorry, wearing a beard, using a computer, reading books, handling tools...).

2/ Each pair is asked to separate, in a first heap, the activities associated with the female sex and, in a second heap, with the male sex. If some images are common to both sexes, encourage the creation of another «mixed» pile.

3/ Ask participants to posttheir cards on a wallon which two post-it notes have been placed to symbolize two columns: one for the male activities, «Men», and the second for the female activities, «Women».
As for the mixed activities, they can be in another row below the two columns.

4/ Then, give participants the opportunity to justify their choice of sorting and display. Each pair can then express their arguments for the types of cards.

2° option: If I were born a different sex

The principle of this workshop is to find out what would have changed in a participant’s lite if he or she had been born the opposite sex.

lt is possible to do this workshop in groups or individually. Simply ask the participants to project themselves into the lite they would have had if they were born male or female.

After a short period of reflection, propose to collect the ideas and fill in a table together, as in the example below.

What is the final word

To get started on the analysis, following either version, suggest imagining that the attributions are exchanged. lnvert the «Men» and «Women» post-it notes in the columns on the wall.
ln this new configuration, ask the participants: Can a man have this raie? Can he do this task? For example: /s it possible for a man ta wear earrings? Can a woman drive a truck?
When roles cannot be reversed, such as in motherhood, mark the card for this activity with a cross.

To conclude, encourage the audience to ask why certain roles cannot be reversed at ail.

Explain that for cards that can only be performed by one sex, the inability of the other sexto perform the role is related solely to biological reasons. Ali other activities that can be performed by both sexes depend only on social constructions,and therefore on gender, and take the form of representations.

Goal: to avoid confusion between sex and gender and to become aware of the cultural, social and historical construction behind this concept.


Priority 2


Acting Towards Empowerment
Acting Towards Empowerment