Stereotyped notions about what is right for boys or girls can restrict children's opportunities to learn and progress. Teachers must assist in developing an environment which nurtures students to consider themselves as individuals, instead of reducing their choices through a gender bias.
From a cultural perspective, exposure of students to attitudes that tell them who they are and what identities they must adopt. However, several of these influences could have a negative impact and can severely block opportunities to learn. Schools are the center for learning, and so teachers must play a vital role in overcoming stereotypes to ensure their students' experience of growing up are free from any bias or discrimination.
Promoting gender equality in education is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders, and schools can support inclusion by challenging stereotypes and establishing an environment of support where gender diversity is normalized.
Create role models
Providing children with real-life examples that challenge stereotypes would be helpful.
Make use of books
Review the books available to the students in a classroom. Are there any examples of working women, caring fathers, etc.? Teachers must cautiously choose books that would challenge stereotypes.
Using inclusive language
Small modifications such as saying "students/children" instead of "girls and boys" can assist in affirming the things that we have in common instead of the differences.
Schools must train staff on gender terminology and gender basics — organizing programs to discuss how to develop gender-inclusive classrooms would be useful.
A Culture Shift
School policies can have a profound impact on students. Schools must review their systems to be gender-neutral.
Create a safe space
Students learning in a safe and secure environment perform well. A school that promotes diversity would support differences and reassure students.
Changes in society
Combating gender stereotypes must not be centered only on the education system without considering its relationship with the society that creates it. Public policies for gender equality must adopt a systemic approach toward inequality. The foundation for gender mainstreaming in the education system must be a long-term vision of education.
Role of Preschool teachers
Several studies indicate that the concept of gender in children forms between the ages of 3 and 7. By this age range, children gain strong gender biases. Overall, there is a significant impact on children's future life path. Rigid attitudes towards gender norms severely restrict student's opportunity to do justice to their full potential.
There is a sense of urgency to work on gender at a very early phase. Preschool teachers can overcome gender stereotypes. Teachers must be aware of and address their own gender biases before they play a vital role in challenging gender stereotypes in the classroom.