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Avoiding Gender Stereotypes
 Authors: Jodi Putnam with Judith A. Myers-Walls and Dee Love

Young children believe they can be anything and can do anything. But gender stereotypes limit their dreams and experiences. If a child enjoys doing something that is different from the usual, that child might feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. That child might feel that there is something wrong with him or her. This has been a special problem for girls in math and science.  Childcare providers can help children do many things, though. Providers can also help parents to develop attitudes and think about activities that are not limited by gender.

To help children develop healthy attitudes about gender:
     • Be careful when you talk about a child’s gender. Do not place negative meanings on it. For example, avoid saying,
       “You’re just a girl, let me do that for you” or “Big boys don’t cry.”
     • Let children develop many different skills and interests. Do not assume that girls like only “girl things” and that boys like
       only “boy things.”
     • Let both girls and boys try all activities. Let boys play things like dress-up, house, dolls, and arts and crafts activities.
       Let girls play things like sports, trucks, and large motor games.
     • Provide toys and activities that both boys and girls will like. Encourage boys and girls to play with things together.
     • Help children respect boys and girls. When children make comments such as “Girls don’t play with trucks!” explain to
       them that boys and girls can do many of the same things.


  Children as boys or girls

Go to:  • Dealing with difficult gender issues
           • Influences on children's gender development
           • Tips
           • Learning activities
           • Resources

 


For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at jmyerswa@purdue.edu

Please feel free to link to, print off, redistribute, or reprint
  any of these materials as long as the original credits remain intact.

Parent-Provider Relationships | Supporting Parents | Child Growth & Development | Guidance & Discipline
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