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 STOKE-ON-TRENT, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS, SOUTH CHESHIRE

Congleton White Ribbon Ambassadors visited Astbury St Mary’s C of E Primary School



Congleton Town Council’s White Ribbon Ambassadors visited Astbury St Mary’s C of EPrimary School recently to talk about gender equality, showing respect to everyone, and challenging unhelpful gender stereotypes.

Years five and six took part in the sessions which were led by White Ribbon Ambassadors Jonathan Dakin and Yacob Cajee.

White Ribbon engages men and boys, in particular, to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that lead to men’s violence against women. The White Ribbon charity provides age-appropriate materials to help with discussions at all ages that will promote equality and help young people to challenge unacceptable attitudes and behaviour.

The class learned that 85% of Hollywood film directors and 76% of computer games developers are men, and this leads to stories and dialogue dominated by male characters, although girls enjoy movies and games as much as boys.

These and other influences can lead to perceptions about what girls and boys are supposed to be like, in other words, gender stereotypes.

Mr Dakin told the class ‘Harmful gender stereotypes can prevent people from being themselves, doing the things they love and reaching their potential. We should all feel free to choose how we behave, dress and speak, what our hobbies are and what jobs we want to do.’  

The talk included a number of ‘text messages’ and things that friends might say, and asked the youngsters to write ‘responses’ to these that challenge assumptions and unconscious bias, for example about girls playing football or boys showing their emotions.

Teacher Brogan Sambrook said: “Class Jacob at Astbury St Mary's enjoyed learning about gender stereotypes and how to challenge these in a respectful way. The session opened up some interesting and engaging discussion and inspired pupils just ahead of International Women’s Day.”

Mr Dakin continued: “We were very happy to discover that the young people in the group had lots of ideas for challenging stereotypes and supporting each other. They finished the session by promising to continue to do this in school, as I am sure they will.”

Congleton Town Council is a White Ribbon Accredited organisation whose ambition is to eradicate men’s violence against women and all gender-based violence in Congleton. The White Ribbon Group consists of Town Councillors, Council Officers, and volunteers from the community who are all White Ribbon Ambassadors or Champions.

If any schools or youth organisations would like a session with the White Ribbon team, please contact info@congleton-tc.gov.uk and a member of the group will get in touch.

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