Gender Stereotyping Competition

Gender Stereotypes – are they fair?

Competition is open for submissions now! Please apply via the link in the menu to the left.

Imagine a girl; imagine a boy. What do your images look like? Most people will have quite distinct ideas about these two imagined people. What things might they like to do, how might they behave and what they might like to be when they are older? These ideas are based on gender stereotypes.

Gender stereotypes are generalisations that assume all girls have certain characteristics and all boys have certain, different, characteristics. Whilst sometimes people fit their gender stereotype, not everyone does. Having these images fixed in our minds can mean we judge a person’s behaviour, interests, choices and expectations before we even know them. Typical gender stereotypes put men (and boys) and women (and girls) into two distinct boxes:

Women / Girls

Men / Boys







Hard working











Not nurturing


We see these roles reinforced on tv, in films, books and adverts. Women are rarely shown in leadership or independent roles, and men are rarely portrayed as caring or communicative. Recently toy, book and clothing manufacturers have been criticised for marketing products to only girls or only boys.

This competition asks pupils to think about these stereotypes. Are they aware of them? Do they agree with them? Do they think they are fair? Do they affect the toys they play with? The books they read? The jobs they want to have? We would like pupils to investigate their own experiences of gender stereotyping and to create a response to the question “gender stereotypes – are they fair?”

What to do

We are encouraging pupils to investigate their exposure to gender stereotypes, decide whether they are affected by them and to form a response in a creative and interesting way. Some possible approaches might be (but are not limited to):

  • A poster raising awareness of the issue
  • A letter to a toy manufacturer explaining their thoughts on toy marketing
  • A story written with a counter-stereotypical message or characters
  • A product designed to appeal to all children/people.

Entries can be from an individual pupil but where possible we encourage team entries of up to four pupils. There is no limit to the number of entries per school. There are two age group categories (P1-3 and P4-7) but if a group spans these age groups, we will assess the entry as we see appropriate.

For the IOP photo competition on Gravity please go to

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