Gender and relationships


Our assumptions about gender roles can lead to inequality and disrespect. Gender stereotypes can put pressure on us to behave in a certain way. But you have a choice. We can challenge these stereotypes by asking: how can we treat each other as equals? How can I be respectful?

Read some of the stories below, and ask yourself how gender stereotypes are influencing the people involved – how could they challenge these stereotypes?

Story One

Travis has been planning on asking Michelle out, Michelle got in first and asked him to a movie. Travis really wants to go out with her but he wanted to be the one doing the asking so instead of saying yes, he makes up an excuse and says no so he can ask her out himself.

What does Travis believe?

Travis’ ideas of gender norms means that he thinks men should always ask women out, and not the other way around. Is this true? Is there any reason why women can’t ask men out? What are some of the assumptions Travis is making about gender?

Story Two

Sumita has four brothers. Although Sumita is given the same amount of pocket money from their parents as her brothers, she is expected to do most of the chores while her brothers play sport and hang out with their friends. When she tries to talk to her family about it, they tell her that housework is women’s work.

What does Sumita’s family believe?

Sumita’s family are basing their ideas about housework on gender stereotypes that say that women should do domestic chores. Is there any reason why Sumita’s brothers can’t help out around the house? What are the assumptions Sumita’s parents are making about gender?

Story Three

Kelly has been offered a plumbing apprenticeship and she is really excited. She rushes to tell her boyfriend John, but he isn’t very happy and says he doesn’t want his girlfriend being a plumber.

What does John believe?

John thinks that only men should be plumbers, because he is basing his ideas around working and jobs on gender stereotypes. Is there any reason why Kelly can’t be a plumber? What are the assumptions John is making about gender?