Challenging gender stereotypes

April 26 2014

EDUCATING youngsters on sexism in society is a top priority for a group of Bishopston residents.

April 26 2014

EDUCATING youngsters on sexism in society is a top priority for a group of Bishopston residents.
By engaging with teenagers through workshops, TIGER (Teaching Individuals Gender Equality and Respect) aims to challenge sexist bullying, gender stereotypes and negative images of men and women in the media.
The workers co-operative group was founded in the latter part of 2012 by Natalie Bennett, who felt that young people were particularly susceptible to negative portrayals of men and women.
The team of five, three of which live in St Andrews, have worked in partnership with established charities such as EACH (Educational Action Challenging Homophobia) and Envision - a group aiming to challenge the stereotype of ‘the youth’ as apathetic and disengaged, as part of the government funded National Citizen Service scheme.
The group has recently been working with several Bristol schools, including City Academy in Redfield, aiming to help them comply with the Equality Act 2010.
Alex Greenwood, who is a part of the workers co-op, said: "The response has been really positive so far. Not many of [the youth] we have worked with have questioned how the media portrays men and women before, so it's been very satisfying that we have been able to make them question what they see in the media, to have debate, and to create conclusions.
"Next time they see an advert or watch a music video, they will question how men are women are represented."
Blurred Lines - a song by Robin Thicke, regularly played on music channels, and the radio - is a particular example of how women are portrayed negatively through sexist imagery, says Alex.
Inspired by initiatives such as the Everyday Sexism Project, TIGER believes that sexism in the media has proved detrimental to both women and men in everyday life.
There is still a significant gender pay gap, with a TUC analysis of official figures confirming women working full-time earn almost £5,000 a year less than men. Female representation on the cabinet is also low, with only three out of 27 being women. Also, up to three million women each year, across the UK, experience gender-related violence.
The group also recognises how suicide rates in men have increased, as has the number of men diagnosed with eating disorders.
TIGER hopes to generate more funding for the project, and aims to work with more schools across Bristol, promoting equality and anti-bullying.
To find out more about TIGER, visit: www.facebook.com/tigerbristol.

Challenging gender stereotypes