PODCAST CHECK "Even the best schools aren't immune from gender bias" with Ms. Caren Gestetner
We are here with our third podcast check. This time it is about gender stereotypes that exist in our society. We have chosen to hear and review the podcast from TES Podagogy series - Season 8, Episode 2, “Even the best schools aren't immune from gender bias” with Ms. Caren Gestetner. Ms. Caren has a masters degree in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, with a focus on the field of gender in education. She is the founder of Lifting limits, where she along with her group work with primary schools, address gendered stereotyping, conduct workshops with pupils, make presentations to staff, provide resources and carry out gender audits of the school environment and curriculum.
This podcast, (along with numerous others) can be accessed for free on the Tes website. There is also a transcript report available on the website which is helpful to have a quick glance at what are the main topics discussed. At times, the website does not support the podcast player on laptops and PC's but go ahead and try your luck with some other browser. However, it works seamlessly on smartphones and iPads. The good feature about this player is that you can continue to listen to the podcast on the background while you work on other things, and you can adjust the speed according to your convenience.
Umsetzung und Persönlicher Eindruck
The topic of the podcast is very interesting. Ms. Caren talks about some subtle remarks that we make at children; where we are unknowingly discriminating them based on gender. Parents, teachers, and the whole schooling system brings out this discrimination rather unknowingly. We come to realize that we most often appreciate a girl child for how well dressed she is, or how beautiful her hair looks, while we compliment a boy for how strong he is. It is also not uncommon where one tells a boy not to cry, because it is unmanly. She goes on to explain how these remarks and comments play a major role in shaping the mindset of children, which further influences their career paths!
Teachers and schools play a major role in shaping the thinking of children. When asked a teacher about who is the best in sports, one immediately recollects only one section of the class – the boys. Similarly, a teacher usually cites the name of a girl student when asked about creativity and arts. These have become involuntary stereotypes, which are being passed on to students from a very young age. School curriculums have topics designed in a way where boys conceive themselves as the more powerful and strong, while the girl as caring, nurturing and more fragile. These are put forth in the form of stories like a working husband, a caring wife, a disobedient and stubborn brother, and a loving sister. I’m sure one notices the hypocrisy and prejudice in the use of adjectives. Of course, these lead to girls choosing a career which they believe is more suitable for them – like arts and history, while the boys choose science, sports and mathematics. Are these conscious choices or have they been conditioned to think this way?
Ms. Caren also talks about interesting experiments conducted with primary school kids. She explains how children were conditioned to think that dolls more associated to the girls. But the percentage of children who said that it was for both girls and boys grew at the end of the experimentation. This is a behavioral example as to how we condition our children to think.
Through this podcast, Ms. Caren brings out various contrasting gender stereotype that we fail to notice that it exists. She has a wonderful voice and a clear diction which makes the podcast easy to understand. I would however like the podcast to be tweaked for the high pitches to make the hearing experience with the headphone more comfortable.
In conclusion, this is a very thoughtful and gripping podcast that brings out various facets of gender stereotyping among children. It is suitable for all age groups, and is very thought provoking.
Food for thought: Given that humans are sexually dimorphic species, is gender difference natural and inherent? Is it a difference or discrimination? That's debatable. But Ms. Caren brings out her thoughts very strongly and keeps you captivated until the end.