Tackling Gender Stereotyping & Sexism
Ewell Castle School is committed to tackling gender stereotyping, sexism and sexual harassment
Our goal supports the following Department of Education 2016 stated aim "We believe in a whole school approach with prevention at its core, promoting an environment of inclusion and respect, where pupils and staff are educated and empowered to recognise and challenge abuse of any kind."
Gender Pronouns and why are they important
A gender pronoun is a pronoun that a person chooses to use for themselves. Depending on whether or not you use social media you may have started to see more users are adding their gender pronouns to their profile, email signatures, business cards and social feeds. The reason behind this is to promote gender equality and inclusivity, and the idea that gender equality goes beyond male or female. It also enables a level of support for those within the LGBTQ+ community, as just the addition of gender pronouns can allow just one person to feel more comfortable. It may be a small action, but for those within the gender diverse community, acknowledgement and respect is very important. As Ewell Castle School staff with contact with Ewell Castle pupils, parents and/or prospective families, we are inviting all to potentially feel included and supported by the addition of gender pronouns to our signature. It will remove any ambiguity as to how to address and respect someone's identity and also clarifies how people should address you to.
One of the issues faced by those within the gender diverse community is assumptions. At Ewell Castle School there may be a small minority of pupils and/or staff who may want to be addressed by a different gender but feel uncomfortable in asking for this. Adding gender pronouns to our email signature will help to enable a more comfortable environment, not only for our pupils but also our staff and parents. The obvious advantage for Ewell Castle School is that it will demonstrate that we are trying to be more inclusive, and that we want to support the gender diverse community just by the simplest of ways by adding the addition of gender pronouns to email signatures. Realistically we will never really know who would really appreciate this, but there will be some pupils and colleagues who will care. Obviously, this is an OPTIONAL addition to your email signature and there is no expectation that you do add the gender pronouns. The aim of this email is to help explain the benefits of adding them to email signatures. Examples are:
She/Her/Hers identify as a woman.
He/Him/His identity as a man.
They/Them/Their identity as gender neutral.
The School has a comprehensive programme in place which aims to build pupils’ lifelong resilience. Weekly discussions surrounding resilience are held during form time each week and key methods to increase resilience are taught through assemblies and the schools PSHE programme. Pupils also receive support from external companies, such as Voice at the Table who come in frequently to promote discussion in smaller groups. This work is complemented by our Girls Empowerment Programme. A major focus on our work surrounding resilience is our reframing of the word ‘failure’; reinforcing that failure is part of life, and that every failure is feedback or a learning experience. By the whole School community sharing this philosophy, the ability to show a growth mindset and to step outside comfort zones drastically increases.
Girls Empowerment Programme
The Girls Empowerment Programme seeks to promote self-belief, resilience and aspirational thinking within the girls and non-binary cohort. Regular girls’ assemblies enable a selection of guest speakers to come to speak to the pupils every term. These speakers provide positive role models and vital messaging for the girls, highlighting to them that ‘anything is possible’. The Girls Empowerment Programme aims to provide the girls and non-binary pupils with a lifelong ‘toolkit’ of skills and values to enable them to fulfil their ambitions and dreams whatever these may be.
The Department of Education's approach to sexism within schools sums up what our goal is in this area: "We believe that a whole school approach with prevention at its core, promoting an environment of inclusion and respect, where pupils and staff are educated and empowered to recognise and challenge abuse of any kind."
UKFeminista is an organisation whose work raises awareness for gender stereotyping, sexism and sexual harrassment within schools. During the academic year 2021/22, staff completed a UKFeminista survey on sexisim in schools, in an attempt to raise awareness of, and reduce the levels of sexism within our school community. We acknowledge we have far to go but have started to make progress, with more work being undertaken in this area from autumn 2023.