Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Boys vs. Girls - Gender Equality in the Stacks

Exhibition is next week.  It's always an exciting time as students demonstrate the deep thinking skills they have been developing throughout the PYP

This year we have a group focusing on Gender Equality, and they have used our Library Media Centre as part of their action.

After asking permission, this group was given one shelf in which they turned around the books lacking what they defined as a strong female character.

The criteria they used were the following three questions:

  • Is there a female main character?
  • Does she have a dream?

They created and hung posters explaining what they did and why.

Originally, participating in dialog was a requirement, but when the girls realized they would have to read EVERY book, they struck that requirement. How might it have changed the results?

I was surprised to see so many books turned around. It was over 80% of this particular shelf. I can't help but wonder if that would be the average for the rest of the shelves?

While I may not agree with every book they turned, it was a more thought provoking action than I expected.  I have always made an effort to purchase and maintain a balanced collection in every library I have worked in. A couple of years ago, I purchased every book available (that we didn't already own) from the Might Girl book lists. I was expecting a result closer to 50/50.

Most importantly, it has also made me examine the books I read with a more critical eye and realize what I have been accepting as "normal".

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