Preventing violence against women by challenging gender stereotypes in Scottish primary schools

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conference

Gender violence is a major public health issue in Europe; it is normalized and partly legitimized by gender stereotypes. An example of a primary prevention education programme designed to challenge the attitudes that underpin gender violence, particularly violence against women, is the Zero Tolerance Respect (ZTR) programme developed for Scottish pupils. Given the importance of early preventative action in this area, this paper analyses how gender stereotypes were challenged in ZTR materials for primary pupils aged 10-12 years. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the content of the seven lessons in the ZTR primary school programme; the materials were also evaluated in relation to best practice within attitudinal change promotion. Analysis shows that ZTR empowers pupils to reflect on and confront gender stereotypes by developing pupils’ social awareness, as respect is characterized as a right and a responsibility, and empathy for others and an awareness of the potentially discriminatory effects of difference in society are underlined. Facts and figures help pupils challenge prevailing myths of gendered violence, and a gendered perspective on history is also indicated. ZTR material involves a variety of methods aimed at engaging pupils, including brainstorms, puzzles, quizzes, cases for discussion and imaginary scenarios. Whilst much of the ZTR material reflects best practice advice regarding attitudinal change promotion, there could have been more focus on the implications of gender stereotypes for the individual pupil. Moreover, further attention could have been given to surrounding powerful discourses and media representations that may be at odds with the messages of the programme. The present study illustrates that the growing field of public health can be supported through an “all for health” interdisciplinary approach that draws on fields such as discourse studies, health communication and ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year11 Nov 2016
StatePublished - 11 Nov 2016

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