Do we need more female villains in books?

Lesson plans – gender bias in children’s books

Recent research found just one female ‘baddie’ in the top one hundred best selling picture books. These ready-to-use lesson plans for World Book Day look at gender bias in children’s books as a way of opening discussion on everyday sexism in books and films.

The following resources have been produced by VotesforSchools for World Book Day 2018. They have kindly agreed for us to make them available for free download. Read more about the research into the gender skew in the top 100 picture books, and why we think it matters.

Are boys and girls equal in books? – age 5-7/KS1

Are boys and girls equal in books - classroom activity extracted from KS1 slide deck

Free powerpoint deck and 30 minute lesson plan asking children to look at how boys and girls are represented in books, understand stereotypes, look critically at their own bookshelves, and vote on the question, ‘Do we need more female villains in children’s books?’

Do we need more female villains in books? – age 7-11/KS2

Classroom activity extracted from the KS2 slide deck30-60 minute lesson plan with slides asking children to think about how people might be influenced by stereotypes, think about what a more equal bookshelf might look like, and vote on the question, ‘Do we need more female villains in children’s books?’

Do bestselling books encourage sexism? – age 11-16/KS 3 and 4

Classroom activity taken from the KS3/4 slide deck45 minute lesson plan with slides asking young people to consider how stereotypes in media and society connect with everyday sexism, take a critical look at their bookcase or library shelves and vote on the question ‘Do bestselling books encourage sexism?’ Extension activity debating whose responsibility it is to teach children about gender equality.

There are more free lesson plans and resources for schools, including simple ways to challenge gender stereotypes in the classroom, in the Let Toys Be Toys schools pages.

Votes for Schools creates fun weekly debate materials based on issues happening in the news. During the lesson, students develop skills of empathy, open-mindedness, and critical thinking by exploring controversial or topical issues in a safe way. Students vote and share comments which are then passed on to government, journalists, and big decision makers so that their voices make an impact. Find out more at Votesforschools.com

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