, Volume 61, Issue 5-6, pp 361-382
Date: 08 May 2009

Teaching Children to Confront Peers’ Sexist Remarks: Implications for Theories of Gender Development and Educational Practice

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Abstract

Elementary-school children (81 boys, 72 girls, aged 5–10 years) in the Southwest United States were taught to challenge peers’ sexist remarks to (a) improve school climate for gender nontraditional children, (b) decrease children’s gender-typed attitudes, and (c) test hypotheses linking gender identity and peer-directed gender role behaviors. Children either practiced using retorts to peers’ sexist remarks (practice condition) or heard stories about others’ retorts (narrative condition). At pretest, children rarely challenged peers’ sexist remarks. At posttest, children’s challenges were significantly more common in the practice than narrative condition. At the 6-month posttest, data showed intervention effects had become more widespread. Behavioral changes led to decreases in gender-typing of others among girls but not boys.

This work was supported by a grant from Teaching Tolerance. Portions of the work were presented at the Gender Development Research Conference, April 2006, San Francisco, CA. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lindsay Lamb, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station D5800, Austin TX 78712, E-mail: llamb@mail.utexas.edu