Original Article

Sex Roles

, 61:361

First online:

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

  • Lindsay M. LambAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • , Rebecca S. BiglerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin Email author 
  • , Lynn S. LibenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University
  • , Vanessa A. GreenAffiliated withSchool of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, Victoria University of Wellington

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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.

Keywords

Gender stereotyping Peers Bullying Intervention