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LifeSkills Handbook Activity 43

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions altogether. The handbook is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, books and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 43
Gender Roles in Society and in the Group

Purpose of the session
  • Explore gender roles in society and in the group
  • To assess how we feel about these roles
  • To think about how children in the group face inequalities in their own lives and how they might deal with this.

Life Skills: Empathy, Communication, Interpersonal Relationships

Important Points

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states clearly that all children have equal rights. For example, all children may need to help or to do some work, but if work is divided so that it discriminates against girls, this is wrong. Girls are often expected to do more work and this deprives them of equal opportunities to study and do well in school and can lead to illness. Division of labour should not affect the physical, mental, social and spiritual development of either the girls or the boys.


  • Numbers or labels for the chairs
  • Five chairs


  1. Set out five chairs and either number them or label them as follows:
    Ensure that the children understand what the labels or numbers mean.
  2. Read out this story:

When Ali comes back from school, his sister Ayesha, helps weed the garden then helps cook the evening meal. After the meal, she washes the dishes. Ali helps with weeding the garden after which he does some work for his lessons.

  1. Now read out a series of statements. Ask the children to stand behind the chair that corresponds to their answer.
    • Boys are stronger than girls.
    • Cooking is a girl’s job.
    • Girls don’t have time to study because of the housework they do.
    • Girls wake up before boys.
    • In lessons, girls do more work than boys.
    • Boys do better in lessons because they are more intelligent than girls.
    • These days, boys and girls sharing housework.

Add others or adapt the above to suit the group. The educator keeps a record of the boy’s answers and girl’s answers to each question. Ask selected children to give reason for their responses after each statement.

  1. Separate the girls and boys into two groups. Ask each group to discuss the following:
    • Are there things that boys do which girls do not do? Why is this?
    • Are there things that girls do which boys do not do? Why is this?
    • Should we try to make the opposite sex respect our roles and share our responsibilities? How can we do this?
  2. Ask each group to feedback their answers. There may be several issues coming out of this activity that need further work.

Final Discussion

  • What do you think about this situation?
  • How did you feel when you were watching the mini drama? Why?
  • What do our feelings show us about how we view the roles of men and women in society?


Groups can present aspects of their discussion through roleplays.


An interesting activity is to ask children to act out a reverse roleplay such as the one below.

Mr Okello is busy cleaning the house. He is carrying a baby on his back and a small child is pulling at his legs wanting something. He is obviously tired, but dinner is also cooking on the fire. He talks about his problems as he works, that there may not be enough food when his wife comes home from work. After he has sorted out his problems his wife returns. She is a little drunk and is angry that dinner is not ready. The children hide behind their father.

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