National gender competition won by Hamilton School, Scotland

Woodside Primary, in Hamilton has won the 'Improving Gender Balance Scotland' competition, after beating 170 other entries. The competition asked students for their thoughts on gender stereotypes. They were allowed to submit entries in any form they chose.

Woodside designed and submitted posters by sisters Rebekah and Melissa Goddard which illustrated the subject of stereotyping. The winning poster was named 'Is this wrong or are we making it wrong?'

Science teacher Gillian Reilly said that she had seen the competition advertised, and thought that it was something her pupils could work on. She felt that not only would it give them some good activities, but also good conversations about the subject.

Skills Development Scotland is in partnership with Improving Gender Balance Scotland, and it is here at the Institute of Physics and Education that ideas about school subjects are challenged. Some ideas which have recently been brought onto the table are the question school subjects which are traditionally 'just for girls' or 'just for boys'.

Project Officer for Improving Gender Balance Scotland, Charlotte Govan helped to judge the competition and said that it was very clear from the huge amount of entries, that gender stereotyping is now a major issue in primary schools, with pupils becoming more aware of it. Gender balance is something which they are seeking to tackle head on.

Ms Govan said that all the judges were impressed by the standard, and variety of the entries which were submitted. She thanked all the entrants for their contributions.

Director of Equate Scotland, Talat Yaqoob was also a judge and said that she felt the entries were very impressive, ranging from board games to poetry. It was a great pleasure to see the imagination and creativity of the pupils, and she felt that they could all learn from the suggestions on how to not only challenge, but to end gender stereotyping.

Improving Gender Balance Scotland has stated that their goals are to continue to explore gender issues in schools, and address them in positive ways. Their online resources are freely available to assist schools to address issues which will affect young students through their school years, and beyond.

If gender issues are faced, and worked through in the early school years, then adulthood and careers will benefit, with businesses becoming more productive when hiring staff who are not discriminatory towards others.

Winners Rebekah and Melissa said that they were surprised that they had won, but very happy. Macy Murray, a fellow student was given a special mention for her amazing poster which she named 'Hand Prints'.

Ms Reilly congratulated the girls for doing so well, and thanked their parents for encouragement and assistance.

Winning schools were presented with trophies, while students received vouchers for 'Letterbox Library', which is an organisation providing books about equality and diversity.


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