The World Starts With Me

Boys and Girls, Male and Female

Learning Objectives

This lesson is about gender and the role it plays in life. In this lesson, students work in groups. Each - mixed-sex, if possible - group is made up of four students. Each group views the interactive presentation together, answering questions as a group. Having discussed some of the issues in the presentation, each group then makes its own text-based presentation about gender issues or compares statements about boys and girls.


  • Students recognize the role of gender in their lives
  • Students are aware of the vulnerable position of girls and women

Learning Objectives

Students can:



  • explain that males and females have equal rights but that women in Ethiopia are in a more vulnerable position than men and give some examples related to work, family planning and policy
  • explain the terms 'gender' and 'gender roles', their relation with rights and how they impact on themselves and on their social environment
  • clarify that inequality between males and females is one of the underlying causes of SRH problems, including violence
  • list two stereotypical ideas about boys and two about girls and describe three situations in their own lives in which gender plays a role
  • describe that sexual expectations in boys and girls can be different
  • enlighten that they are entitled to their own opinions about gender roles


  • express they are aware of their own values and standards in relation to gender issues and describe differences with others
  • argue the right to an equal relationship between boys and girls and men and women and the advantages of sharing responsibilities
  • argue inequality between boys and girls and men and women, and force and violence in particular
  • claim that girls and women should have equal opportunities in education and leadership
  • debate that responsible sex means that both partners must be ready for it and that it should be voluntary and safe
  • show awareness of how peers, friends, the community and the media perceive gender roles


  • demonstrate how they can help to change social standards related to gender issues in their environment
  • demonstrate how to discuss sexuality and gender issues with others

Computer, design and creative skills

  • Explain step by step how to create a document in MS Word
  • Demonstrate how to design a layout in MS Word, using fonts, sizes and colours
  • Demonstrate how to use 'Word Art' options in MS Word
  • Demonstrate how to use the functions of the mouse
  • Make a presentation about gender issues in a group
  • Play the interactive game Who's Responsible in the Family?
  • Make a group presentation

Optional: surfing the web, exploring the relevant websites


Lesson Outline

1. Warming Up - Do the Walk (5 mins)
2. Game - Who's Responsible (15 mins)
3. Let's talk about Gender! - Presentation, group discussion included (30 mins)
4. Group Work I: Gender issues (35 mins)
Group Work II: Boys and Girls are ...(35 mins)
5. Conclusion and homework (5 mins)

Ask a few students to tell something about their reflection activities from the previous lesson.

Warming Up

Do the Walk (5 mins)


  • Students get started on the theme of gender in a fun way


  • All students pick a spot in the room so everybody can walk freely. Everyone starts walking at the same time. Call out different ways the students should try to walk, like:
  • you normally walk
  • you just heard the greatest news
  • you are a macho boy
  • you are giggling girl
  • you are an old woman carrying a heavy load
  • you are an old man with a stick
  • you are pregnant


Game - Who's Responsible (15 mins)


  • Students explore some of their ideas on the theme of gender in a fun way


Step 1
Students sit behind a computer in pairs and start up the Who's Responsible game. In this game, students have to decide for each task whether this should be the man's responsibility, the woman's responsibility, or both. For each item, the game tells students whether they have made a choice that is both man- and woman-friendly.

The game provokes a lot of discussion. Try to keep it short. The next activity also involves discussion.



Let's talk about Gender!
- the issues and a discussion (35 mins)


  • Students are introduced to the term 'gender', its meaning and some of the main issues associated with gender
  • Students discuss in small groups and form their own opinions


  • Ask students to read the presentation. It includes some discussion points, which students should address together before continuing with the next slides.

The presentation covers the following topics:

  • a definition of gender
  • gender roles
  • leadership
  • education
  • the position of women
  • a Gender Equality Quiz on topics such as wife beating and virginity

Step 1
Students work in small groups for the entire lesson. If possible, these should be mixed-sex groups.

Students do not need paper to write their conclusions down. The goal is to discuss the issues.

Step 2
The students click on the interactive presentation about gender and answer questions.

Step 3
When students get to the Gender Equality Quiz, the aim of the quiz is to discuss the different points of view as a group before continuing to the next point; each person should choose a viewpoint they agree with. This can help students to understand their peers' attitudes towards gender issues.



Group Work I - Gender issues

Can be done on the computer or on paper (35 mins)



  • Students make their own presentation using either MS Word or paper.
  • Students clarify their ideas and opinions on gender.

Each group answers the following two questions plus ONE of questions 1-4 written below:

Group name: choose a name for your group.
Action plan: What can you do as a person to create gender equality?

Assign each group with one of the following subjects:
1. Gender lifelines
2. Role models/famous people
3. SRH issues linked to gender
4. What can society do?


Step 1
Students open MS Word and start typing in the content of their presentation. They choose a name for their group and type this name at the top of their document. If you have time, students can use Word-art. Ask students to save the document to the right folder, for example, 'Presentation cobra.doc'.

This presentation can be done using paper and pen/markers

Step 2
The groups write down what each individual member of the group can do to influence gender roles in the way they feel is right.

Step 3
Each group works on the subject assigned to the group:
1. Gender lifelines
2. Role models/famous people
3. SRH issues linked to gender
4. What can society do

1. Gender lifelines
Each student in the group presents one example of the first time in their lives when they were aware they were a boy or a girl. If they feel comfortable talking about this, they can tell how this made them feel.

2. Role models / famous people
Students think of two categories of people in their society who are important in the area of gender. Together, they decide who they choose to include in their presentation:

  • two role models for men and two role models for women
  • two famous men and two famous women

3. SRH issues linked to gender
Students make a list of social issues, related to gender and sexual and reproductive health, which they feel are causing problems in society in general or for individuals.

4. What can society do?
Students come up with solutions to gender-related issues in society.

Step 4
Depending on time, the groups present their ideas.



Group Work II - Boys and Girls are... (35 mins) < See Tools>


  • Students learn to question stereotypical ideas about boys and girls. Girls and boys learn that both sexes are given certain roles to play. Not all boys and girls may be comfortable with these roles. Some roles may not suit them.
  • Students realize that both boys and girls may feel uncertain when other people expect certain opinions or behaviors from them because they are a boy or a girl.


Step 1
Divide the students into small groups. Give each group the list of statements about boys and girls which you can find in the tools session.

Step 2
Students go through the list of statements, asking themselves the following questions:

  • Do you think it is true?
  • Do you know an example showing that this is not always true?

Step 3
Each group selects one group member to present the outcomes of the group exercise.


Conclusion and homework (5 mins)
Round off the session and ask some students to summarize the highlights of today's lesson.


Students can play the Make Up Game (optional).

Students write down in their books two events in their lives in which gender played a positive role and two events in which gender played a negative role.


Tools, Games & Materials

Statements about boys and girls


  • Boys don't cry
  • Boys only want sex
  • Boys already know everything about sex
  • Boys are strong
  • Boys don't need help
  • Boys who don't drink alcohol are no real boys
  • Boys are taller than girls


  • Girls shouldn't know everything about sex
  • Girls are quiet
  • Girls should be passive
  • Girls should be ladylike
  • Girls shouldn't ask a boy for a date
  • Girls are cleaner than boys

Sample of the opening page of the group members

We are going to take the following actions to create a better gender situation in Ethiopia:

Betelihem and Hibrezemed are going to:

  • prove that women are equally intelligent and talented in management. They are going to do their utmost to be admitted to university and show everybody what ladies can do! They are going to talk to their girl peers and convince them that they have to fight for their rights. Girls are also responsible for changing their own position. For example: if girls date boys for money rather than for love, things will remain just as they are.

Derara and Mulu are going to:

  • remember that it is good to discuss issues with their girlfriends and help them to stand up for themselves. They are going to give them a major say when it comes to safe sex and help to protect themselves and stay healthy. They will talk to their friends about gender issues and the way they can improve the situation.

Bethelihem Alemu
When I was seven, my father disapproved of me playing football with my brothers. When I asked him why, he said because I was a lady. I remember I was annoyed.

Derara Abera
When I was eight, my father died and my uncles told me that I was now the man about the house and had to look after my sisters. I felt both proud and worried.

Hibrezemed  Mengistu
When I was ten, my eldest sister got married and my mother said to me: 'You will be next.' I said I wanted to stay in school like my brothers. She said: 'It's different for girls, you should be glad.'

Mulu Dese
When I was nine, I saw my eldest brother coming home drunk and being sick. He told me that real men do this. I was shocked.

We see the following social issues related to gender and sexual health that negatively affect society or individuals.

1 Women are financially dependent on men.
Women don't have the same chances and opportunities to get a well-paid job. Most women depend on men for their income. This starts when girls are young: boyfriends pay their expenses. This sometimes causes girls to have more than one sexual relationship for financial reasons, which may involve problems, such as a high risk of STI infection. Relationships should be based on love, not money.

2 Men decide on the main things.
Although men and women are equally intelligent and, in some cases, women are even more talented than men, men decide. Women have been managing families for centuries. They know how to handle families. Why can't they manage a company or government division? This is a waste of capacities. Even in everyday matters: women work on the land but men decide on the crops.

3 HIV discriminates.
Women are five times more at risk of being infected with HIV. They need to be more careful with protection against STIs and having safe sex, particularly because men often refuse to use condoms.

We suggest the following solutions to the social issues mentioned:

1 Women are financially dependent on men

  • all girls should have the same opportunities in education as boys. We have to help boys and girls
    to finish their secondary education and promote girls going to university;
  • women should be paid the same money for the same jobs as men. And they should get some kind
    of wages for working the family land, so they have their own money.

2 Men decide on main things

  • the government and companies have to employ more ladies. Time will show that this is better for
    business and management, but ladies need a chance to prove themselves.

3 HIV discriminates

  • women should have the final say when it comes to safe sex and protection;
  • men have to understand that we need our ladies to stay healthy and happy. This will be good
    for everybody and for the whole nation.


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