To get the group you work with thinking about the traditional roles and occupations for men and women, try a role play! In the activity Aprendemos Ser Hombres y Mujeressmall groups choose one person to be a woman and one person to be a man, and then dress them up using papelógrafo and other recycled materials.
When all the ‘women’ and ‘men’ are ready, they act out how they think men and women would act in a normal situation—talking and moving around—while another member of the group takes notes. The notes are then used to start a discussion about the difference between sex and gender and the ways gender roles are learned and imposed by society.
A follow-up activity, Silla de opinión, has participants reflect on their personal views of their own bodies as well as sexuality and relationships. Seated in a circle, participants close their eyes and listen to sentences read by the facilitator. If the participants agree with a sentence (For example: Jealousy is a manifestation of love. There can’t be rape within marriage), they should stand and then sit back down.
Once the facilitator has read all the sentences, participants have the chance to reflect and analyze questions about how gender roles affect views of their body, sexuality and relationships with others.
*Thanks to HE 61 volunteer Monica in RAAS for sharing these activities and photos!
**When role playing, it’s important to consider how well the members of the group know each other. Role playing the opposite sex can be detrimental to relationships if someone identifies with the way their sex is being portrayed but the rest of the group is laughing or making fun of this characteristic. At the same time, role playing can elicit knowledge of gender roles and stereotypes that participants wouldn’t give as responses if just asked a question. Have discretion, and have fun!