Category Archives: Contemporary issues

How did your gender affect you when you were a child?

I suppose you could say my gender had a big impact on my schooling. When I was a child I went to an all-girls school. I attended the school all through primary and the first three years of secondary. So because of this as I female I always felt encouraged. I was always told boys were just a distraction. My school gave me such confidence to be a female. We were told we could be anything we wanted to be. Gender did not affect our future. We didn’t care about looking good, there was no one to impress. Instead we just got on with our work. However with all these positive messages there were still some old fashioned views. In primary six we had a school dance with the all-boys school we were linked to. I remember being told that the boys will ask you to dance; and to just accept as it took them a lot of courage to ask. There was no mention of the girls being able to ask the boys. We just had to stand and wait until a boy asked you to dance. This was a very old fashioned view.

Then from senior four upwards I attended two mixed schools. The classes were louder and more disruptive. The girls wore more make-up and dressed to impress. This was something I was not used to. When it came to sports the girls and the boys were always separated. The girls did hockey and the boys did rugby or football. There was no choice in the matter. The girls could not choose to do rugby and the boys could not choose to do hockey. This only changed when I moved to my last school. There was a less gender stereotyping there. You were free to choose any sport you wanted. The girls could fix a car motor and the boys could play hockey or make a dress. Yet when it came to the Christmas balls it was still expected that the boys were to ask the girls to be their date. If a boy did not ask you then you had to go alone. Which was not frowned upon, however most people did have dates.

So my gender mostly only affected me positively throughout my childhood. Being at all-girls was very empowering. I was and still am very happy to be a female.