Even before birth, and then continuing through childhood, different expectations are placed on boys and girls because of their gender.
It happens through the gifts they're given, the clothes they wear, the language they hear and stories they're told.
These expectations shape children’s views of who they can be. And who they can’t be.
Gender stereotypes limit children’s opportunities and freedom to make their own choices.
The good news is that families are in a powerful position to challenge the gender stereotypes that limit children’s potential and opportunities.
Help for parents and families
Our Watch research shows parents want their children, regardless of gender, to have equal access to opportunities. However, while parents want to challenge limiting gender stereotypes, many find it’s not always easy to recognise where and how these stereotypes affect children.
To help parents with this, and to provide support and practical guidance in challenging stereotypes, Our Watch has created #BecauseWhy.
#BecauseWhy is for families who want children to learn, explore and develop all the skills they’re interested in without the limitations that come with gender stereotypes. While children see gender stereotypes all around them, research shows that parents and families are the most powerful influence of young children's understanding of gender.
Families can encourage children to develop positive personal identities and respectful relationships that are not constrained by gender stereotypes. As parents, you can question and challenge stereotypical constructions of gender roles, masculinity and femininity, and support children to explore whatever their interest is regardless of rigid gender associations.
What is a family?
The tools and resources on this website are for all types of 'family' and for all adults who 'parent' a child. When we talk about ‘parents’ and ‘families’ we are referring to any adults who have the responsibility of bringing up or caring for a child or children.
We acknowledge that some of the research drawn upon in these resources has been conducted in the context of heterosexual families. However parents and families come in many forms - they may be heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or gender diverse, be single parents, have biological children, adopted children, donor children, be kinship carers, have custody of children, be foster parents or step parents.
No matter the form, #BecauseWhy is here to help you challenge gender stereotypes with the children in your life.