Tackling gender stereotyping in childhood: research to support gender neutral schooling – Middlesex University

The impact achieved

Gender stereotyping in schools is a longstanding problem which has serious implications for pupil confidence, academic attainment, emotional intelligence, behaviour and later life outcomes. Middlesex Professor Jayne Osgood has consistently informed teachers and school leaders who are keen to address discriminatory practices in school through research to support interventions that directly challenge gender stereotyping in schools. Her research has made the following impact:

  • Directly informing public debate, through the direction of a two-part BAFTA-winning BBC Documentary Series, which aired in 2017 and raised awareness of the issue among millions of viewers in the UK and internationally
  • Changing educational practice, by informing teaching practice through whole school interventions and individual teacher approaches across the UK
  • Benefitting children and parents through increased awareness and debate.

The research behind it

Professor Osgood was expert consultant for the development of a two-part Documentary Series for the BBC concerning gender stereotyping in primary schools. From the original design of the programme through to final airing, Professor Osgood provided expert direction to the production team on the development and execution of specific interventions and experiments to tackle gender stereotyping, and on essential resources. Her expertise and insights were underpinned by her research outputs on gender and childhood since 2007, including:

  • A research-based handbook with schedules designed to help schools address gender equality issues through reviewing practice, tackling inequalities and monitoring outcomes to meet statutory obligations
  • A series of research projects on gender for national and international bodies
  • Key research publications providing teachers and early years educators practical guidance on how to address gender issues in the classroom and work towards greater equity.

The people involved at Middlesex and beyond

Research at Middlesex was undertaken by Professor Jayne Osgood. For the documentary, Professor Osgood worked with Outline Productions, a TV production company commissioned by the BBC, and teachers and pupils in the participating primary school.

Further reading