Gender Awareness: Questions to Ask Yourself at University

September 30, 2011

Words by Felicia Dahlquist

Starting university is the perfect opportunity to raise your awareness of gender norms and structures. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself in your everyday life, in order to become more gender aware. Scrutinize your surroundings: at lectures, in tutorials, in the student union and with school associations.

Tutorials and Seminar Groups

  • What role do I take in my tutorial discussions? Does my role have to do with personality traits, or am I personifying gender stereotypes?
  • If I took on an opposite role in discussions, what kind of response would I get from male and female students or tutors?
  • How do male and female students around me relate differently to male and female lecturers and tutors?
  • How do I treat male and female classmates differently? How do I treat male and female professors and tutors differently?

Private Studying/Reading

  • How does the gender of an author affect arguments and positions in written works?
  • If the writer had been of the opposite sex, would the book or article lose or gain some- thing? Would it change the significance, perception and validation of the writing?
  • Are there any arguments in the text relating to gender? What might a gender critique of the text be? Would you consider the text to have a gender bias?
  • Did a male or female lecturer or tutor assign you the text?

Associations and The Student Union

  • What is the gender dynamic in the student union or any school association?
  • What roles are males and females taking on in different societies?
  • Am I being prevented from doing tasks and getting involved in different associations due to my gender?

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