Gender sensitivity refers to the sensitivity of taking account of the different influences of gender in the process of a young person growing into a woman or a man. Gender sensitive girl or boy work recognizes the various ways of being a girl or a boy.
Gender sensitive work aims at deconstructing, opening and expanding gender roles and gendered policies.
Gender sensitive work focuses on examining and finding one’s own identity and way of being in the midst of diverse gender roles and variations. Perceptions of masculinity and femininity are multidimensional and sometimes even conflicting. There is no one correct way of being male or female.
Examining one’s own gender and sexual identity is an important process, in which children and young people need support and space. Gender sensitive work encourages everyone to find their personal strengths and resources, to listen to themselves and to confidently be who they are. At the same time, the aim is to strengthen one’s social skills and offer everyone the possibility to be part of a community.
Gender sensitive work recognizes the different factors involved in the growth and development of boys and girls and acknowledges the fact that the pains of growing up are largely gender-specific. Gender sensitive work stands for highlighting one’s own gender as a positive resource. All the while, the dissimilarities between genders are taken into account, without assessing them.
Why do we need gender sensitive work?
Because gender is one of the most essential social institutions a person is connected to, even as a child. Gender related expectations, representations and constructions have a significant influence on a person’s growth, development and learning.