A post I wrote in January – 10 Reasons Girls and Boys Should Play Together – was recently shared by Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies and revisited by many (which was a thrill). In the post I make the statement that boys and girls don’t spend a whole lot of time together, and I go on to list some reasons why they should. I revisited this post myself, realizing it begs the question – why are girls and boys not spending time together in the first place?
As luck would have it, we have been working on a video to illustrate the evolution of the gender divide. Based on an extensive body of research, Sanford Harmony Program’s Cindy Miller Ph.D. (Lead Developer for Intermediate Program) and Carol Martin Ph.D. (Executive Director) have outlined the progression and consequences of gender segregation from childhood through adulthood in a short, engaging animation which was created with the talented folks from ASU’s Student Media department.
“The Gender Segregation Cycle illustrates that the more time children spend in gender segregated groups, the more likely they are to develop negative gender attitudes (e.g., “Boys are so weird”), limited communication skills (gender-specific styles of communicating), increased gender stereotyping (“Only girls play with dolls”), and decreased relationship efficacy (“I don’t know how to talk to girls”). The goal of SHP is to prevent the social, contextual, and individual processes that initiate and maintain the Gender Segregation Cycle by ensuring that girls and boys are brought together under positive conditions.” - Cindy Miller Ph.D.
While this is only part one of a two-part video, we thought it timely to share now. Part two will involve illustrating how bringing boys and girls together early in life can break the segregation cycle depicted. We will also be adding credits to the video, including acknowledging Crystal Smith from Achilles Effect for the use of her Toy Ad Vocabulary Word Clouds.
So let us know what you think! What are the most salient messages contributing to segregating kids? What can we, as adults, do to redirect girls and boys socially when their cognitions lead them to segregate? Do you believe the cycle can be changed or broken?