The vast majority of students (90%) think that women refuse to have sex because they simply do not want to, and more than a quarter of students also think that women do it as part of a flirtation or because they want men to pursue it (26% of respondents in both cases). In addition, almost a fifth (20%) believe that women refuse to have sex in order to tease, 18% see it as a way of manipulating men and 14% believe that women refuse to have sex because they play hard to get.
The questionnaire data reveal that heteronormativity and heterosexuality still dominate societal views on sexuality, especially among adolescents and to some extent also among teachers. Gender roles in sexuality also conform to traditional norms, with both boys and girls adhering to predefined roles. While the majority of respondents understand that ‘no’, in terms of sexual consent, means ‘no’, some groups, especially boys, perceive ambiguity in the refusal of sexuality.
Most respondents agree that it is good to have people close to them who they can consult when they are in need. Most female teachers reject the statement that it is not appropriate for men to ask for help even when they need it, but almost 20% of male students still agree. There are significant gender differences: 23% of boys agree or strongly agree, while another 20% are not sure. There are also major differences between female and male students in the statement that they never ask for help: while more than 80% of male teachers disagree with this statement, more than 30% of female students agree, with 43% of male students agreeing or strongly agreeing.
Most respondents recognise the benefits of seeking help from trusted people, although some students still agree that men should avoid seeking help. Although seeking help in times of need is important for all, both men and boys encounter difficulties in communicating and seeking professional help, and both students and teachers at both levels of education perceived girls and women as more communicative and talkative, while men and boys are more likely to withdraw from conflicts.
The answers of the female and male respondents regarding the restriction and suppression of certain emotions such as fear, sadness, shame revealed that the majority of the female respondents (74%) (strongly) disagreed with the statement that “It is not appropriate for a man to express emotions such as fear, sadness, shame” (74%). Among teachers, 94% of university teachers and 82% of secondary school teachers (strongly) disagreed with the statement. However, 35% of the student population (completely) agreed with the statement – 40% of girls and 33% of boys.
All three groups of female and male respondents recognise traditional masculine norms of emotional restriction and oppression. Female secondary and higher education teachers were more critical of these norms and their impact on emotional competence and well-being. Students showed less awareness and, in this sense, were more likely to conform to traditional views of gender roles.
While the majority of university (83%) and secondary school (71%) teachers disagree (strongly) with the statement that “it is in the male nature to use physical force”, the answers of female students are very divided (43% disagree (strongly), 35% agree (strongly), and a large number are also undecided (22%). Similarly, the answers of male and female teachers and students differ on the causes of male violence. Although the majority of male and female respondents in all groups largely disagree with the statement that ‘a man has to use physical force to achieve or maintain his position in society’, the strength of disagreement among female teachers is much higher than among female students, a quarter of whom (26%) are undecided.
The results of the focus groups show that although physical violence is unacceptable in principle, the use of physical force is justified in some cases/situations. Interestingly, some participants relativise the idea that violence is gendered or oppose the idea that (only) men are violent. This could be seen as a positive stimulus for the analysis and discussion of women’s violence/gender power and as a view that opposes the naturalisation of violence by men.
Half of the students believe that feminism does not fight for gender equality, and many believe that gender equality has already been achieved in society. Interestingly, the perception of feminism and its achievements among the younger generation is quite different from the generation that has participated in this fight for gender inequality and experienced first-hand the progress in equality thanks to feminism.
On the subject of the role of feminism, students tend to believe that it has become harmful, secondary school teachers have opposing views, and university teachers mostly disagree with harmfulness of feminism. Awareness of the inadequate situation in the field of gender (in)equality among female and male students has proved to be very weak.
The previous so-called coercion model has thus been abolished and replaced by the consent model, which also significantly shifts the burden of proof – if the coercion model is based on proving the victim’s defence, under the consent model the courts would be concerned with the perpetrator’s proof of consent. In fact, the only yes means yes model assumes that each person decides for him/herself whether he/she is ready and willing to have sexual intercourse. If a person does not freely and actively consent to sexual intercourse (in words and actions), he or she is raped. This is also an important symbolic message to women and their bodies, which should no longer be perceived as walking bait for anyone who might want to have sex with them.
More than half of teenagers said that photos of male influencers and female influencers are unrealistic, that they are achieved by using filters and other programmes that make them look perfect. Young people would like to see photos labelled as unreal in this way, as it would help them when comparing and feeling dissatisfied with their own appearance (Safe.si, 2022).
We cannot compare our bodies and our lives with artificial photographs and installed photographs that have nothing to do with reality. Comparing and pursuing such ideals leads to dissatisfaction, as Safe.si (2022) study showed that 45% of adolescents compared themselves to online influencers in primary school and were dissatisfied with their appearance as a result. In secondary school, the percentage is higher, with 59% of teenagers and pre-teens comparing themselves to influencers.
How can the internet affect how we feel?
As a recent Safe.si study (2023) has shown, teenagers’ well-being can be strongly affected by various online situations where they feel excluded from society or are victims of online violence. The results showed that teenagers feel worst when they are excluded from a private group of peers on a social network or app, or when someone makes fun of them online. Almost half feel bad if they see pictures online of a party they were not invited to, and they also feel bad if someone does not reply to a message sent to them, if they receive a negative comment on their online post and if no one likes their post (Safe.si, 2023).
… Talk about it, clearly disclose our feelings and our view of the situation.
It is important that we are willing to listen respectfully to others involved in the conflict, giving them space and time to share their views and their experience of the situation.
Together, we agree on ways to resolve the situation.
Reach a compromise that is satisfactory for all parties involved.
Discuss gender stereotypes and their negative impacts on creating relationships and expressing emotions and behavior. Create safe spaces for respectful and inclusive communication where students can safely discuss their feelings and experiences. Reflect and help students overcome gender norms in dressing and expressing their identity, without expectations based on gender. Systematically address patterns of intimidation and other types of violence in the classroom. Teach students about the importance of respectful communication and consent in interpersonal relationships.
Think together with students about the most effective processes that could prevent bullying within the school environment. Ensure that everything spoken and agreed upon becomes part of the official plan that everyone will follow.
Encourage conversation about various types of violence that occur inside and outside of school. Discuss the importance of creating a safe environment and the reasons why some individuals may hide or not report violence. Explore the emotions and experiences that come with experiencing or witnessing violence. Consider the necessary next steps, which should involve all school staff, the entire school community, and parents/guardians. Identify safe spaces and ways for students to talk about violence. Encourage students to think about various conflict resolution tactics, emphasizing that violence is not the same as conflict. Conflict is a normal part of relationships where parties may not always agree. Conflict is resolved through compromise that satisfies everyone involved, while violence ends with an imbalance of power.
Origins of Gender Stereotyping: Gender stereotypes have deep historical and cultural roots. They are influenced by a range of factors, including traditional gender roles, societal norms, media representations, and family dynamics. Historical divisions of labour based on biological differences, such as men as hunters and women as gatherers, have contributed to the formation of gender stereotypes over time.
Socialization and Reinforcement: Gender stereotypes are reinforced through socialisation processes, which begin at an early age. Children are exposed to gendered expectations and behaviours through their families, peers, educational institutions, and media. For example, boys may be encouraged to engage in rough play and display assertiveness, while girls may be expected to exhibit nurturing behaviours and focus on appearance. Such reinforcement perpetuates the notion that certain traits and behaviours are inherently masculine or feminine.
Media Influence: Media plays a significant role in shaping and perpetuating gender stereotypes. Television shows, movies, advertisements, and other forms of media often present narrow and exaggerated portrayals of gender roles and expectations. These representations can limit the aspirations and self-perception of both boys and girls, reinforcing traditional gender norms and discouraging them from exploring diverse interests and pursuits.
Consequences of Gender Stereotyping: Gender stereotyping has far-reaching consequences for individuals and society as a whole. It can limit opportunities and constrain personal development by confining individuals to predefined roles and expectations. For example, boys may face pressure to be strong, emotionally stoic, and career-focused, while girls may be steered towards domestic roles, caregiving, and appearance-focused pursuits. These expectations can hinder personal growth, limit career choices, and perpetuate inequalities between genders.
WORKSHOP: How can I fight against gender stereotypes?
Introduction: Begin the workshop by introducing the topic of gender stereotypes and explaining their impact on individuals and society.
Share a few examples of common gender stereotypes and their consequences.
Small Group Discussion: Divide the students into small groups of 4-6 and provide them with index cards or sticky notes.
Then each group assigns a specific gender stereotype to discuss (e.g., girls are bad at math, boys shouldn’t cry, boys are just boys, girls are nurturing and emotional, boys are tough and aggressive, girls are more talkative and social).
Give the students instruction to brainstorm and write down the consequences of these stereotypes on individuals, relationships, and society.
After the group discussion, ask each group to present their findings to the rest of the class.
Guided Reflection: Encourage students to reflect on their personal experiences with gender stereotypes and how they have observed them affecting others.
When discussing ask open-ended questions, such as:
Empowering Solutions: After discussion, invite the students back into the groups and give them instructions to brainstorm empowering solutions and actions that can be taken to fight against gender stereotypes.
Provide examples to get started, such as promoting inclusive language, supporting individuals who challenge stereotypes, and advocating for diverse representation in media and society.
Challenge the students to write down an action plan on how can we overcome gender stereotypes in daily lives.
Students share their action plans with the class.
Guided Reflection: Encourage students to reflect on their experience with overcoming gender stereotypes in their daily lives.
When discussing ask open-ended questions, such as:
Ensure that all selected educational materials and delivery methods are free from gender stereotypes and gender expectations.
Make sure that all educational materials used portray different genders equally, in particular problematise any stereotypical portrayals of a particular gender (e.g. portrayal of women in private life and in a subordinate position, normalisation of aggression and power-seeking in men, etc.).
Task male and female students with the same chores, avoid asking male students to help with technical matters and avoid putting girls in charge of keeping the classroom neat and clean.
Use gender inclusive language.
Seek the opinion of pupils of all genders, not only men, as many surveys suggest is the common practice.
Encourage female and male students to talk about their positive and negative emotions.
Be aware of your own internalized stereotyping, and if you find yourself using it (even in the form of covert or overt curriculum), speak up about it in class.
Respond if you hear gender stereotyping or sexist slurs among students, talk about it, take the time to contextualise the issue – your job is to create an inclusive and safe environment for all in the classroom.
Avoid segregating students into separate classes, separate sports activities, etc. Organise students into groups where they work and participate together, rather than segregating them by gender.
Explore, reflect and problematize the treatment (or lack of) of gender concepts and roles from different communities. Support students to actively identify and overcome current examples of gender bias, which we also witness in public life.
You may also ask your colleagues to help and give constructive criticism – to be present in your lesson and give you their input.
To achieve zero tolerance of violence in the community, the cooperation of different actors – parents, politicians and society as a whole – is of course crucial. Nevertheless, teaching staff have an important and powerful role to play in promoting zero-tolerance communities and schools:
Create safe spaces within classrooms where students can feel safe and secure. They should feel comfortable expressing their feelings in the classroom and they should be heard in an appropriate way. It is very important to promote empathy, respect and peaceful resolution of potential conflicts throughout the education process. The latter should be actively taught to students.
Students should become your allies in preventing violence in school settings: identify the key types of violence (starting with bullying) that occur in your schools and develop clear strategies to manage the incidence of these types of violence (from protecting victims of bullying to protecting those who see and report it to punishing perpetrators).
Within the school structure, commit to further understanding and knowledge in the field of violence, its recognition and contextualisation of its causes. Of equal importance is the development of knowledge on how to deal effectively with (potentially) violent situations, which must be supported by clear strategies and policies that first and foremost protect the victim and build trust in the school as an institution.
When addressing violence (which should be a constant and not just a consequence of the most tragic violent events), teachers should also make contact with other individuals and institutions that will help both to raise awareness of the problem and to increase young people’s knowledge of possible sources of help and of the incidence of violence itself (NGOs, official institutions, local community, parents).
“The project deepens existing and develops new perspectives in The Peace Institute’s research and activist work on gender equality and masculinities. By raising awareness, training and mobilising young men to reject violence and to take a critical stance towards hierarchical, dominant and privileged relationships between people, the project works to reduce all forms of gender-based violence. The objectives of the project are to improve the knowledge and strengthen the competences of teaching staff, youth workers and activists in the field of gender-based violence prevention on norms of hegemonic masculinity and alternative conceptions of masculinity; to develop innovative participatory practices for working with young people; to empower young people to behave in a non-violent way; to raise awareness and educate young people as agents of change through peer-led activities in schools, youth and sports clubs.”
The author analysed stereotypes about male-female differences in personality traits. The comparison was made on the basis of masculinity and femininity questionnaires (based on gender stereotypes) and the five big personality factors. The results showed that the stereotypes are present and are similar to those found in other similar studies: men are said to have expressed traits relating to aggressive and controlling tendencies and to asserting themselves (masculinity, competitiveness, strength, combativeness, power, authority, courage, decisiveness, sense of superiority, etc.), whereas women are expected to have more pronounced qualities relating to concern for others and qualities necessary for harmonious interpersonal relationships (femininity, tenderness, emotionality, warmth, caring, curiosity, empathy, affection, etc.).
As part of the project, the authors conducted 8 individual and 5 group interviews on gender stereotypes in school. In total, 20 female teachers and 3 male teachers from nine schools (three primary schools and six secondary schools) participated. They found that the female teachers could be classified into two groups based on their answers about the existence, frequency and intensity of gender stereotypes. The first (smaller) group is represented by the answers that go in the direction that they do not perceive gender stereotypes as problematic in school, neither among the collective nor among the pupils. The second (larger) group, on the contrary, emphasises the presence of gender stereotypes in schools. Teachers point out that schools are based on certain stereotypes and that they themselves, through their expectations of pupils and their own stereotypes, influence the reproduction of existing gender stereotypes. For example, girls are expected to be hard-working and to learn, while boys are often labelled as lazy but smart. Teachers also point to expectations of girls to be well-behaved, hardworking and obedient, and boys to be playful and more active, the gender division of labour (a settled division of labour from the private sphere that young people perceive in peer relationships at school), the outward appearance, beauty, attractiveness, neatness of girls, and so on.
As part of her master’s thesis, the author analysed the ways in which gender, the activities of persons and their social position are presented. The analysis included a random sample of 7 primary and 3 secondary school teaching materials in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, linguistics and arts. The study revealed that the teaching materials contain a lot of gender stereotypes, such as adult women being represented within the categories of activities performed at home (housework, shopping) or in caring for others, while adult men are represented in the context of performing public activities. In addition, men are generally more frequently represented, and the fact that members of the highest social class are always male characters is also significant. Gender roles are (also) taught through teaching materials in the course of education, which maintain and reproduce existing gender stereotypes through such gender positioning. Such messages are reflected not only in educational content but also in the subsequent study choices of men and women in either rather masculinised or feminised professional fields.
Author conducted a qualitative analysis of an overview of the addressing of male and female students in the instructions, the use of generic masculine gender, and an analysis of examples of gender-stereotyped content in verbal and non-verbal parts of the message. Through the case study, she was interested in whether we can talk about gender-sensitive use of language in the case of teaching materials, and she also included in her analysis the teaching materials for the 4th grade of primary school. She identified two levels of gender stereotyping, namely the space reserved for men and women and the type of professions associated with one or the other gender (intellectually demanding professions are held by men). The authors of the teaching materials certainly pay too little attention to the non-verbal elements of the material, which express huge gender inequalities. Particularly problematic is the generic choice of the masculine form in the instructions, which is not even used consistently – this gives the impression to female and male students that the masculine verb form is not only generic, but also establishes a reference to a purely male addressee.
The author’s thesis focuses on toxic masculinity at the University of Ljubljana. In doing so, he shows the different forms of masculinity and the university as a gendered institution with a long masculine history. The thesis describes the protective, toxic practices that are expressed at the university as discriminatory practices, gender-neutral curricula, gendered knowledge and teaching. Discriminatory practices are explained as toxic, tacit practices of hegemonic masculinity that reinforce the dominance of men over women. These practices, which can be manifested as direct or covert, constitute an obstacle to research and teaching, and are co-produced and reproduced by the university.
The thesis analyses images of masculinity in young people in Slovenia, treating the body as a basis for cultural meanings – through biological signs we determine what is male and what is female. The thesis also examines the socialisation processes of masculinity and femininity and social expectations and practices. Particular emphasis is placed on the hegemonic masculinity, which is considered to be the most widely accepted and discussed form of masculinity. Western societies are thus characterised by the ideal of the white, heterosexual male who is paid for his work, and this -hard to achieve- ideal is opposed by subordinated (gay masculinities) and marginalised masculinities (gender and race).
In the theoretical part, the thesis presents the changes in masculinity in postmodern society, and in the form of in-depth interviews, it tries to find out how the young generation in Slovenia experiences the changes in masculinity. The thesis is based on the changes that different intimate-partner and family relationships have brought to hegemonic masculinity.
This master thesis deals with the concepts of masculinity and men in the context of their relationship to animals and the environment. The master thesis shows that in (late) modern, contemporary societies, human treatment of animals and the environment is extremely problematic and destructive – on the one hand, it causes suffering to billions of living beings and, at the same time, permanently destroys the environment. As one of the reasons for this social reality, the author of the master thesis points to the concept of masculinity. The master thesis shows how the ideas and ideals of hegemonic, dominant masculinity influence men’s values and actions, with a particular focus on masculine norms of restrictive emotionality, sexism and eating that is centred around the consumption of meat. The work also places particular emphasis on exploring environmentalism, veganism and the politics of animal liberation movements – areas that several authors (e.g. Luke, Connell, Adams) have identified as key both to challenging hegemonic masculinities and, as a consequence, to treating animals and the environment in a more humane and less destructive way.
… on raising awareness among the project’s target groups and the Slovenian public about gender stereotypes and prevailing traditional norms of masculinity, which often lead to inappropriate patterns of behaviour.
The key project activities follow the pursuit of the project’s core objectives:
To contribute to raising awareness of gender stereotypes and traditional gender roles among secondary school students;
to empower them to overcome toxic masculinity behaviours that have negative consequences for men themselves and for all those who enter into relationships with them;
sensitise secondary and higher education male and female educators to recognise and act against gender stereotypes;
empower secondary and higher education educators and practitioners with the knowledge and tools to address patterns of behaviour that promote gender inequality.
EMPATH is co-funded by the European Commission under the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme (CERV 2021-2027).
University for Adult Education Celje is a public institution founded by the Municipality of Celje. Its core activity is adult education. We see the meaning and vision of our activity in a modern educational centre, where we try to keep up with all the innovations in the field of education and educate people according to the principles of lifelong learning. The Institute dedicates a major part of its activities to public service. The concern for vulnerable target groups in the local community and beyond remains a constant. The university provides education, training, counselling and support, especially for young people, immigrants, the unemployed, people in prison, pensioners, etc.
IPES is a non-governmental, non-profit and voluntary organisation working to deepen the understanding of gender equality in society. Because of its work that goes beyond the interests of its founders and employees and is of general benefit to society at large, IPES has also been granted public interest status in the field of equal opportunities for women and men. Our vision is based on establishing and promoting activities to build a society that fully transcends barriers due to gender dimensions. Our main objective is thus to draw attention to existing gender stereotypes and socially ascribed gender roles, which, due to expectations, perceptions and patterns of behaviour, impose many constraints and subjugations on us. Our main aim is to raise awareness among different segments of the public about the social construction of these roles and the importance of including all genders in building a community based on the principle of non-discrimination and equal opportunities.
The University of Ljubljana is the oldest and largest higher education and scientific research institution in Slovenia, founded in 1919.Today, it is attended by around 40,000 students and employs more than 6,000 teachers, researchers, assistants, and professional and administrative staff at 23 faculties and three art academies. The main building, the academies and many faculties are located in the city centre. The newer university buildings are located on the outskirts of Ljubljana, giving the university and its students an old-world feel in the city. The University of Ljubljana is renowned for its high-quality social sciences, natural sciences, humanities and technical study programmes, which are prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Bologna Declaration. University researchers and research groups are demonstrating their scientific research work with cutting-edge projects in the arts, sciences and technology at home and abroad.
The mission of the Educational Research Institute is to develop educational sciences and suitable scientific methodologies by encouraging interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary connection, as well as collaboration with other scientific institutions in Slovenia and abroad.Through the dissemination of scientific results, we also contribute to the development of educational practice. The Educational Research Institute implements its mission and vision through scientific research, directed towards specific thematic areas that shall be researched in an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary manner, through contributions provided by different education sciences: sociology of education and knowledge, comparative education, philosophy of education, pedagogical anthropology, developmental, pedagogical, and social psychology, pedagogy linguistics, feminist theories, epistemology, discourse studies, critical theory of society, etc.