Gender equality learning through books - Early Years Network

The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the critical role that early childhood education has in creating a culture of respect to change the story of family violence for future generations.

With this insight in mind, Jayneen Sanders, author, and campaigner for empowering children through books was invited by our Health Promotion Team to present at the latest Early Years Network event:  Promoting learning and knowledge around Gender Equality through books.

Jayneen provided a range of information and strategies on how books, reading time and other language-based activities can be used to promote gender-equitable learning for children, and help break down gender stereotypes.

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Jayneen Sanders said, “From the moment adults know the sex of an unborn child, gender stereotyping is evident; toys chosen, clothes selected, gendered gifts and of course the gender reveal party! For many adults they have no idea how these gender expectations are setting the child up to fit into well-defined gender norms. Research tells us that gender stereotyping is the basis for domestic and family violence — where one gender believes they have power over another. “

“But! We can change this! From an early age we can offer all children a range of toys including blocks, trucks and dolls; we can encourage all children to express their emotions; and we can encourage all children to be daring, brave, smart and follow their dreams!”

By Early Childhood Services using and practicing the tools shared in this network, it further enables them to reach statewide benchmarks for their chosen health priority area: Mental Health & Wellbeing  and Safe Environments as part of the Victorian Government’s Achievement Program.

Health Promotion Officer, Catherine Delaney said, “For educators it is a great opportunity to encourage children to choose books they are interested in rather than letting the marketing world narrow children’s choices and imaginations by telling them what they ‘should like’ and what they ‘should be reading“.

For further information on Early Years Network events, contact Catherine Delaney, Health Promotion Officer on 9757 6278 or email