By Tess Barbey, Year 9
Gender Segregation is a worldwide issue you have likely heard of, but which isn’t talked about enough. Gender segregation is defined as the physical, legal, and cultural separation of people according to their biological sex. In other words, it is when you are put into a group (Ex: a sports team, cafeteria table etc) according to your gender – “boys with boys, and girls with girls”. This may seem normal, but it has a negative impact on many people in different countries.
At school, we’ve been raised, all of our lives, to separate girl from boy, whether it’s for a sports team, or for a simple game of dodgeball, it’s happened to every single one of us, and for the most part of us, we don’t really care. From the minute you are born, doctors place a pink or blue hat on you, to identify your gender. You aren’t even a few days old yet and you are already put into a certain group. And it continues for the rest of your life.
For me, it wasn’t something that bothered me when I was younger. But just last week, my class and I were on field week, I noticed the huge difference that is made between a girl and a boy. When we were having meals, each table was either filled with girls, or either filled with boys, but it was never mixed up. In each sports activity, the monitors would ask us to put ourselves in groups of girls and boys. This separation is harmful and unnecessary; it limits boys and girls and serves only to reinforce stereotypes. By not getting to know the other gender as well as we know our own, we miss out on interesting conversations and potential friends.
This binary view of gender is especially harmful to young people growing up unsure of their own identity. Imagine how it must be like to be non-binary (when you don’t identify as either girl or boy) or transgender, to have to ‘pick’ a side, to sit at the girls’ or at the boys’ table, when you yourself aren’t sure which category you belong in.
Gender segregation often, if not practically all the time, happens in school. Next time you are in the cafeteria, look around, you’ll see. Does this issue bother you?