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Jessica Walton: Sorting out Gender

Session Info:

Kids are dealing with a world where toys, clothing and even books are being ‘sorted’ for them into boys and girls sections. Jess will ask the kids to sort a selection of items into three piles: boys, girls and both.

If the children have decided to allocate it to a particular gender, Jess will help them explore what was behind that decision. Where did the idea that this item was gendered come from? Can we ‘de-gender’ this item? Can we make the both pile bigger? Can everything go in the both pile?

Jess will help kids understand that items don’t have a gender, and that anyone can wear, play with or read anything they like!

She will also read the kids her book Introducing Teddy, which is all about being yourself and being a good friend. It also gently introduces kids to the concept of gender identity.

The session can also include a craft activity (suitable for younger primary children) where kids decorate bows and wear it as a hair bow or a bow tie, or both! Discussion about how boys and girls can wear it whichever way they like, as long as it makes them happy!

This session is also available in a longer format (most suitable for older primary children) where hobbies and jobs are sorted into girl/boy/both columns, discussed, and hopefully de-gendered.


  • Gender stereotypes and expectations
  • De-gendering books, clothes and toys (and hobbies/jobs in longer session for older kids)
  • The importance of being yourself
  • Being kind and respectful to others
  • Celebrating diversity and difference
  • Gentle introduction to concept of gender identity

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