Teaching Children Fairness: Decreasing Gender Prejudice Among Children


  • Acknowledgments: This research was funded in part by a Service Learning Mini Grant through the Office of Student Leadership & Civic Engagement at Colorado State University. This study is based on the first author's dissertation, which was supervised by the third and fourth authors.

Britney G Brinkman, Counseling Psychology, Chatham University, Woodland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15232 [e-mail: bbrinkman@chatham.edu].


Elementary school children (66 girls and 55 boys, aged 10–13 years) in the Western United States participated in a program designed to teach them about fairness and to decrease their engagement in gender-prejudice behaviors. The study utilized a pretest/posttest design comparing students in the treatment group to students in a control group. Children and teachers completed measures regarding the children's engagement of gender prejudice among their classmates, and students participated in focus groups after completing the program. At posttest, students in the treatment group reported experiencing less gender-prejudice by their classmates than students in the control group. Teachers also reported fewer gender-prejudice behaviors by the students in the treatment group. Qualitative analyses of the focus groups revealed that the students reported learning to challenge gender role stereotypes and endorsed a commitment to treating boys and girls fairly.