Quick escape


Helping parents give children equal opportunities.

Our Watch research shows parents want their children to have equal access to opportunities regardless of their gender. However, while parents want to challenge limiting gender stereotypes, many find it’s not always easy to recognise where and how these stereotypes affect children. 

To help parents with this, and to provide support and practical guidance in challenging stereotypes, Our Watch has created #BecauseWhy.
#BecauseWhy is for families who want children to learn, explore and develop all the skills they’re interested in without the limitations that come with gender stereotypes. While children see gender stereotypes all around them, research shows that parents and families are the most powerful influence of young children's understanding of gender. 

Families can encourage children to develop positive personal identities and respectful relationships that are not constrained by gender stereotypes. As parents, you can question and challenge stereotypical constructions of gender roles, masculinity and femininity, and support children to explore whatever they're interest is regardless of rigid gender associations.

Why it matters to preventing violence against women and their children

Violence against women begins with inequality, disrespect and sexist attitudes. This is a national problem, and the drivers are deep in our culture and society. To change this requires prevention strategies that reach everyone in our community, and strategies that work to change the social norms that drive this violence.

Experiences in childhood have a particularly strong influence and can impact development and future life paths. Change the Story also identifies that traditional notions of parenthood, and particularly the gendered roles and identities associated with caring for children can exert a powerful influence on how new parents approach and negotiate parenting roles. 

Why we’re talking about it now

Our Watch established a partnership with MIMCO in March 2016, through which MIMCO is funding the research, development and implementation of this project.

This work complements Our Watch’s work with other settings and audiences including primary schools, secondary schools, workplaces, sporting clubs and young people.

With MIMCO’s funding support Our Watch has been able to undertake new research looking at gender stereotypes in early years. This has included a literature review, a survey of over 800 parents and the development of a discussion paper on early childhood and parenting.  

Based on the findings from this research Our Watch has developed online resources to help parents to identify limiting gender stereotypes and support them to challenge the limitations these place on their boys and girls.