Gender Roles and Relationships Print

A Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program

Purpose: To examine how gender roles affect relationships

Materials: Leader's Resource, Gender Role Case Studies

Time: 40 to 50 minutes

Planning Notes: Choose case studies from the Leader's Resource, Gender Role Case Studies, or substitute your own if they are more appropriate


  1. Explain to teens that stereotypes about gender roles can affect our relationships. Explain that this activity will explore situations where gender roles and stereotypes might affect teens' goals, decisions, and relationships.
  2. Divide participants into small groups and go over instructions for the activity: Each small group will receive a case study involving issues of gender roles. Work to resolve your case study, then prepare to present your solution. You will have 10 minutes. When you present your solution, others can challenge it while you defend it. Be sure to have convincing reasons to back up your solution.
  3. When time is up, ask for a volunteer to present the case study and its solution. Then invite any challenges. Arguments are okay as long as the group sticks to the ground rules. Allow 'debate' to go on for two or three minutes, assisting either side as appropriate, before moving on to another small group. Repeat the process until the entire group discusses and debates all case studies.
  4. Conclude the activity using the Discussion Points below.

Discussion Points:

  1. Is it easy or hard to look at male and female roles in a new and nontraditional way? Why or why not?
  2. How do men or women accept changes in traditional gender roles? Why?
  3. What are some of the ways changing gender roles have affected relationships between men and women in a) social settings, b) families, and c) the workplace?
  4. Would your parents reach the same or different solutions?
  5. Which case study was the most difficult? Why?
  6. If you could make one change in men's gender roles, what would it be? In women's roles, what would it be?
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