On Tuesday November 3rd, WIZO brought about a gender revolution, unveiling a unique new program that adapts gender education for use in its daycare centers. The program will first be implemented among children aged three-years-old and below. The goal of the program is to mold the children's worldview to include ideas of gender equality, to enable both girls and boys to develop according to their own goals and to break down any gender stereotypes that could influence their personalities and ways of thinking.
In the framework of WIZO's Education for Gender Equality program, a "gender" approach will be reflected in the daily educational and therapeutic work of the center. This approach will influence the center's atmosphere, physical surroundings (toys/books/games), activities and even parents. Educational staff at the center will undergo professional training in order to be able to adapt gender-sensitive thinking to their approach in caring for the children. Some of the center's contents will be switched out and activities will attempt to heighten awareness of the subject. Parents will be offered a lecture on raising a family using gender-sensitive thinking.
Examples of implementation:
- Stories, books or toys that promote gender-inequality will be removed from the daycare center.
- Toys and games of various types will be offered equally to boys and girls alike.
- Images and colors featured at the center will not promote gender stereotypes (ex. blue objects for boys/pink objects for girls).
- Content will present male and female heroes, role models and achievements equally.
- Staff members will operate with an awareness and sensitivity to gender issues.
The program, in its first phase, will be a pilot at WIZO's largest daycare center in Jerusalem's Beit HaKerem neighborhood. Lily Ben Ami, Director of the Neora Center for Women at WIZO Jerusalem and director of the new program, remarked, "This project is an attempt to embed the idea of gender equality in Israeli society at the earliest possible age and to teach future generations the values of tolerance and equality. We have no doubt that this will benefit the society at large, making it stronger and more just, with women and men possessing equal rights and opportunities."