Kindergartens - ways to implement gender mainstreaming

A girl is playing with a wooden railway.

The aim is to provide girls and boys with as many different opportunities as possible. Gender-sensitive early childhood education builds on the four pillars of staff concept, space concept, education and parental work.

Staff concept

Female and male kindergarten staff must demonstrate a variety of different role models. Children are shown that women and men exchange responsibilities traditionally designated as specifically female or male. Municipal Department 10 - Vienna Children's Day Care Centres (MA 10) has launched a campaign for more male teachers at kindergartens in Vienna.

Space concept

It is important to consciously avoid predetermining the purpose of different play areas. The pilot kindergarten fun&care uses open play areas not predefined instead of assigning corners for dolls or building blocks. Toys are stored in flexible, neutral containers on wheels to stop children from always grabbing the same toy. Boys no longer seize the building blocks for themselves and girls don’t get stuck in the doll corner.

Education, teaching material

Greater emphasis must be placed on choosing the right books and songs away from the classical ones featuring mothers as homemakers and serious looking fathers preferably putting in an appearance at suppertime or at school report day. Children’s books today pay heed to the changing roles of fathers taking care of the home and mothers working outside the home. Boys are taught to change diapers and not just build garages, while girls build skyscrapers on top of making their dolls’ beds and they learn to assert themselves.

Parental work

Mothers and fathers are active parts of a child’s living environment. Information letters must be addressed to both - to the "dear parents" - and not just the mothers. Mothers tend to be more visible so out of habit they become the recipients of letters and requests. "Dear Mum, we need a change of clothing!" Fathers too are involved and must be asked to participate in excursions and parent teacher nights.

Contact for this page:
Office for Gender Mainstreaming
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