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​Gender and Gender Identity

Creating Gender-Inclusive Schools and Classrooms

Gender Diversity: Words You Should Know1

  • Assigned Gender: The gender a baby is given upon birth, usually based on the child's birth sex.
  • Binary Gender: The faulty concept that there are only two genders: male and female.
  • Birth Sex/Biological Sex: A specific set of genetic, chemical and anatomical characteristics that we are either born with or that develop as we mature.
  • Cisgender: Describes a person whose birth sex and gender identity align.
  • Genderqueer: A broad descriptor many people use to indicate a person does not identify as either male or female.
  • Gender Expression/Gender Presentation: How we show our gender to the world through external choices (e.g. dress, behavior, hairstyle).
  • Gender Identity: How we feel about our gender in our hearts and minds.
  • Preferred Personal Pronouns: In addition to the traditional pronouns (he/him, she/her, they), some people prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns, such as ne, ve, ze/zie and xe. If you don't know a student's preferred personal pronoun, it's always best to ask.
  • Transgender: Describes anyone whose gender identity and birth sex do not align. The word should be used as, "transgender," not "transgendered." For example, "My brother Sam is transgender. His birth name was Samantha."

Articles, Publications, and Reports

  • Education Resources, Gender Spectrum – This online resource page includes information and links for promoting gender inclusive learning environments for students, including understanding gender, research and reports, information on supporting gender-expansive students, legal and policy issues related to gender and schools, and planning documents (gender inclusive framework, assessment tool, and action planning).

  • Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color: 2016 Updated Report, White House Council on Women and Girls, December 2016 – This report highlights barriers and disparities facing women and girls of color, including issues that impact educational attainment. Specifically, the report provides recommendations for evidence-based interventions around issues of exclusionary discipline, creating trauma-responsive systems of support, improving equity in STEM education, improving access to gender- based and sexual health resources, and promoting gender inclusive career pathways and policies to advance economic opportunity.

  • Where We've Been, Where We're Going: Mobilizing Men and Boys to Prevent Gender-Based Violence, Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project, U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), August 2016 – This report summarizes discussion topics and findings from a roundtable organized by OVW focused on best practices for engaging men and boys in efforts to prevent gender-based violence and promote a healthy masculinities approach to prevention programs.

  • The Gender Spectrum, Teaching Tolerance – This article shares research and insights on how gender identity differs from biological sex, and how educators can help support students who are gender non-conforming or gender expansive. The article also includes a list of "Words You Should Know," as well as questions to consider for creating a gender-inclusive classroom.

  • Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity Through Education, 2nd Edition, 2007, Susan S. Klein (editor) – First published in 1985, the Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity Through Education was a landmark publication and features contributions from educators, scholars, and other experts regarding promoting gender equity in education.

  • Title IX Resource Guide, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), April 2015 – This resource guide provides a comprehensive overview of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded education programs and activities in PreK-12 and postsecondary institutions. Topics covered in the guide include responsibilities and authority of a Title IX Coordinator, administrative requirements (grievance procedures, notice of nondiscrimination), application of Title IX to various issues that arise in education settings, and information collection and reporting.

  • Women in STEM, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – This resource page, developed in collaboration with the White House Council on Women and Girls, includes fact sheets, reports, and resources related to supporting women STEM students and researchers.

  • Resources for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – This online resource page provides an overview of OCR's policy guidance, case resolutions, and other relevant information regarding rights of students under Title IX against discrimination on the basis of sex and gender, including transgender and gender non-conforming students.

Lesson Plans and Activities

  • Gender Doesn't Limit You, Teaching Tolerance – This curriculum includes six lessons developed by educators in Austin, Tx., and researchers at the Gender and Racial Attitudes Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, and examines ways that students can disrupt and address gender bullying and harassment. Topics include peer exclusion, role exclusion, teasing about gendered activities, biased judgments, gendered beliefs, and highlighting gender.

  • A Guide for Gender Equality in Teacher Education Policy and Practices, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2015 – This toolkit includes information and resources for educators related to understanding gender; creating gender-responsive policy and plans for schools; improving institutional culture and climate; developing gender-sensitive support services for staff; promoting gender equality through educator preparation; pedagogy and instructional materials; administrative and management practices for gender-responsive budgeting in teacher prep programs; research; monitoring and evaluation; and advocacy.

  • Toolkit for Creating a Gender-Neutral Day, Teaching Tolerance – This toolkit provides planning and implementation resources for hosting a gender-neutral day in classrooms (grades 3-12).

  • School-Based Curricula, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) – Provides information and resources related to prevention education and for teens and young adults, including links to reviewed curricula that promotes healthy relationships and combats gender-based violence and abuse.

Other Resources

Federal Resources

State Resources