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Specific Techniques for Helping to Eliminate Sex Discrimination in the Classroom

  • Avoid universal generalizations about any social group. Base your general statements on accurate information.
  • Respect all students. Avoid humor that demeans other people on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, physical appearance, or physical ability.
  • Find a comfortable alternative to using generic masculine terms such as "man" or "he" to refer to people of both sexes. They tend to render women invisible.
  • When illustrating a point with examples, avoid stereotypes such as making all men authority figures & all women subordinates.
  • Choose course material that does not perpetuate sex stereotypes.
  • If you must use course material that deprecates or ignores one gender or another, be clear with your students about why the material warrants their consideration.
  • Add a question concerning discriminatory behavior in the classroom to teaching evaluation forms.
  • Monitor your behavior as a teacher, or ask someone to observe you for the following patterns:
  1. Do you give more time to men than to women students?
  2. Do you treat men more seriously than women?
  3. Are you systematically more attentive to questions, observations, and responses made by men?
  4. Do you direct more of your own questions, observations, and responses to men than to women?
  5. Do you assume a heterosexual model when referring to human behavior?


Paludi, Michele & Richard Barickman. (1991). Academic & Workplace Sexual Harassment: A Resource Manual. New York: State University of New York Press.

For more information, please see Improving Classroom Climate in Science and Engineering.