Are OWL classes or activities split along gender lines?
OWL is gender-inclusive in keeping with its commitment to social justice and educational quality. The benefits of gender-inclusive OWL meetings include:
- Participants can learn a great deal from people with other viewpoints and life experiences;
- Participants gain comfort communicating about sensitive issues with people of all sexual identities;
- Participants are not required to "pick a gender" for activities or workshops; this is important in terms of self-empowerment, privacy, and safety.
Some parents feel that their children and adolescents would be more comfortable in same-gender workshops about puberty, but typically, children enjoy and prefer mixed-gender groups. In some instances, such as when concerns related to puberty are addressed, facilitators have the option to split participants into same-gender groups with a same-gender facilitator. Another option is to conduct a mixed-gender discussion with anonymous question cards or to create discussion groups topic-specific, so that anyone interested in learning about puberty from the female perspective is in one group, with another group learning the male perspective.