If I Were a Woman? a Men?



To provide solutions to improve understanding and communication and to address gender stereotypes. Ex: my contribution as newly woman, newly man, my message, my actions, etc.


Target Audience

Cycle two secondary students Adult audience


About 30 minutes


Paper, pencil


Note to the facilitator

The facilitator can enrich the discussion with different questions such as:
  • Are these absolute truths for men and women?
  • Do these notions of difference apply to you and to people you know?
  • Were these differences the same 100 years ago?
  • Do these differences come from learned or innate behaviours?
  • Why do we claim that there are so many differences between women and men?

Then, participants can discuss with the group what they noticed during the exercise and what changes they would like to make, either on a personal or societal level.

Cultural alternative
This exercise can also be done from a cultural perspective: the participant can become an Aboriginal woman or man.

At the end of this activity, the facilitator should observe the following with regards to the participants:
  • The ability to recognize some of the challenges and difficulties encountered by the other gender in our society;
  • A better mutual understanding.

I got married in 1966, my husband was non-Indian. We get married, and I learn afterwards that I am no longer Indian: “Now you are no longer Indian; you have lost your rights.” Except that this did not happen to our brothers; our brothers, they could get married with anyone, whatever their nationality; for them it did not change anything, it was the opposite, the women they married, if they were non-Indian, automatically took the status of Indian.

Jocelyne Gros-Louis, Huron-Wendat



Steps and Procedure


Present the video :

AKIENDA LAINÉ (filmmaker)
Missing Women, 2017
Produced by La Boîte Rouge VIF
Video of 9 min 36 s

Vox pop with First Peoples, about gender relations and the issue of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls.




Present the video :

Tribute to the Contribution of Aboriginal Women to Cultural Transmission, 2017
Produced by La Boîte Rouge VIF
Video of 6 min 54 s




On paper, the participants imagine being the opposite gender,
giving themselves a first name, and explaining their reality: married, parent, work, family, etc. They must describe their new reality as a man or a woman: such as the changes in their lives, their new responsibilities, what becomes easier, etc.

Ask participants to flist their thoughts in response to this question:

Other than physical differences, what do you consider to be the main differences between men and women?


[...] Aboriginal women face many challenges in their communities. Challenges which are still mainly managed by men. “Out of 45 Aboriginal leaders in Quebec, only 7 of them are women.”

However, with regards to all positions of governance – “Grand Chief” and “Little Chief”, equivalent to adviser; about 40% are held by women.

Even though women are increasingly present, they need to redouble their efforts to engage leaders in topics that matter to them, such as education, culture and family.

Isabelle Picard, Huron-Wendat. Anthropologist, museologist and lecturer UQAM. (Le Devoir, Une école d’été pour dirigeante autochtone, July 31, 2017

Men and women each have a role to play within the family. [...] Nowadays, there are times when there is an imbalance; women have taken more place, while men have backed off, but it takes a balanced family.

There have been considerable feminist movements and men are afraid of showing a lack of respect, of not leaving enough room so men tend to fade into the background.

It's not only in communities. It's everywhere. But it's important. When you see a man take his place, it maintains balance within the family. So that boys may grow up understanding their place, their identity.

Rose-Anne McDougal and Anne Tremblay, Anishinabeg

Today, there are women advisers, there are some who have studied extensively, in law for example. Women assert themselves. When I look at these women in positions like these, they’ve taken care of their families, they’ve taken care of their children. Today, my three daughters have a good job. They have good children.

Mariette Niquay-Ottawa, Atikamekw

There is a song that says, “I kill the caribou, but it’s my wife who finishes it”. She takes what is needed to make crafts, leather, etc. It’s not dead until I have taken everything there is to take. It's a process that involves more than just death. As a couple, both partners participate. The woman participates a lot. Women take care of small game. The transformation is done completely by women. Just like with snowshoes, the man makes the frames, while the woman cleans and cuts the hide and does the weaving.

Richard Mollen, Innu

With the advent of Catholicism, these traditional complementary gender roles have changed and even more so with the Indian Act which is an entirely patriarchal law designed to render the woman submissive to the man, basically to diminish the importance of the role of the transmission of women’s culture.

Mélissa Mollen Dupuis, Innu