Excerpted Articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [1]

Article 2:  Everyone can claim the following rights, despite
– a different sex
– a different skin color
– speaking a different language
– thinking different things
– believing in another religion
– owning more or less
– being born in another social group
– coming from another country.

Article 19: You have the right to think what you want, and to say what you like, and nobody should forbid you from doing so. You should be able to share your ideas – also with people from any other country.

Article 23: You have the right to work, to be free to choose your work, and to get a salary that allows you to live and support your family. If a man and a woman do the same work, they should get the same pay. All people who work have the right to join together to defend their interests.                                               

Article 29: You have duties towards the community within which your personality can fully develop. The law should guarantee human rights. It should allow everyone to respect others and to be respected.


In this lesson, students will learn about gender equality and gain a deeper understanding of how issues of gender equality affect them personally and impact their community. They will further contemplate the effects of genocide after watching Gary Knight Photographer’s Statement Video.

Essential Questions

● Does being a specific gender affect your role and place in your community?

● Have you unknowingly made decisions that were gender biased?


Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

● Acknowledge the role that gender plays in various aspects of a community

● Analyze if their gender impacts opportunities available to them in their community

● Recognize the impact that girls and women have in the Mayange village cluster when they are empowered with education and assume leadership roles


Common Core State Standards




MVP Glossary

Gender Equality: the state of having the same rights, resources and opportunities as others, regardless of one’s gender. Equality between genders is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable, people-centered development.

Materials for Instructor

Crossing the Line exercise and prompts

Gary Knight Photographer’s Statement video


I. Opening Discussion (7 min.)

Lead a follow-up discussion to remind students of the themes discussed in the first lesson. Entry point questions can include:

● What is the definition of genocide?

● What strikes you as important that women from opposite sides of the genocide are now working side-by-side?

● What is resiliency, and can you give an example?


II. MVP Glossary Board (5 min.)

Define gender equality with the class on the MVP Glossary Board.

Target answers: “When boys and girls have the same opportunities to go to school, get job training, and be decision-makers in their community.”


III. Gary Knight Photographer’s Statement Video (9 mins.)

Watch the video.


IV. Gary Knight Photographer’s Statement Video discussion (7-9 mins.)

Entry-point questions can include:

● What struck you the most regarding Gary Knight’s discussion about important changes that occurred in Mayange?

● According to Gary Knight, how are the people of Mayange working together in their communities twenty years after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda?


V. Cross the Room: A Gender Equality Exercise (9 mins.)

Step One

● Clear a space in the room where students can stand shoulder to shoulder to form one line.

● Put a piece of tape on the floor, the length of the line.


Step Two

This activity encourages students to identify potential differences they experience based on their gender. The activity will enable the class to establish a starting point for the discussion of gender equality.

Go over important expectations on class behavior before the activity begins.

● Let students know the activity will take place in complete silence and that we will discuss personal experiences afterward.

● We need to remember our class Rules of Engagement and remain respectful of our peers and what they share.

Step Three

Ask students to line up behind the line of masking tape on the floor, facing the same direction.


Step Four

Begin the activity by saying

“I’m going to call out an experience, and if you have had that experience, please cross the line and turn around to face the students on the other side of the line. If you do not feel comfortable crossing the line, even though you are part of that group, that’s okay. You can stay right where you are and take note of any feelings you are having.”

Note to Teacher: When you tell the group that crossed the line to return, they will return to their original places on the other side of the tape so that the entire group is standing together once more.

VI. Wrap-Up Discussion (5-8 mins.)

Students likely learned a lot about themselves and their peers during the activity. Use this discussion to support them as they assess their own feelings and the significance of what they learned.

Entry-point questions:

● What feelings came up for you during this activity?

● Did you discover anything new about your own beliefs and the beliefs of your classmates?

● Do you think these beliefs affect your school community?


VII. Homework

Ask students to identify one example of how an individual’s gender impacts opportunities, negative or positive, in their community. Ask them to come into the next class prepared to discuss their examples. Excerpted

[1] Amnesty International USA. “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Amnestyusa.org. https://www.amnestyusa.org/training-materials/universal-declaration-of-human-rights/ (accessed September 28, 2018).