This activity encourages self confidence to express an opinion while introducing various human rights issues.

Materials                •   Space
                                •   Chairs, one per participant plus one extra
                                •   Prepared statements

Instructions

1.     Ask everyone to sit on a chair in a circle. There should be one extra, unoccupied chair.
2.     Read out the first statement and tell those who agree with the statement to quickly change places and sit down on another chair. Those who disagree should remain seated where they are. Anyone who cannot decide should stand up, turn around once and sit down again.

Tips for facilitatorsGoto top

This icebreaker is fun and good in its own right. You could end the activity by asking what connection the statements have with human rights; remember, however, that this is an icebreaker, so do not drag any discussion out.
Alternatively, however, the method can be used to introduce an in-depth discussion. In this case you need to focus on your aims and ensure that the statements you use will achieve those aims. You can ask about the participants' different reactions to the statements and where their different beliefs come from.

Another option, if you are working on a particular theme, is to ask participants to write their own statements on pieces of paper; these can then be put in a hat or a box, and read out.
You can choose statements from the following list or let the list inspire you to make your own statements:

  • To have a bad reputation is worse for girls than for boys.
  • It is acceptable for young women not to remove their body hair.
  • It is wrong that shops sell string panties for children.
  • It is acceptable for young women and young men to be good friends.
  • Women are better at cooking than men.
  • Gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.
  • If my friend told me s/he was homosexual, I would still be friends with her/him.
  • Only thin girls can be beautiful.
  • Beauty comes from within.
  • Already in childhood, girls are better at sewing and boys are better at mechanics.
  • Sometimes rape is the fault of the girl/woman.
  • It is masculine to have muscles.
  • Men are good at showing their feelings.
  • Immigrants are always hard working because they have to be.
  • Ballet is not an acceptable occupation for men.
  • It is natural for men to take control and to lead.
  • A male president / prime minister is better than a female one.
  • A husband should not earn less money than his wife.
  • Telling your friends if you are afraid of something reveals weakness.
  • Talking about feelings is not a masculine thing to do.
  • Love fades with time.
  • Sex requires love.
  • Adults' views about sex are old-fashioned.
  • You can find good advice about sex in pornographic magazines.
  • You can find good advice about sex in teenage magazines.
  • All people are equal in value.
COMPASS

Manual for Human Rights Education
with Young People