This is the fifth activity on gender. This activity can be used as a warming-up or a reflection. You can find more activities on gender here.



5 to 10 minutes


Does not matter, however there must be an odd number of participants.


One chair for every two people.


Participants split into pairs. One person in the pair takes a chair,
places it in the circle and sits in it. The other stands behind the chair
with their hands grasped behind their back. The facilitator stands
behind an empty chair.


To warm up physically before exploring the theme of gender.


The participants are told that those who stand behind the chair are
‘dragons’ while those who sit in the chair are ‘princesses’. The
facilitator explains that every princess wants to leave their dragon
and can only do so by moving to the empty chair. However, in order
to leave their chair and dragon, they must have the spell lifted. The
dragon behind the empty chair is the only one who can remove the
spell. This is done by winking at a princess. If the princess makes
eye contact with a winking dragon she must attempt to move to the
empty chair. The dragon that stands behind her has now an empty
chair, and must search for another princess. (The cycle repeats).
Dragons are told that they can prevent a princess from leaving their
chair by reaching out and quickly tapping them on the shoulders.


This exercise can be used to open up a discussion about control
and freedom as well as the idea of people not being allowed to do
what they want when they want. Participants are asked how gender
stereotypes encourage people to conform.