Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

Aiming to help children and young people to understand, question and challenge gender inequality and violence.

Gender and Careers

The main thing I found from the questionnaire was that pupils in my school had a very gendered understanding of job roles. Almost all pupils believed household roles, such as cleaning, cooking and childcare should be undertaken by women and that women should not work. There were some cases were pupils believed specific jobs, namely medicine and law enforcement, were unsuitable for women and some, such as teaching, were unsuitable for men. Despite this, most girls aspired to have a career. However, this seemed to be a belief held at the same time as the belief that they would need to undertake the roles described above, and that they would definitely have children. Often, the girls had more aspirational aims for work (in terms of traditional views of aspirational roles i.e. well paid and highly qualified). The primary career options for the boys were professional footballer, taxi driver or shop owner.

To address this I planned a number of sessions culminating in an equal opportunities job fair, at which women and men would represent roles not traditional for their gender. In the end, my time was so wholly consumed with the admin of the job fair that this became the sole focus.

The job fair, however, was a great success. The children were enthused and engaged and their understanding, particularly about police officers, was successfully challenged. Many children expressed the fact that their understanding had been altered and almost all children said that they would like to have one of the roles that they learned about.