• What Happens When Children Are Asked to Draw a Surgeon, Firefighter, and a Fighter-Pilot – Re: Gender Stereotyping in Occupations

 What Happens When Children Are Asked to Draw a Surgeon, Firefighter, and a Fighter-Pilot – Re: Gender Stereotyping in Occupations

Watch what happens when you ask kids to draw a surgeon, a firefighter and a fighter-pilot

How early are gender stereotypes ingrained? This video has the answer.

You may think we’ve come a long way from the days when a nurse was assumed to be female and a doctor male, but a recent experiment involving young primary school students suggests otherwise.

When asked to draw images of a fire fighter, jet pilot and surgeon, over 90 per cent of students in a British classroom identified their drawings as male.

Their surprise when they were confronted with women in those uniforms goes to show just how deeply rooted their assumptions were.

A video produced by Inspiring the Future shows the children’s surprise as the three professionals that have come to meet them are revealed to be women. One student yells, “fake” while another insists “they’re dressed up”.

Children as young as pre-school start pondering what they want to be when they grow up, but behaviour around the home, toys, and images from the media, shape children’s perception of what certain professions look like.

If what young girls and boys imagine is heavily influenced by gender roles, a host of career options can effectively become closed to them – something which they may carry with them as they grow.

As the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner explains, “a gender stereotype is harmful when it limits women’s and men’s capacity to develop their personal abilities, pursue their professional careers and make choices about their lives and life plans.”

In this way stereotypes can further inequality as evidenced both in the types of professions young women and men gravitate towards, and the gender pay gap, which currently sees Australian women earn 83 cents for every dollar a man earns (or $261 less a week).

There’s a lot to learn from these kids’ reactions to a female fire fighter 

Children start making assumptions about gender stereotypes at a young age and harmful ones can negatively influence their future career path.

Redrawing The Balance

There’s an interesting riddle which goes along the lines of:

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies at the scene and the son is rushed to the hospital.

At the hospital the surgeon looks at the boy and says, “I can’t operate on this boy, he is my son.” How can this be?

Did you figure it out?

The surgeon is his mother.

On hearing the riddle, many people are confused, or take a few seconds to find the answer. The reasoning behind the delay is something that you have likely never even thought about: ingrained gender stereotype. It’s the reason why when you hear of a surgeon, many immediately picture a man, instead of a woman.

Redraw The Balance, a brilliant campaign by leading creative agency MullenLowe London for the charity Inspiring the Future, aims to change this.

Gender stereotypes are defined between the ages of 5 and 7 years old.

When a class of 22 children between the ages of 5 and 7 in the UK were asked to draw a firefighter, surgeon and a fighter pilot, 61 pictures were drawn of men and only 5 were female.

The powerful two minute film depicting this was shot on location at Whitstable Junior School in Kent and captures how, “early on in their education, children already define career opportunities as male and female”.

After drawing their images, the children are stunned to see that the women they’d originally been in the classroom drawing images with, are actually a firefighter, surgeon and a fighter pilot.

“Not one person, apart from one girl, put the firefighter down as a female.” – Lucy, Firefighter, London Fire Brigade

Exposing children to a variety of positive role models at a young age is important, especially as girls decide to leave STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Maths) by the age of 11, when they’re in an education system where the choice of subjects severely limits their options for working in other fields later.

 To encourage more girls to consider a future career in STEM you need to inspire them when they’re young and provide them with tangible, visible role models, to prevent ingrained gender stereotypes from developing.

…These are important stats to consider and highlights the importance of the #RedrawTheBalance campaign to show young girls that they too can achieve their career goal, and be a pilot, firefighter or surgeon if they want to be.

The female fighter pilot, firefighter and surgeon also each give an insight into their professional experiences, describing the barriers they overcame and the challenges they still face, doing what many perceive as a man’s job.

…On why she became a pilot: “I decided to be a pilot quite a long time ago. I was sitting in a school classroom and the teacher was talking about the countries in the world, saying that there were so many and no-one gets to visit them all. I was feeling quite defiant that day and decided I would, and to do that I had to become a pilot.”

On what advice she’d give other girls wanting to be a pilot: “In my opinion what you need to become a pilot is to be enthusiastic, passionate, driven and to be able. None of those traits are gender specific.” – Lauren, Pilot, Royal Air Force

‘He’s big and strong’: Children are stunned to meet female firefighters, surgeons and RAF pilots – after drawing MEN doing those jobs in a social experiment 

-Children aged five to seven drew pictures of people doing different jobs
-Nearly all drawings of firefighters, surgeons and pilots featured men
-Video shows the class looking shocked as three women walk into the room

They say gender stereotyping begins at a young age, and that was certainly the case when a group of primary school children were asked to draw people doing different jobs.

A video shows a group of five to seven-year-olds at Whitstable Junior School, Kent, being told to draw pictures of what they think a firefighter, surgeon and fighter pilot look like.

Nearly all the drawings feature men with names like Gary or Simon, with one child adding: ‘He’s big and strong’.

Primary school children reveal reality of gender stereotyping

But when the children were given the chance to meet three people doing these jobs, they weren’t who they expected to see.

Tamsin, an NHS sugeon, Lauren, an RAF pilot and Lucy, a firefighter from the London Fire Brigade, come into the classroom.

The children appear to be shocked that all three are women, but quickly begin quizzing them about their jobs.

Of the 66 pictures drawn by the children that day, only five of them were women.

In the video, the youngsters talk about the men they have drawn. One says ‘Mine’s called firefighter Gary’, while another describes his firefighter as being ‘big and strong’.

When asked what his surgeon is called, a boy replies: ‘Jimbob. He’s a brain surgeon’.

Other children add that ‘he would wear a stethoscope’ and ‘he gives you medicine.

When describing their pilots, one boy says ‘This is his jet plane’ while another adds that ‘he rescues people’.

The charity’s Inspiring Women campaign aims to get women into schools to talk about their careers.

The campaign calls on women to pledge an hour of their time to break down stereotypes of all kinds in schools.

Redraw The Balance Video


More On This Blog:

Stereotype Threat, Girls, Women, Text Anxiety, and Choosing Careers

Are Schools or Pedagogical Systems Designed to Favor Girls Over Boys? No, Not By and Large

Capt. Mariner (Ret.), First U.S. Woman, Navy Jet Pilot, To Be Honored by All-Female Flyover at Her Funeral

 Jordan Peterson Critiques and Commentary – He’s the Secular Complementarian

The Woman Who Smashed Codes: America’s Secret Weapon in World War Two a book by Jason Fagone

You Say You’re Against Victimhood Culture Yet You Depict All Men As Victims

The Problem with ‘Facts Not Feelings’ by J. R. Wood Jr.

A Blue Pigment Suggests that Women of That Time Were More Involved Than Thought in Producing Religious  Texts

Tammie Jo Shults, a Former Navy Fighter Pilot, Safely Brought the Plane to Land After the Explosion at 32,000 Ft

 Day In The Life: What It’s Like To Be A Female Pilot At 40,000 Feet by Katherine Love

James Damore Doesn’t Understand Women in STEM — or Even STEM Itself by Tabatha Southey

Do All Or Most Women Innately Prefer Non-Tech Careers? Re: James Damore Google Memo (part 1)

The James Damore Google Tech-Bro Meme Stating that Women are Biologically Unsuited to Work at Tech Professions (Part 2)

The Words “Feminism” or “Feminist” – Why They’re Problematic And Aren’t Clear – And Why I Don’t Use the Label for Myself

Conservatives Are Wrong to Dismiss Feminism by S. Quinlan

The James Damore Google Memo: Biological or Not?

Women (and the men) Who Argue Against Feminism, Who Claim Men and Masculinity Are Under Attack, Or Who Insist That There is Little, to No, Sexism In The U.S.A.

The Anti-Feminism Conservative Bias – (written by a Conservative)

Let’s Say Good-Bye To The Straw-Feminist by Cordelia Fine

This Is Not About All Men. Don’t Make It About You.

Take It From A Woman Who Has Worked In Tech For 25 Years: This Is No Witch Hunt by Stacey Epstein

The Growing Partisan Divide Over Feminism by Peter Beinart – The Republican and Conservative Women Who Want to Remain in Denial About American Sexism

Christian Gender Complementarianism is Christian-Endorsed Codependency for Women (And That’s Not A Good Thing)

Article by H. Farrell that Muses About the Possible Reasons For The Extreme Push Back Against Equality and Feminism, Particularly by Conservative Men

On Men Not Believing Women and Being Blind to the Sexism and Harassment Women Often Endure

Female Coders Are Rated More Highly Than Men – Except When People Know They’re Women

The Biggest Myth About Our Brains is That They are “Male” or “Female” Lila MacLellan

Assessing Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life by Greg Boyd

Examples of Girls and Women Being Assertive at Work, in Life, Women as Rescuers and Heroines

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