According to a video made by Education and Employers, children develop gender stereotypes between the ages of 5 and 7 years old, and if their most recent experiment tells us anything, it’s that children are overtly stereotyping careers by gender.
Education and Employers took a class full of children (22 children with an even number of boys and girls) and had three women ask the class to draw a firefighter, surgeon, and fighter pilot. Many of the children shared their pictures and the names they gave them. Out of the 66 drawings made by these children, only 5 of the drawings depicted a woman in the position of a firefighter, brain surgeon, or fighter pilot.
This number is extremely significant in that it showed just how gendered career roles are to children.
Next, the teachers brought in a brain surgeon, a fighter pilot, and a firefighter for the children to meet — and all were women.
Upon seeing these women, the children look unconvinced, surprised, and even a few gasped softly.
Sadly, a young girl exclaimed, “They’re dressed up.”
The professionals then shared that they were actually a brain surgeon, firefighter, and a fighter pilot and then interacted with the children, showing them their gear and talking to them about their jobs.
A video such as this is extremely significant and shows that young girls and boys are not being raised with the idea that women are just as capable in any career as men. Gender stereotypes in careers among children might just be one of the reasons why there are so few women in many male dominated fields like STEM careers, police and firefighter forces, mechanics, and more. Girls and boys aren’t being raised to know that there are women in those career fields, which must change.
If this video advises us to do anything, it’s to teach children that gender does not limit their future or their career paths, and we would do well to remind them of that everyday.