Activity 4: Who is the person behind the job?
Students will explore the stereotypes of ‘female’ and ‘male’ jobs.
- Flipchart/ Whiteboard/ Chalkboard
- Markers/ Chalk
- Separate students in six teams and explain them the first part of the exercise: they will be given one profession and they will have to describe the person behind it, in terms of name, gender, where they work and what they do every day. The recommended professions are secretary, babysitter, nail artist, taxi driver, plumber and engineer.
- The teams will have 10 minutes to decide on the description of the professionals.
- When they are finished, each team will have 3-5 minutes to present the person behind the job.
- Write some information on the flipchart, including the name and gender of the person, as well as some things they might do every day.
- After all teams have presented their results, ask the following questions and initiate discussion [15’]:
- How did you choose this person to do this job?
- Do you think a person of the other gender could do this job?
- Do you think the idea that there are female and male occupations could influence young people?
- Do you think that if a man does a ‘female job’ will have different treatment? (e.g. do you think that a male nail artist that will be called ‘gay’?)
- Explain to the students that gender stereotypes might influence our ideas regarding matters of everyday life, such as skills, competences, characteristics, professions etc. that women and men should or should not have or do.
Tips for the teacher:
Some professions (e.g. secretary, babysitter, nail artist) are stereotypically allocated to women, while others (e.g. taxi driver, plumber and mechanic) are stereotypically allocated to men. This socially constructed idea that there are female and male occupations may influence students on choosing a specific career, but also to develop stereotypes about gender; for example, they might think that a woman would not be a good taxi driver or mechanic, or that a man that is a nail artist is gay.
In case students express stereotypical views when discussing the profile of the aforementioned employees, like the fact that women cannot be mechanics, try to encourage the student to explore what has led them to believe so.