Pauline the PlumberHow many times do you catch yourself associating a particular type of job with a particular gender? Even though you know that most jobs can be done by either males or females? Why is it still quite easy to think in stereotypes?
I blame the media
The media plays a large part in influencing how we view things. Even from a very early age, children are exposed to stereotypes in adverts on TV, and blatantly targeted marketing.
Children`s TV has given us Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam, but no Pauline the Plumber or Callum the Carer - at least not yet!
I blame the parents
Toys, clothing, games and even who does what around the house can all affect children`s views of how they expect grownups to behave and the roles they expect them to perform.
We may be inadvertently reinforcing gender stereotypes. If a girl plays football or cricket, she might be called a `tomboy`. If a boy cries, he might be called a `sissy`.
Parents may assume from a very early age that certain activities are more suitable for girls or boys, that is, gender specific. Boys do active and outdoor activities and girls play `house`.
The law`s an ass?
In 1970 the Equal Pay Act made it unlawful to pay women less than men for work of equal value. In 1975 the Sex Discrimination Act made equality for men and women possible, particularly in the work place.
But young people to-day are not entering non-traditional jobs in large numbers. There is still a gender pay gap, and women`s career prospects and earning potential do not always match men`s in the long term.
Scotland plc is right to be concerned about this: our economic future depends on getting the right person for the right job, and enabling all employees to fulfil their potential. We cannot afford to have young people missing out on opportunities or being held back.
Education, education, education
So far, 30 odd years on from all that legislation, we`re still seeing boys and girls making markedly different subject choices in S2. Consequently, post school career and course choices become skewed. And we find that female Scottish graduates are earning less five years out of university than their male counterparts.