Children's Drawings of Different Jobs Show How Gender Stereotypes Affect Kids

September 7th 2016

Almie Rose

Leave it to the children to show us how gender stereotypes are ingrained in all of us at a young age.

A video produced by the marketing firm MullenLowe London for the UK-based education charity, Inspiring The Future, shows us what happens when a group of children ages 5-7 were asked to draw a firefighter, an air force pilot, and a surgeon.

When the children were finished, one trend was evident:

Sixty-one of the drawings depicted all three jobs as men.

Which explains why when a female firefighter, pilot, and surgeon showed up to the classroom, the kids were stunned (and female classmates seemed delighted).

This isn't meant to shame the children for their preconceptions.

Really, it's a look into how gender norms subtly affect growing children. It's not their fault, necessarily — if men are frequently depicted in certain ways and women in others, it makes sense that kids only see that one depiction. It also shows how the self-perpetuating cycle works; men are statistically more likely to hold these jobs, leading children to believe it's supposed to be that way, and discouraging girls from pursuing male-dominated professions. 

"Gender stereotypes are defined between 5 and 7 years of age" the video proclaims. Which means it's on us to show a wider notion of what roles men and women can play. Men can be caretakers and women can be workers.

Richard Denney, Executive Creative Director of MullenLowe London explains why different depictions are important, saying

"It’s our responsibility as working professionals, as well as educators, to encourage and inspire young minds that the majority of jobs and roles today are available for women, and not just men. These young minds are our future."

You can watch the full video below.

[h/t Mashable]