I ran this exercise with 12 young people aged 9 to 16 on one occasion this week, returning sheets to be worked further on to find the right answered. Eventually one 12 year old girl, having being reminded it was International Women's Day and of the word 'stereotype' finally said, 'We can't know because women can be builders and men can be nurses.'
The same week 20 pupils from a local school aged 12-15 were puzzled to the point where it had to be explained because their ideas of gender roles were so entrenched that it was hard to see otherwise.
I have been 'caught out' by exercises like this, as many of the teachers and youth workers were this week. It doesn't feel good but it is a wake up call, reminding us to pay better attention. And not fall into the prejudicial views that are born from and breed stereotypes and the discrimination which may follow.
This act of kindness will be one which has a knock on effect in the way we think and act in the future and maybe you can try the exercise out on someone else and spread some more understanding.
- More on gender stereotypes.
- Check out this riddle - should be easy to solve now !