Brief description of the issue
The gendered job market segregation in Gespeg’ewa’gi is strongly rooted in gender stereotypes. To help children truly picture themselves in the careers they would really to embrace without being influenced by what is traditionally expected from them according to their gender, we have to show them various models and be careful of the examples we choose when talking about careers and jobs.
The Teaching Tolerance website has put together a variety of classroom resources in many social justice domains and on multiple topics. The mission of this organization is “to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy” by providing them free resources. This lesson plan, Jobs and Gender Stereotyping, will help you uncover gender stereotypes that your students might already unconsciously have with a short and fun activity.The lesson plan has been adapted for the needs of this project, but you can find the original activity here.
Before the activity
- Interview the adults working in the school as well as elders from your community to find out what careers they’ve had prior to arriving to the school.
- Make sure to interview a wide variety of adults: nurse, custodian, principal, teachers, librarian and attendance clerk. Careers prior to coming to the school can include everything from newspaper carrier to deputy sheriff. Be sure that you can explain whatever career is identified.
With the students
- Write two lists on the board. On the left hand side, list the adults they know in your school and community. On the right hand side, list the various jobs and careers these adults have held in their past.
- Explain them that their task is to match the job or former career with the person; once they think they have a guess, they can raise their hands and share their speculation. Students can talk to each other, make predictions and share their assumptions openly.
- It should take you 10 to 15 minutes to get all the adults and jobs matched correctly. Here the lesson really begins.
- Ask the students if any of the outcomes surprised them and why. You will probably get a stereotype pertaining to gender or a prejudicial statement regarding appearance.
- There are many directions this lesson can go. It can be interesting to show students that everyone has a work history and that they began in unusual places. Students can see that most adults work up a career ladder and are working towards a goal. Most importantly, you can examine stereotypes around gender, class and the way people look or are perceived.