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Created: 06 February 2012 | Last Updated: 03 September 2015 | Printer Friendly Version Printer Friendly Version | Make Text Smaller Make Text Larger |

Close the Gap’s ‘Be What You Want’ – A School Resource to Combat Gender Stereotyping

The stereotyping of female and male roles means that women and men are concentrated into specific jobs. Women and men employed in ‘women’s work’, such as cooking and cleaning, are generally the lower paid and often viewed as having lower status. This undervaluing of women’s roles permeates all areas of the labour market.

Despite the improvement in educational attainment of girls and young women, choices are constrained by assumptions about women’s capabilities and suitability for specific roles.  Women and men are still segregated into jobs and industries which are based on stereotypes.

The subjects girls and boys study at school, and in tertiary education, are also heavily segregated according to gender, where there is a particular under-representation of girls in science, engineering and technology.

The Be What You Want campaign aims to help young people make informed decisions about subject and career choices. The campaign is primarily targeted at young people aged between 11 and 14.

At this age young people are deciding what subjects to concentrate on at school, and perceptions about work and gender are hardening into attitudes that will influence both subject choice and then career choice.

The Close the Gap campaign has produced a series of posters and comic strips depicting the different situations young people might experience when making decisions about their future. A campaign pack, which also includes a resource for teachers, has been sent to every primary and secondary school in Scotland.

Close the Gap, of which the STUC is a key partner, has also delivered a number of sessions on the Be What You Want campaign to pupils in schools across Scotland, which explore gender stereotyping and the causes of the gender pay gap. Women in Scotland currently earn 11% less than men when average hourly pay is compared, and 32% less when women’s part-time hourly pay is compared with men’s full-time hourly pay.

Information on the Be What You Want campaign can be found at www.bewhatyouwant.org.uk where campaign materials can also be downloaded.

For further information, campaign materials, or if you are interested in Close the Gap delivering a session in your school, please contact Anna Ritchie, Email: aritchie@stuc.org.uk or Tel: 0141 337 8146.

Close the Gap is a partnership project which works across Scotland with trade unions and employers to encourage and enable action to address the gender pay gap. www.closethegap.org.uk