Do these stereotypes persist today?
To an extent this is still an extremely prevalent issue. With more and more girls being engineers, mathematicians and chemists, it is safe to say that there has been extreme development in the mindset. However, we still see women who are studying these degrees considered to be “risktakers”. Even though it is exceptional that young girls can make the choice, their step to want to undertake these degrees should be normalised.
Cultures, beliefs and backgrounds play a big role in the professional expectations of young girls and boys, and many times these beliefs are imposed on them regardless of their personal choice. Young girls are given the opportunities, but the opportunity is clouded in judgement, the expectation that they should exceed because they are making a “daring” move, and a lot of societal pressure to be an all-rounded individual at the same time. Therefore, the barrier has been lifted from the ground, but there’s still a long way before it is entirely eradicated.
How does the Academy continue to lift the barrier?
At the nursery level, there is almost no awareness of what gender means, and therefore, there is inclusion in all aspects. We ensure that occupations are taught in a non-gendered approach. Every child can envision themselves in the position of a chef, actor, doctor, or engineer.
The stereotypes come into play from around age seven. That is when it is key to focus further on making young girls and boys understand the importance of stepping out of the box they are placed in; longstanding tolerance of gendered stereotypes is what eventually creates a divide in young people’s minds.