The resulting video demonstrates that from a young age girls see many professional jobs as having a strong male bias and consequently may steer away from them.
“The good news, as our short three-and-a-half minute film goes on to show, is that positive female role models can quickly and successfully challenge the stereotype of men-only jobs,” says Prospect deputy general secretary Sue Ferns.
“We need many more women in these jobs to meet the skills demand in key areas of our economy. Gender bias stymies both individuals and business.”
The pupils at Wilbury School in Edmonton, were first asked to draw pictures of an archaeologist, firefighter, forensic scientist and an engineer, with the result that most were depicted as men.
The girls are then introduced to female Prospect members representing each of the jobs discussed:
- Mavis Amadi, project controls engineer, Babcock, Rosyth
- Linda Ndebueze, operational planner, Babcock, Rosyth
- Cathryn King, senior forensic scientist, Metropolitan Police
- Dany Cotton, director of safety & assurance, London Fire Brigade
- Sadie Watson, archaeologist project officer, Museum of London Archaeology
Cathryn King, senior forensic scientist with the Met, tells them: “I love finding that piece of evidence that allows you to find the bad person,” while archaeologist project officer Sadie Watson says: “Quite often we’re digging things up and it’s quite hard work but sometimes the things you find haven’t been seen by anybody for hundreds or maybe even thousands of years.”
Babcock’s Mavis Amadi enthuses: “I love my job...there’s no boring moment as an engineer.”
Afterwards, the pupils all agree that these are jobs that can do when they are older, with one remarking: “Before I thought engineering was really like a plumber, but now I’ve actually met one my thoughts have changed.”
The new video forms part of a much wider Prospect campaign that seeks to raise awareness of, and tackle, gender bias. A longer version of the film, and a picture gallery can be viewed here.
Prospect would like to thank all the children and staff of Wilbury Primary School who gave their time and assistance.