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Teachers: PSHE: Prejudice

Last Updated: Friday March 11 2005 17:39 GMT

Take our Daughters to Work Week

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Study and careers


This annual event encourages girls to broaden their career horizons by experiencing professions as diverse as forensic science and politics.

How would students help their own children overcome career preconceptions?

Learning aims
  • Meaning of 'prejudice' and 'stereotype'

  • How to break down barriers in career choices


Prejudice - an opinion formed beforehand

Stereotype - a conventional perception of something

Explain that the students will look at the range of careers available to them.

Sketch a professional
Ask students, working individually, to draw cartoons showing the following five professions. They have only one minute to draw each professional.

Read through the list in order. Pause for one minute between each job to allow students to draw.

  • Pilot
  • Nurse
  • Scientist
  • Ballet dancer
  • Fire fighter

Were they sexist?
Using a show of hands ask students to reveal the gender of their cartoon characters. How many have drawn the pilot as a man? How many have drawn the nurse as a woman?

Introduce definitions of prejudice and stereotypes.
How could these preconceptions be damaging to students when they decide which career path to follow?
Prompts- low expectations, wasted talent, in the wrong job

After the activity read the news story

Display the images from the page

and ask the class:

  • How do these images make you think again about particular careers?

  • Are there jobs that cannot be done by both sexes?
Main activity

Imagine you have a daughter
In the future many of the students will have their own daughters. They must ensure that their imaginary offspring know about all the career options open to them. To do this they will plan a week of work experience

Planning work experience
The imaginary daughters will do five days work experience. They should visit at least one workplace a day. Students should prepare an itinerary that looks at different types of skills and different areas of interest.

What is she like?
Their imaginary daughter has the following attributes.

  • An interest in maths
  • Loves of physical activity
  • Is good at art
  • Enjoys writing
  • Likes working with people
They must find at least one days work placement for each of the attributes (eg one day accounting, one day designing etc). Ideas can be found in telephone directory.

Extension activity

Turn the itinerary into a pamphlet illustrated with drawings or pictures from magazines.


Ask the class:

How can parents encourage young people, especially young women, to try non-traditional work?

Work experience placements for pupils aged 14 or 15 are an area where traditional views of work may either be challenged or reinforced.

How can students make the most of work experience?
Young people frequently arrange their own placement through family contacts, often in stereotypical work areas. They should try to do something that really interests them.

Teachers' Background
  • Take our Daughters to Work is a special day run by Girlguiding UK. It offers girls the opportunity to learn more about the world of work, and to experience the wide range of careers they could pursue.

  • Independent research, commissioned by Girlguiding UK, found that more than one in three girls say their greatest hope for the future is "having a successful career". This is the most frequently mentioned aspiration.

  • One aim of the Sex Discrimination Act (1975) was to challenge workplace stereotypes.

  • Girls overall continue to excel in the classroom but many girls focus on traditional, low-paid jobs predominantly in caring or clerical roles.

  • Boys overall are lesser achievers at school but emerge in the workplace in more exciting and higher-salaried positions.

  • The introduction of the National Curriculum in the 1980s meant that all young people studied English, Maths and Science up to the age of 16. This removed many of the gender inequalities in subject take-up that previously existed.

  • Findings show that few people study subjects or jobs that they associate with the opposite sex. This is true at school or college and also in later in life.
Vocational courses:
  • 12,000 young people enrolled on GNVQs in England and Wales and SCOTVECs in Scotland last year.

  • But the occupational choices on GNVQs and SCOTVECs are strongly stereotyped.

  • Largely, girls train to be hairdressers and boys to be car mechanics and computer specialists.

  • Numbers opting out of parts of the National Curriculum are expected to increase as the schemes are extended.
For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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