Whether you're a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or simply a friend of young children, you have an opportunity to help them follow their dreams. You can be an encourager of children and their dreams, and you can help them to understand that gender does not have to limit their dreams or expectations. Encourage them to be whatever they want to be when they grow up.
An experiment in the United Kingdom asked children in a classroom to draw pictures of people at work in specific occupations: One was a firefighter. One was a surgeon. And one was a fighter pilot. Not surprisingly, of the 66 children's drawings, 61 of them showed pictures of males in each of those jobs. Only 5 of the pictures were of women in those jobs.
Then to the surprise of the children, the teacher welcomed into the classroom three people who did such jobs. Each of the workers was a woman. The children were then encouraged to ask questions and try on the helmets, stethoscope, etc., of the female workers. This was meant to help shatter the stereotypes and encourage the children.
Researchers say that gender stereotypes set in by the time children are ages 5 to 7. So it's not too early to help children understand that they can pursue their dreams, no matter what they wish to be. It's important to not limit their views and their aspirations. Find a child to encourage today!