There is no time as relevant as International Women's Week #IWD2020 and National @CareersWeek #NCW2020 to debunk some tired gender stereotypes. Between the 2nd and the 6th of March we will celebrate all things careers-based and discuss how some industries still need to do better.

As the week focusses on getting young people into their desired fields, let’s take a look at how gender has previously had a negative impact on this, and what we can do to amend this issue.

Are men and women still treated differently in the workplace?

Customers’ opinions and behaviours undoubtably change in relation to the perceived gender of the job. As well as this, men and women are treated differently when displaying the very same attributes in the workplace. An ambitious woman, for example, might be referred to as ‘bossy’, while a man acting in the exact same manner may be perceived as ambitious.

This trend can be seen from early childhood and must therefore be addressed in schools. Careers week should focus on debunking these gender stereotypes from a young age and make young people aware of the fact that their gender doesn’t confine them to certain career paths.

Why do we perceive some jobs differently to others?

Sadly, people have all-to-often been held back in their careers because of their gender. Not only do we assign gender roles to people within our society, but we also stereotype jobs with these same set of arbitrary rules. Think about the following fields: nursing, engineering, banking, hairdressing — do you automatically assign each career path a typical gender in your head?

We all fall into this trap. Even though times are most certainly changing, some career-based stereotypes are proving hard to shake. What’s more, when men and women do embark on the same career path, they are often treated differently to one another. They are treated differently both by other people within the business and any customers the business is providing a service for.

BBC workplace magazine conducted one study that shows this gender bias in a new light. A relatively new job (which is therefore not-yet assigned to a certain gender) was studied in close detail. The researchers looked at the role of ‘microfinance loan manager’, a role which is split roughly 50/50 between genders. The study considered how loan borrowers responded differently to female loan managers and male managers, who were both in the exact same position.

The results of this study showed a trend of people reacting differently, dependant on whether they considered the job a ‘male’ job or a ‘female’ job. If the first loan collector they were assigned to was male, the customer tended to treat the role with more seriousness, assuming the loan manager had more authority and that this role was typically ‘male’.

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On the other hand, those who had been initially assigned female loan collectors began to think of the position as a ‘female’ role. They were seen to treat the repayments less seriously from then on — even if they were reassigned to male loan managers later. This study proved that the gendering of a job happens in an instant, and it can totally alter customers attitudes toward the role and the person completing it.

What’s being done?

Despite all of this, change is certainly on the horizon. Initiatives such as Women in STEM are encouraging more and more women to enter into traditionally male-dominated workforces such as engineering. In 2018, women made up 21.8 per cent of the engineering sector, and 46.4 per cent of girls aged 11 to 14 said they would consider a career in engineering, a figure that has been seen to gradually increase over recent years. More and more women are set to embark on a career in engineering and construction, either in the planning stages, or on-site, operating cherry pickers.

At the opposite end of the scale, we are also seeing more and more men entering into the nursing profession. In 2019, there was a nine per cent increase of the amount of men applying to study nursing at university and many areas are working hard to keep these numbers on the rise. In Scotland for example, the ambition is to have a 25:75 male: female split in this industry by 2030. These numbers are set to keep increasing, and the gender imbalance that we see in certain careers today will hopefully lessen as time passes.

Although we are not quite there yet, it will the workforce is heading towards gender equality. The concept of gendered jobs is already disappearing as more and more people choose to break the mould.

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Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

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Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

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FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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