Twelve schoolchildren were asked to draw pictures of a football referee, a pilot and a soldier, and only one opted to sketch three women.
Footage of this activity, showing only two others drawing a female soldier and one child a female referee, was screened at a careers event held on Thursday to mark International Women’s Day.
At the event, organised by Business and Professional Women Malta, the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society launched a series of video clips highlighting gender stereotyping.
The foundation is joining the rest of the world in the official #PressforProgress campaign and will be promoting gender equality on social media.
The videos will serve as a backdrop to a question-and-answer session by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca and the Countess of Wessex with secondary school students at the BPW event at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.
Another video shows a group of seven children aged between six and 13 who were asked to categorise toys according to gender. Five placed them in the neutral space between two boxes labelled ‘girls’ and ‘boys’.
Placing the toys in the neutral space seems to have been kick-started by a boy who concluded “both genders can do anything”.
The online campaign focusing on the eradication of gender stereotypes fits in with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which the President’s foundation promotes. The fifth goal calls on every person to play a part in achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
Internationally, much remains to be done to achieve meaningful gender equality. Evidence of the existence of a gender pay gap is rife, along with instances of female harassment and the persistence of harmful gender stereotyping.