Firefighters redrawing the balance

New film highlights the gender stereotyping of firefighters

A new film has revealed how children, early on in their education, already define career opportunities as male and female.

The film, called ‘Redraw the Balance’, shows how when a group of primary school children were asked to draw a firefighter, surgeon and a fighter pilot, 61 pictures were drawn of men and only 5 were female.

London firefighter Lucy Masoud who took part in the film said the children’s reaction showed how it was important to keep pushing women forward in the service. “I would say to any girl growing up who wants to become a firefighter, don’t let anyone get in your way. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it”, she said. “Only one girl from the group of 60 drew the firefighter as female. It shows how much more needs to be done.”

The film, which was shot on location at Whitstable Junior School in Kent, has been made by the Inspiring the Future charity with the aim of raising awareness of how much needs to be done in order to tackle gender stereotyping.

In ‘Redraw the Balance’ we meet three female ‘teachers’ asking a typical classroom of children to draw people with exciting and aspirational careers; a firefighter, a surgeon, and a fighter pilot. The children then draw 66 pictures in total with only 5 depicting women. They are asked if they would like to meet real-life versions of these drawings and return to the classroom in their uniforms, revealing themselves not to be teachers, but firefighter Lucy Masoud of the London Fire Brigade, Dr Tamzin Cuming, consultant surgeon in London, and Lauren, an active RAF pilot.

Volunteers can sign up with Inspiring the Future and pledge to spend one hour to chat to children about their career.

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