Addressiong Profession Discrepencies in the USA

Unit Essential Question:  What types of gender roles are found in our classroom and community?  How do these roles change when you are in different places or with different people?

Lesson Essential Question:  What types of jobs do women in our community have?  What types of jobs do men in our community have?  What women have helped change these stereotypes?

NCSS Standards:
·         Standard 4: Individual Development and Identity

o   This lesson investigates how some jobs are stereotypically for a specific gender and how our awareness of these discrepancies can help students realize that they can be anything that they want to be when they grow up (regardless of their gender).

·         Standard 5: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

o   This lesson will investigate how some jobs are stereotypically for a specific gender and how individual women have helped pave the way for other women to enter “men’s field” of work.

MMSD Standards
·         Describe roles and responsibilities people have in neighborhoods and communities

·         Describe the ways people participate in the community in order to provide goods and services whether through paid or volunteer services

·         Read and interpret simple maps

·         Identify and locate geographical and political mapping symbols using a legend

Elementary Education Standards
·         Standard 2: Understands the Social Contexts of Schooling

o   Through this lesson, students will understand that social contexts (such as gender roles and professions) affect their lives, community member’s lives, and lives throughout this nation.

·         Standard 6: Connects School and Community

o   Through this lesson, students will connect people within their community with the profession they think that the community member has.  This will helps show which genders in the community tend to gravitate towards certain professions.

·         Time magazine with the article 100 Most Influential People of 2011 and tape

·         Time for kids issue about the Ten Most Important Women of the Century

·         Pictures of community members with their profession and magnets

·         Time for kids worksheet (see resources)

·         Students will learn the types of jobs that members in the community have

·         Students will learn which professions in the United States are typically male/female dominated

·         Students will learn about the professions of past and present influential women

·         Students will learn that they can become a part of any profession regardless of their gender

·         Students will learn what jobs our community/society values

·         Students will learn which countries supply the most opportunities for women

·         Students will learn about female governors throughout the United States

Lesson Context:
·         This lesson will be taught in the middle of the unit to further explore other aspects in which gender roles are still present today within the context of our community and the society of the United States.

Lesson Opening
Day One:
·         Have the students come to the carpet/large discussion area and have them sit facing the whiteboard.

·         Tell the students that we will be doing a visualizing activity that will require them to close their eyes for a little bit.  Tell the students that you will say a job that people would have in the community and that I want them to visualize what a person with this job might look like.  First use an example to show them how this process will work.  Tell them to hold on to the first image that pops into their heads. 

·         Tell the students a series of jobs within the community that are male dominated (ex. Doctor, principal, firefighter, police officer, soldier), female dominated (ex. Teacher, hair stylist/dresser, nurse, librarian), and gender neutral (ex. cook, singer, artist).  For a couple of the visualizations (at least one from each category), ask the students what type of characteristics a person with this job might have.  Record their visualization on the whiteboard and ask students how many other people shared similar images.

·         Question the students’ thinking

o   What do you notice about the characteristics of the people you imagined and the job they had?

o   Why do you think that so many of us thought a person with _________ as a job looked like this?

o   Do all people with this job look like this?

o   Why do you think you imagined the person with ____________ as a job looked like this?


·         In preparation for the next part of this lesson, travel around the community and take pictures of people with different professions.  Cut out their picture and job description and put these two parts on separate magnets

·         Place all of the pictures and professions onto the whiteboard.  Explain to the students that we are going to play a matching game and try to match each community member with their correct profession.

·         Have the students raise their hand if they have a match and when called on they can come up to the whiteboard and place the picture next to the matching profession.

·          For a couple of the matches, ask the rest of the students if they agree or disagree with this match by putting their thumbs up or down.  Call on a couple of students and ask them why they agree or disagree with this match.

·         Tell the students how many of the matches they guessed right and show them the correct matches.  Then, show the students the correct matches for the matches that they guessed wrong.

·         Question students’ thinking in a whole class discussion:

o   Why do you think that we were not able to correctly match all of our community members with their jobs?

o   Why do you think we were able to correctly match some community members with their jobs?  What are some similarities between the pairs that we correctly matched?  (look at the pairs to notice common characteristics/ways of thinking)

o   When thinking about which person would be correctly matched with a specific job, what kinds of thoughts went through your head before making the decision?

·         If possible, have a guest speaker from the community come in to talk about the struggles they went through when being in a job that consists mostly of people of different gender than they are.  Try to find one man and one woman to make the perspectives balanced.  Encourage students to ask guests questions about their job/life.

Day Two:
·         In preparation for this next part of the lesson, cut out all of the biographies from the 100 Most Influential People of 2011.  Also, divide the whiteboard into three separate categories (mostly men, mostly women, neutral/both).

·         Tell the students that we will be separating these people by their jobs.  The students will put the jobs that mostly have women in them under that category on the whiteboard and so on for the other two categories.  Hand out the biographies to each student to tape up onto the board.

·         Question observations of this activity in a whole class discussion:

o   What do you notice about the professions of the “most influential people”?

o   Why do you think that there are so few/if any professions in the mostly women category? 

o   What jobs do most of the influential women have?

o   What does this say about how we value jobs that mostly women have?

o   What types of jobs do you think our nation sees as important?  What types of people have these “important” jobs?

·         Hand out the Times for Kids magazine and tell students to read the article about the 10 Most Important Women of the Century with a partner.

·         Question the reading in a class discussion (think/pair/share style):

o   How many of these women have you heard of before?

o   Why do you think they the magazine calls them the ten most important women of the century?

o   What do these women have in common?

o   What types of jobs did they have?

o   Why do you think that the article calls these women powerful?

·         Also from this magazine, show the students the study done about the countries that have the most opportunities for women. 

o   Why do you think that the United States is so low on the list?

o   What do you think is different between the top country and our country?

·         Pass out U.S. States with Women Leaders worksheet ( and have a student read the paragraph at the top out loud to the class.

·         Specifically look at Wisconsin and ask the students if it has ever had a woman as governor.  Call on a student to answer the question and explain how they knew this.

·         Have the students complete the worksheet individually.

Lesson Closing:
·         Have the students share with their classmates how they answered the last question on the worksheet.

·         Have a class discussion about whether men should have jobs that mostly women have and visa versa. 

o   Do you think that this view is the same as the view from our community members?

o   Do you think that this view is the same as most of the people in the United States?

o   What might be some ways that we can be more accepting of people’s jobs?

·         Listen to the discussions that students have with each other as well as what they decide to share with the class to check for understanding

·         Look over the worksheets that they completed to see if the students correctly read the map and make the correct connections

·         Check to see where they place certain professions in regards to whether that profession has mostly males/females to correct any misconceptions they might have about the population of the people that have that particular job.

Delbanco, Andrea. (2011, March 11). Powerful women. Time for Kids, 16(19), Retrieved from,27972,2057523,00.html

Time for Kids. (2011, March 11). Time for kids: teachers guide. Retrieved from

Various Authors. (2011, May 2). The 2011 time 100. Time, 177(17), Retrieved from,28757,2066367,00.html