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Gender still rules career choice

Mums are the most influential people in their children's choice of career but it is dad's job that tells. If your father is a plumber or electrician, or a lawyer or doctor, you may well decide to opt for something similar.

Research in the Lothians carried out by Napier University for Careers Scotland shows that career choice remains bound by gender stereotyping after 30 years of equal opportunities legislation.

Pupils at lower ability levels are more likely to see jobs in terms of traditional gender divides and pupils taking Standard grade at Credit level are far more likely to choose professional jobs. Parents remain the key influence despite the plethora of advice from guidance teachers and careers advisers.

Sue Bond, a Napier researcher, says: "While many pupils thought both genders are suited to work in some occupations, such as police officer, solicitor and doctor, for other jobs their attitudes remained persistently stereotyped along gender lines, including lorry driver, engineer and nurse."

Girls and boys need to be targeted separately to break down barriers and be invited to widen their opportunities. Boys could be shown that many caring jobs involve technology and girls that computers are vital in engineering and other industrial sectors.

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