When my daughter was 3 I accidentally told her the “gas guy” was coming to work on the house. Then I corrected myself, “Actually, I don’t know if it will be a man or a woman.”
She said, “I think it’s a man.”
Children seem to have much better learning capacity than adults (or at least better than I do). A parent telling them something about gender segregation doesn’t have much weight compared with hour after hour, day after day of simple observation.
So the other day I had 12 minutes to kill at the train station in DC. I took pictures of everyone I saw working, including the unpaid work of childcare but not including people working as servers behind counters. This is not research. I was just wondering what a child might notice about gender and work.
Here’s who I saw, with the national gender composition of their presumed occupations, from the American Community Survey:
Male security guards: 78% male
Male police officers: 86% male
Again, this is not research — I was just looking around.