Main conclusions

The research results disclose how gender stereotypes are deep-rooted amongst young people, in a time of their lives when they need to make academic choices that lead to professional careers. Gender stereotypes can influence and determine future educational and professional choices of young people, contributing to the maintenance of stereotypes in a cyclical process. Schools have an important role to disrupt this process, supporting the diversity of students’ interests and encouraging both girls and boys to further develop their technological competencies. At the same time, it is important to disrupt gender stereotypes in other areas, such as kindergarten education, by supporting boys to engage in caring professions. It is not just about technologies; it is about gender stereotypes and what is expected of boys and girls.

At a time when so many gender stereotypes are being challenged in societies, gender binaries are questioned and diverse ways of performing gender are increasingly visible, it is somehow surprising that the research results provide evidence for a strong prevalence of gender stereotypes amongst some young people. Even though girls are using ICT intensively, it seems that preconceived ideas of how women and men use technology remain unchanged.

The school has a major role in promoting gender equality by providing diverse gender representations to children from all sociocultural contexts and can make the difference to children who do not have access to a diversity of gender representations at home. It is of particular importance to promoting gender awareness not only in basic education but also in pre-school activities. Age matters, interventions should start as soon as possible, when children enter kindergarten.