By Richard Crisp in The Guardian
I recall, a few years ago, being on a flight to Ancona in Italy. As we began our descent the (female) pilot came on the intercom to give the customary report on progress. As she signed off, the passenger next door smiled at me nervously and said, “Oh, a woman… that’s unusual.” It was, by the way, a textbook landing.
Of course, stereotypes abound in daily life, and they’re often imbued with inherent beliefs about ability. We know there’s no scientific basis for gender differences on things like piloting ability, business acumen or midwifery skills, yet people still seem surprised when they encounter someone who doesn’t fit the expected gender profile. Nothing brings societies’ stereotypes into sharper focus than those that buck the trend.