Even nowadays, traditional roles and stereotypes continue to be a powerful, often still influencing many men and women to choose a more traditional type of educational program and/or professional occupation.
"Career choices and options" should be addressed as early as elementary school in order to discuss traditional roles and encourage students to think about personal career aspirations and interests regardless of gender. The Department of Human Resource Development, Gender & Diversity Management at the JKU follows a proven concept for workshops that address topics such as equal rights, gender roles, the gender-specific division of labor, etc. in an age-appropriate way. Theory is combined with hands-on tasks, such as independently experimenting with vinegar and baking powder or looking at different ways to transport water. The goal is to spark the children’s interest in science and technology as well as in conducting research.
In cooperation with the Linz government’s Office for Women's Affairs, over 1,000 children have already taken part in forty-one 90-minute workshops held during the first three rounds since fall of 2016. During the current fourth round of the program, there were five follow-up workshops held before December 2019, hosting nearly 90 elementary school students (grades 3 and 4). In addition, 15 introduction workshops were planned up until July 2020 for elementary school students (grades 1 and 2). However, in lieu of the current Covid-19 pandemic, only three of these workshops could take place directly at the schools. Afterwards, the concept was changed to a home-schooling program. This variation is still available online to schools free of charge.