Throughout our lives we have been told that there are certain jobs only meant for men. Women are more likely to work in care-oriented career fields while men would perform administrative, managerial or professional work. These gender stereotypes exist because the society attaches them to jobs in the first place. Although people are used to seeing a female as a secretary and a male as a firefighter, unfortunately this happens because of the way young adults are raised. Despite different stereotypes created, males or females should be free of judgement from their life choices. Moreover, they should be free to become anything they desire to.
Firstly, gender stereotypes start from the design of children’s toys. According to an article by Fast Company, parents would buy barbie dolls, stuffed animals, beauty sets for their daughters, while their sons would play with trucks, cars and toy guns. This will later on result in girls manifesting traits stereotypically linked to feminism such as vulnerability, emotion and nurture. Boys on the other hand would manifest masculine traits such as strength, intelligence and courage, thereby being far more likely to be the dominant ones comparing to girls. Secondly, not only adults, but children as well hold gender stereotyped views. A study conducted by an employment agency named Michael Page showed that children would draw nurses as women, and bankers, builders and lawyers as men. This reveals that although we are moving towards a forward-thinking world, we are still carrying outdated mentalities.
The outcome is that we should not depend on our society’s expectations about us. From my personal experience, I have struggled throughout my senior year of high school trying to choose what program to enroll in. My primary thought was which occupation would best suit me and not what job I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life. Since my parents always envisioned me becoming a doctor, I found difficulties on realizing what I was good at. My future was not the only thing affected by gender stereotypes. My parents would not let me play football or basketball when I was a child, because they were considered as male-oriented sports. They would find my interest to cars and motorcycles pointless and they did not encourage me to get my driver’s license.
According to child psychologist Dr. Woolfson (2019), the danger linked to stereotypes during childhood is that children might fail to consider job opportunities related to the opposite gender. It might affect the way they see themselves as adults by putting artificial employment boundaries. He also states that: “Children will only fulfill their maximum employment potential in post-school life if they make a career choice that is suited to their talents, interests and abilities, not one that is needlessly restricted by job-gender stereotypes.”
To conclude, gender should not be a driving factor in one’s lifelong choices. Gender stereotypes have made me give up on several desires and choices because of the simple fact of not suiting my gender. In order to “fight” stereotypes being created, the solution should start from life’s initial moments. Children should not be taught that they are conditioned by their gender, that they have to choose from a reduced list of professions, hobbies, desires to conduct during their lives because they have been raised under the influence of the myth of “girls wearing pink and boys wearing blue”. What is needed to be done, is raising awareness for parents, businesses and the educational system to help break down gender stereotypes. It is their basic duty to provide hope that children can become what they want to. In this way we can make sure that our future workforce not only remains diverse, but empowered to become whatever they want to be.