For decades, girls have thought they are naturally drawn to arty subjects and boys are better at science. However, my daughter has shown a strong interest in subjects that would stereotypically be taken by boys. As obvious as this sounds, girls and boys are not born with an aptitude for a particular skill set. It is nurture that enforces the gender idea and makes the child believe they cannot do this. Even my four year old who started school six weeks ago has been told she’s too quiet and lacks the confidence to engage in group activities. This is a problem since children pick up on this type of feedback quickly and any kind of labelling could be damaging later in life. We are a new generation and we need a new approach to gender science.
As parents we should work together to encourage equality and share responsibilities that support personal choice. If a girl chooses space over art but her peers pressurise her not to do this, the behaviour should be questioned. Both parents and educators play an influential role in guiding the child’s experiences during their school days. We should not be attributing stereotypical biases that clouds our beliefs and perpetuate the status quo. Instead, the child should be encouraged and attitudes changed to discourage discrimination at schools since this will affect industries that are already dominated by men. Who knows what the economy will be like in five or fifteen year’s time. The more women can help young girls and support engagement in STEM subjects, the better for us and our future in science.
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