Our perception of gender roles
Women are supposed to work as teachers, nurses, cleaners, nannies, secretaries, maids and other similar professions. Men are supposed to work as engineers, fire fighters, construction workers, politicians and lawyers among others.
This view, that certain professions are for women while others are for men, is something that has changed a lot during the last 50 years but there is still a long way before the deep-rooted gender roles can be neutralized and women and men be seen as equal. I don’t think that we are going to change our view of the gender roles drastically during the next coming years but I hope and believe that big changes will be made within 15 – 25 years. Hopefully the generation that will start the university in 20 years will choose differently than what students did 20 – 30 years ago. That they have been brought up with the belief that they can be and do anything they want to and don’t have to choose just the “typical” women or men educations and professions.
In the choice of education most of today’s students choose something that they are interested in, but I think that we unconsciously choose something that leans more towards a ”women education” or a ”man education” depending on how we have been brought up. I read in the book “There is an special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” (a study on how boys and girls are brought up to fit in certain roles in the society) by Liza Marklund and Lotta Snickare that girls are being more protected both at home and in school then what boys are. Girls are told to be careful, not to climb in trees and get dirt on their cloths while boys are encouraged to be more adventurous. It also says that girls are taught to take responsibility much earlier in life than what boys are. Girls more often take care of their younger siblings than boys do and also learn how to clean and cook earlier. If we in this stage would start to bring up boys and girls in the same way, than perhaps the gender distribution would change in the work life and be more equal.
I hope that boys and girls born today are being brought up in the same way; that girls as well as boys may play with dolls, cars and lego. But I think the most important thing is to let both girls and boys understand that they can do and be whatever they want to in life, that their gender should not be an obstacle. Who knows, if boys would start playing more with dolls maybe the number of men who studies to be a nurse would increase in the future. If girls played more with lego there would maybe be more women in the engineer educations then there is today. Hopefully it’s this simple (I don’t think so but I hope it´s a really good start), by changing some things in children’s upbringing the whole society will change step by step. What do you think? If we would bring up boys and girls in the same way, would that be enough to change our view on gender roles over a 15 – 25 years period?