When my nephew was born, I took my feminist aunty role seriously and went out to look for a book about raising feminist boys. To my surprise, despite the multitude of books on how to raise feminist girls, there was only one book for boys. Surely the weight of shifting society’s patriarchy does not land only on girls though, does it? Shouldn’t we all be in this together to make an impactful change?
One comment in this book was mind-changing for me:
When parents encourage girls to play with so-called boys’ toys – i.e. toys that have been (wrongly) overly marketed with boys on the advertisements – and not the contrary, they still foster sexism. Indeed, it reinforces the hierarchy that some toys are superior to others e.g. playing with little trains is more rewarding than caring for a little doll.
If we really want to embody gender diversity and equality, we need to embody it in all forms and not in one direction only.
Encouraging girls and women to work in the tech industry is necessary and extremely important:
- tech is everywhere and builds the world of today and tomorrow
- women cannot be excluded from building this world
- tech professionals have relatively safe jobs with high pay and women deserve their share of the cake
- products need to fit all customers’ needs – possible only if the professionals represent and understand well their customer-base
- with better diversity, we can normalise and make it common, which means it leads to a fairer workplace with less biases
- a fairer and more inclusive workplace makes employees feel recognised and rewarded, leading to higher satisfaction at work and increased employee retention
However, when we only encourage girls and women to work in Tech, we still reinforce the idea that working in tech is better or superior to working in e.g. Healthcare or Education sector – sectors traditionally with a majority of women.
Valuing sectors predominantly held by men contributes to reinforcing an unequal value system.
Also, if we imagine a world where all genders contribute equally to unpaid work such as caring for kids or the elderly, household tasks etc. – which is far from the case today – the only way we can have gender parity in tech is if we have gender-parity in other sectors, that are today female-dominated.
Therefore, encouraging boys and men to work in Healthcare, Education, Social Work is key for two reasons:
- we destroy the invisible hierarchy between job categories, valuing female-dominated sectors more
- we distribute all genders between sectors in a system of interconnected vessels
So far, I have not discovered any organisation encouraging boys or men to join the Healthcare sector. Have you?
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