Happy International Women’s Day everyone!
Personally, equality for women is something that I hugely believe in.
Up until I was 19, and took my first Sociology class, I can honestly say I never felt discriminated against because I was a woman. There are studies (here) that show that teachers will give boys more time to answer questions, and will ask different questions to boys so that they can expand more onto the conversation. I also found this study interesting, which relates to how boys and girls receive different feedback and that changes how they learn and deal with challenges.
I was lucky in that my personal experience was not in line with the statistics. I was always a huge nerd in school, and I loved to learn. As such, I would often be the person who was answering the questions raised by the teacher (sometimes just because I was bored and couldn’t believe that no one else would answer the seemingly very obvious question). I felt encouraged by my teachers, and by my friends, to continue to learn, and Math was my favourite subject (which probably had something to do with me becoming an accountant), with Biology a very close second. I was encouraged to enter into a full Advanced Placement program in high school, and I received early admission into University, majoring in Science before changing my degree to Commerce.
But my experience is not typical of what a lot of other girls and women experience. And once I took the first Sociology class in University, where I started to question if women were being treated in the same way as men, I started seeing more of it.
Women are under-represented in most high-earning careers. There are articles everywhere about this- with a quick google search I found articles where women are under-represented in science; in technology; in academia; and pretty much any other career choice that you search.
Women are graduating univeristy at the same rate, or at higher rates, than men, but are continuing to drop out of the work world. And I feel like at this point I should add the ever so important caveat- if that is what a woman wants, then that is 100% fine. This issue, for me, is not about making it so that every single woman is a business tycoon. It’s about ensuring that the opportunity is there for the women who do want to do it.
I think that women should be accepted for whatever choice they want to make. And for that matter- so should men!
If a woman wants to stay at home, and raise her children- that’s great. If a man wants to stay at home and raise his children- that’s great too. Men are also discriminated against – in that, they are expected to achieve business success, and if they want to give up their career to be more active in their families live, they are shamed, and told they are not “a man”.
If a woman wants to succeed in the work world, that’s great too! Let’s create the opportunities so that she is receiving the same chances to do this.
With the recent focus on Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In”, and celebrities endorsing movements like BanBossy, and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, there is an ever increasing focus on trying to do the right things to change this.
I love the focus that this issue is getting, and I hope it continues to grow and spread until girls and boys are both raised with the idea that they can achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve. And so how I am celebrating International Women’s Day is to continue to spread the word. Women and men- let’s find what we want to do, and do it! Without judging others for their choices!
What are your thoughts out there? Do you believe women are still discriminated against?