Are Mothers to Blame for The Gender Gap?
My sister is a mother to three beautiful daughters and a passionate educator in the Peel District School Board. Coming from a family of three girls, she often compares how we were raised versus how she is raising her daughters. Us three sisters were constantly compared to eachother, where one was too outspoken, one was too messy and one didn’t dress up enough. My mom still compares us and in conversation with my sister, she explained to me that she sees vast differences in her daughters as well. They’re simply not built the same. The eldest likes to play sports and human interaction. While the middle one can occupy herself in whatever games her imagination conjures up for hours which often leads to chaos and mess. My mother saw this as rebellion, where my sister, as a teacher, understands that each child is different and has their own way of discovering and learning. The middle one isn’t necessarily messy, she’s creative and inventive. Sure everyone loves a clean home, so as a mother, my sister can tell her to stop making a mess and clean up but she sees that as limiting her. She chooses to remain patient so that her middle daughter can explore her inventive side.
My eldest niece likes to plan, loves order and wants to be a teacher some day like her mommy, while the middle tinkers with the idea of Doctor or Dentist as she says she wants to help people…while driving a Corvette.
In this powerful video by Verizon below, it shows a daughter who likes to engage in what has been traditionally more “male” type activities and is constantly set back due to her parents’ warnings of her dress getting dirty or she’ll hurt herself with that tool and she should hand it over to her brother. This video really hits home, because many girls growing up have dreams of becoming engineers, doctors and even astronauts, but once they hit their teen years, their dreams take a 180. One can’t help to believe that it’s largely due to the gender roles that we remind our children of everyday, eventhough their curious minds that are innate in them as a child would have perhaps led them on a different journey.
Maybe I’m bias because she’s my sister, but I can’t help but admire her approach to raising her children. She’s embracing their unique qualities and creating a flexible environment where each one can prosper and explore in their own right, so that they may progress in whatever their heart desires, not what society tells them.
Take a look at this beautiful video below and think, how are you going to inspire her mind?