Stereotypes have ‘written’ rules for what people can and cannot do. This is no different in the work place.
This happens for both men and women. However the stereotyping happens predominantly for women.
The largest stereotype within the work place is that women are not ‘meant’ for the job, or it is not traditional for them to undertake jobs in those fields or specific lines of work. The world is full of these stereotypes and because of them only women with the highest levels of self-confidence or achievement choose to apply to these jobs. In addition, even a smaller percentage of these numbers choose to stay in these fields. With these stereotypes there has become doubts that women can not fulfil these roles, in such fields as IT, technology, gaming, outdoor conservation and construction. These doubts become daunting for women, either pushing them to succeed or cracking them.
Even 43 years since the second wave of the womens movement, there are still many industries that are stereotypically thought of as male roles. This has to stop. Because of this, many younger women and girls with not much self confidence are hiding in their own skin. However some (and I’d like to hope all) women in their 20’s and 30’s have now grown up in society with a ‘can do’ attitude. Thinking (quite rightly) that they can do whatever job they like. These women have been drawn to be apart of something where they stand out. But why is it that they still stand out? I think they always will, there will always be ‘How do you find been a women and doing this job?’ or ‘Are you here to make the tea?’.
Women, yes are drawn to standing out, and good for them. But we should not be attracting attention, we should be welcomed to fit in. There are now many women trying to embrace femininity while doing well in these fields and this will help change the ‘standard’ categories that women are placed in. This requires determination nonetheless, with mini successes to make that big change over time. (This unfortunately will never be changed over night).
The female gender is put on one side when it comes to these industries; interestingly women are stereotypically believed to have higher levels of emotional intelligence, making a big difference to teamwork and productivity which is critical in any workplace. So surely we are a vital part that can be added to these fields?
The responsibility lies in all of us, men and women to help make this change happen. As women, it is all our duties to not hold back from being ourselves, reaching out and striding to what we are capable of.
Forget what people think or what they will say and just do what you want to do. Do NOT ever leave the field you’re in and passionate about. If the company you work for is not giving you the support or advice you need, then leave that company not the industry.
Break all barriers.