My daughter can be whatever she wants to be, and I sincerely hope that with the right work ethic and determination, she truly believes that this is the case.
The same can’t me said for me necessarily, and I imagine there are many of you who have experienced the same – unfortunately opportunities are not always equal.
This feature stems from a post on my personal instagram account a month or so ago where I shared the snap of Mabel with the daffodils as seen in the header image above on my birthday. I shared that my one birthday wish was to have a more stable world for my child to grow up in, a world where there are equal opportunities.
I recounted an experience in my teens where I had visited a rather short-sighted and patronising “careers advisor” (actually can I just cut the use of polite vocabulary and call him a wanker?). I told him that I would like to be a successful business woman, maybe with my own cosmetics line – maybe one day I might even write a book about make-up?
His condescension was audible. He actually laughed. And told me I should do something more useful and realistic. Certainly something less ambitious.
He advised that maybe I should consider becoming a primary school teacher. Or a nurse. Yes, you heard that correctly – was he saying that in order to train as a teacher or a nurse you were without ambition?! And why was he telling me to follow career paths I personally had little interest in?
Like I said. Wanker.
Richard from my year wasn’t told he couldn’t be a Physicist. In fact he was actively encouraged to pursue that route. I know because I asked him. I was so bloody furious with the outcome of my own experience I wanted to confirm it wasn’t just me that was advised to give up on their dreams.
I would hope that situations like this wouldn’t occur today, and certainly not in a decades time when Mabel is asked where she sees her future.
That said the “Pilot” sweater you see her wearing was only discoverable in the “boys” section of Zara Kids. As was “Astronaut”. There was unsurprisingly a significant wave of thoughts and opinions that stemmed from me mentioning this at the time of publishing the image originally, hence today’s post.
Have we moved on from gender stereotyping?
I am fully aware that success isn’t measurable by your annual salary, it’s measurable by your happiness, enjoyment and sense of self-worth. I want my daughter to believe she is capable of anything, I want her to grow up in a world that embraces equal opportunities. I want this for her, I want this for her sons and daughters, I want this for you and I.
Please do discuss in the comments box below. And any amusing career advisory tales (wanker-ish or otherwise) are most welcome.