What We Teach Girls About Careers

What we teach girls about careerswhat we teach girls about careers starts really early. And then continues throughout adolescence.

The photo above really captures the problem.

While boys are being encouraged to make active career plans for their lives, girls are fed a daily diet of goopy details and minutia about personal care and beauty.  Nevermind where you might work; it’s how you look that matters.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

This just doesn’t make sense since women now make up 47% of the workforce.  Girls need to be thinking about their careers just as seriously as boys.

In this era of opportunity, innovation, and choice of careers, young girls should be given the “career talk” early in their lives by parents.

The good news is that ever since Sheryl Sandberg wrote “Lean In” and a furor has grown decrying the lack of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer, and Mathematics), a new conversation is taking place about career tracks and growth.

But first and foremost, the what we teach girls about careers discussion needs to take place inside the home.

As parents, people have the opportunity to share perceptions of young minds which can help combat some of the stereotypes perpetuated by media.

Asking a daughter what types of careers she is interested in, then taking the initiative to open doors which expose her to knowledge and learning in those directions can be a giant step.

What we teach girls about careers begins here… by hands-on learning and chances to experience how those careers might fit their interests.

The key is to offer very same choice opportunities that boys receive all the time, rather than trying to define what girls “should” or “shouldn’t” become.

I am not saying that we need to de-emphasize femininity; I think that by providing different opportunities and messages, what we teach girls about careers can be shifted from a passive, non-important discussion into one that is just as strong and relevant as that of boys.

And then maybe, just maybe, magazine covers such as above will be more career oriented versus beauty oriented.