From the moment we learn the sex of the baby, we go into automatic gender mode. Girls will wear pink, play with and learn to care for baby dolls, and be taught to clean and cook. They will be told to watch their voice – not too loud, speak when spoken to. And more. Boys? Blue! Trucks! Tanks! Science! No boundaries! Conquer the world! These clearly defined paths plant seeds of expectations of the binary. These seeds grow and follow our children into adulthood, in their relationships and into their places of employment.
Join Professor of Law at Washington University School in St. Louis School of Law and YWCA Academy of Leaders member Kim Norwood for this discussion on how societal expectations shape gender roles and the impact it has on women’s lives.
Many women now work outside of the home as many hours as their male counterparts do. But these women are still responsible for the food shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, and other chores when they come home to their male spouse. And if these working women are also mothers, they are often the primary caretakers of the children – homework, doctors, PTA meetings. Do you know why? Because that’s how they were raised!
The Barbie revolution has given us the perfect opening to critically evaluate how we gender our children. It’s time to think about what we might do differently to plant new seeds that will foster a culture not of servitude but of equity for our daughters.