We have an expectation that our boys are stronger, can run faster and have more of an interest in war like games – fighting, guns and being well – boisterous.
And how is that even when we feel like we have done our best as parents to provide a gender neutral upbringing, when they get into the school system the gender differences start to occur.
I believe our social environment aids the shaping of these behaviours and identities and the statistics are with me!
The latest research states that if a girl has a working mother, she is more likely to pursue further education and a career and able to manage that workload.
If a boy has a working mother – he is more likely to get involved in sharing the household work load.
This is pleasing as it shows that the traditional roles in the household are starting to change.
However within the corporate workforce – it remains disproportionately dominated by men. Although there has been significant movement in this area, the statistics are still there.
We need to encourage our children, regardless of their gender, to pursue careers that are viable in our technologically-developing workforce. We need to change cultural perceptions at a grass roots level, at a primary, secondary and tertiary level all the way to board level.
Why has the proportion of women in top jobs throughout New Zealand decreased?
There’s a number of reasons for this but the main one is that women are either being overlooked for the top roles, they are not positioning themselves to get the roles they want or it becomes too challenging to juggle young children, partners and a career. There is still guilt where mothers believe they need to be the “nurturer” at home during the younger years.
I am pleased to see this is changing slowly and we are now seeing a trend where women are taking on the primary earning role in the family, leaving the male partner to become the stay at home parent or work part time. This is proving to be a great change for the kids as they are now getting a very different and equally important role model.
The one challenge that women must be careful of though is a lack of self care – working super hard and overcompensating everywhere to feel better. This is when guilt takes over and control and resentment come into play.
Whoever is the primary earner needs to ensure that this does not become a self destructive pattern.