Gender discrimination has evolved in modern society and has leveled the playing field in many areas for women. More and more women are being hired as professionals and leaders in their industries, enabling girls to follow suit and find motivation and inspiration. However there are still many areas in which these types of women are not properly represented.
Social media and television are two of the areas where female role models aren’t shown and highlighted enough. Only recently have leaders made calls for Hollywood to produce smarter and more influential female characters and lead roles taken effect.
Studies have shown that girls still turn from sciences and studies of science at an early age, forgoing these subjects for more feminine interests. This is a trend that many women lament. Even Chelsea Clinton once addressed it with CNN.
“We need Hollywood to make movies and television shows about sexy female engineers,” Clinton said, speaking to the problem that girls don’t stick with studies of science, as they grow older. While boys around the same age are used to seeing male leads playing roles as astronauts and engineers, girls lack this kind of role model to look up to.
With an increase in these kinds of female roles, girls will have more of a context in which they can compare and imagine themselves becoming in the future. When more women are displayed in positions of power and prestige, girls are more likely to pursue interest in science and math. Turning this trend around can result in greater numbers of women becoming engineers and other technical leaders in their market segment.
Without these critical roles and women that young girls can look up to, they will have a hard time imagining themselves in that sort of role. According to one of the recent reports from the American Association of University Women looked, there is a considerable gender gap when it comes to math and science courses from elementary to high school.
This kind of disparity causes serious issues and a huge imbalance when it comes to women in the workforce that are educated technical leaders of their field. Not only did this study identify this gender gap, but recognized the stereotypes that still linger to this day about women and their ability to be as smart or as technical as boys and men are.
These playground stereotypes are the kind of thing that female role models can help smash, allowing the next generation of girls to step into roles of intelligence and power. With more women role models, that can help smash these stereotypes, whether on TV or in school, girls can achieve higher marks and pursue a career based in science and math.
This message is certainly not new and it’s a cause that many women have been working on for decades now, but with the right women role models in place, it could really help reverse this ugly trend.
Billie Bowe is the President and CEO of Benchmark Consulting Services Ltd., a management consulting firm with expertise in human resources management. We believe in a global, strategic approach to management consulting. As our clients’ needs change and evolve, we offer solutions that grow along with them. We work as ‘business partners’ with our clients bringing about innovative solutions that are aligned with their business goals and objectives.
Photo courtesy of J.K. Califf [FLICKR]