I could not agree more w/the article below. We have spent decades promoting girls and trying to make certain professions more attainable and attractive to females. While this has been a noble pursuit, we need to pay attention to our boys too. I want my son to grow to believe he can be anything he wants to be, regardless of typical gender stereotypes.
Go Beyond Gender Stereotypes for Boys, Experts Conclude
Education Week asks if schools are doing enough to get boys interested in careers in female-dominated fields. Now that some traditionally female job sectors like education and healthcare are booming while industries such as construction and manufacturing are stagnating, should boys be encouraged to broaden their horizons?
That’s the question being discussed at a forum held Tuesday by the Washington-based Boys Initiative, where speakers called for a creation of a White House Council on Boys to Men, to mimic the White House Council of Women and Girls. Reports released at the forum show that men lag women in both high school and college enrollment. A research done by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity In Higher Education found that in 2006, women received the majority of U.S. college degrees, both overall, and in all racial groups. Thomas Mortenson, a senior scholar at the institute, wrote that while gaps vary between the races — with Asian men earning 44.7% of degrees relative to Asian women, while African-American men only earning one for every two earned by African-American women — the overall downward trend has been ongoing since 1977.
Mortenson points out that while girls are being encouraged to enter professions like engineering and science, there’s still no push for equilibrium in fields like elementary education, which is dominated by women:
“My perception over the last 40 years is we’ve provided a lot of support and encouragement for girls to try and take on new things, but I’ve also seen no special effort to encourage boys to take on different subjects. I’ve tried to say to boys, ‘If you want a good job, think about becoming a nurse’ … but nobody ever introduces boys to entering these traditionally female occupations, and someone needs to do that.”
Although, in early childhood, the biological difference between sexes is quite small, educators and parents tend to exaggerate their importance. In the classroom, gender stereotypes are reinforced when misbehaving boys are punished more harshly and enjoined to behave more like girls. Tanya Belz Rauzi, a mother of three boys and a girl, who is lobbying the Marin County School District to promote better engagement for boys, says:
“I see teachers calling the boys in class disruptive and saying, ‘Why can’t you be more like the girls?’ But if there was a male teacher coming in and saying something like that to the girls, he’d be out of there.”