Breakthrough Gender Stereotypes

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of news, books and articles on gender equality. Or maybe more than gender equality is reaching female equality. We all heard about Emma Watson’s speech at the launch of the HeforShe campaign. I did, and I too agree on what Emma is saying. This fight is not against men, is against discrimination towards women with men on human rights side.

As a female engineer undergraduate, in a very (VERY) “macho” country such as Mexico, it was really hard for me to get a job interview where the questions such as “do you have a boyfriend?”, “does your father gives you permission to work?”,”do you have plans to get married?” were not done. I completely understand that companies want to know better their candidates, but why do they ask these kind of questions?

They have not stopped there. Now that I am actually married, the questions just keep coming at job interviews: “are you married?”, “do you have children?”, “are you planning to have them anytime soon?”. No disrespect, but I don’t think those questions have any relation with my performance as an employee. On the contrary, for the moment my husband is my inspiration to be a better person -emotionally and professionally. I do not expect to have children for the moment, but when that day comes I’m sure I’ll have more reasons to be more demanding on myself.

Not many people understand how hard is to live on stereotypes. I don’t know outside Mexico, but at least in Monterrey (Northeastern Mexican city) girls must be feminine by not swearing, by being quiet and friendly but not too flirty, by staying at home when marriage comes along, by being submissive. Most of these characteristics do not belong to my personality, so I sure had a hard time when I was younger. The role of being a “girly” girl and fit in my gender stereotype, developed confidence issues with my younger self. Nowadays I have conquered most of those fears but it was not easy.

A young boy in London wrote a letter on this matter. I admire him because of the courage and the maturity of his words (sorry I used words that relate to gender stereotype, I wish to be more eloquent).

This campaign is just the sequel of a movement that started many years ago with women like Elizabeth Cady StantonMarie Curie, Amelia Earhart, among others that we may not know about (thank you historians of the past). A lot has been said on this topic and I know is not the kind of information easy to digest, but we all need to do something about equality of the sexes.

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