While many in the US have been pushing past gender stereotypes in careers, there still is a large gap that divides successful women and men. The vision of a male CEO can be seen by many Americans. The US has never had a female in the position of president, has a gender wage gap, women underrepresented in STEM fields, and many more. We are still facing the consequences of gender norms today in careers.
A girl’s future is often more limited than that of her male counterpart before she even has the choice on what career path she is passionate about. The stereotype of success may loom over a young girl’s shoulders. She can see the gender norms through a side comment from a classmate expressing girls that are not good at math. It can be a teacher explaining the history of women in the United States. A parent, who tells their daughter to marry rich.
This alters the trajectory of how young girls view their success in the future. This alteration is an invaluable mindset of open opportunity that is taken from many girls at a young age. Instead of believing that she can go on to become a doctor or a president, she may define her career goals based on what is seen as societally acceptable. This fear of not being accepted in a career can be a reason why we don’t see many women in certain fields.
With the societal norms imposed on girls, they may develop this internal conflict of whether their success is an emotion or an acceptance by others. Many women have to decide whether or not they are ready to potentially expend the immeasurable energy it takes to handle gender differences in the workspace. They must also decide if they are ready to perform at the same level or higher than men in their fields. This can alter a woman’s view and mindset of achieving success.
Some women will overcome this bounded mindset of gender-based success. They may have to overcome the adversity of being a woman in a large room with men. They may have to work harder than the men beside them to prove their worthiness in a field. Their success may not be defined by achieving the best performance in their career, but also by passing the barriers of gender inequalities. This drive to push past the discouragement and to alter the stereotypes of women in successful careers is what can keep many going.
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