Students commonly develop a belief that some jobs are only for boys or are only for girls. An important aspect of preparing students for future career opportunities is teaching that men and women can do the same work. Your student has probably experienced different fields of work where the gender gap is apparent — elementary school teachers, professional sports players, nurses, doctors, construction workers, police, firefighters, etc. These experiences may lead your student to believe that they shouldn’t pursue their interest in certain fields because of their gender. However, your student’s interests, hobbies, skills, and dreams can lead them to pursue any career in any field, regardless of gender. In general, there are no careers that only women can have and no careers that only men can have.
There are important positions that have not yet to break through gender barriers. A growth mindset encourages students to believe that they can pursue any career regardless of their gender. There are still many firsts to be accomplished and a determined young person someday will be the first to break those barriers.
Providing concrete examples of men and women doing a variety of work can help enhance and expand students’ belief about their future opportunities. These books provide a variety of engaging stories and images of men and women affecting their world in dramatic ways:
“Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” by Elena Favilli and Frencesca Cavallo
“Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different” by Ben Brooks and Quinton Wintor
These ideas, resources, and reinforcing a growth mindset in your student will help encourage the belief that they can do and be anything!