“I remember one of my primary school social studies textbooks had a pictorial/text illustration saying “Father provides money for the family”, “Mother cooks for the family”.
Have you also noticed that in most Nigerian primary and secondary school textbooks, a doctor is almost always a man while a nurse is almost always a woman?
The Engineer is the man while the chef is a woman?
My ex-boyfriend is a nurse, with a bachelors and masters in nursing, while I studied mechanical engineering. I remember a few persons used to joke that we “swapped” careers.
Fact is that he has always wanted to be a nurse, while I have always wanted to be an engineer.
When I went to pick up my statement of WAEC results from my secondary school, I met my biology teacher, and he asked me what I wanted to study. I told him Aeronautical engineering, and he tried to discourage me because… I am a woman. I will like to see him so that I can tell him that there was never a time at engineering school when I needed a penis to write my exams.
Some countries are already making amends for this age long damage.
In the UK, there are special benefits for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses (STEM). And I heard some US states offer a few extra benefits for men who want to or are studying nursing.
These countries are trying to change the narratives by discouraging gender barriers in making choices of professions.
A friend (who is a Facebook friend but won’t like to be tagged) was the overall best Aerospace Engineering graduate in my school, same year I graduated. We started the program together and finished same year. She finished from Aerospace while I finished from Mechanical. She’s Nigerian from Delta State.
Same year, a man emerged the best nursing student in one of the Universities in England, and was offered a scholarship for his PhD in a specialist area of nursing.
I’m saying this to emphasize that men can excel in nursing while women can make great engineers.
I’m also saying this so that a parent or teacher out there will not discourage their children from living their dreams and becoming who and what they want to be.
I have decided to add career counseling to what we will be teaching these students during our tour to teach them gender equality, and the focus will be on breaking the barriers of gender stereotyping in the choices of careers.
I will tell girls that the can be doctors and engineers, and I will tell boys that they can be nurses and chefs. I will talk about Gordon Ramsey, one of the world’s most famous and richest chefs. I will tell them that the five richest chefs in the world are men.
There is no university course that requires a particular sex organ. Most often than not, it’s all brain work, and either gender can work their brains.
Nkechi Bianze is a student, feminist advocate and a fearless writer. You can follow her on Facebook to read more of her intresting arquements here