I’m not a huge fan of working out. Because of this, while I’m at the gym I really need to distract myself. Sure, an episode or two of Property Brothers or whatever is on HGTV while on the treadmill is good for a while, but recently I needed to try something different.
Enter podcasts. Not a new invention by any means, in fact they’ve been around a long time and I’m really shocked that I’m just starting to get into them now.
Recently, I’ve taken to one called braincandy. It’s by two smart, funny women who tackle everyday life events and topics, while connecting science and more to these daily things.
Last week, I actually stayed on the treadmill for extra time—an actual feat for me—to listen to more. It was about equality and gender issues and stereotypes.They discussed a survey in which men and women were given the same tasks and unless the women were told the task was skewed for them to be more successful at it at the men, than the results for the women were poor. The task at hand used was a simple math test. When the women were given the same one as the men but told nothing, the men out performed.
However, given the exact same test but told that it was skewed for women to be more successful, they overwhelmingly out-performed the men.
While I thought it was interesting at the time, I didn’t put a lot of effort into any more thought than that.
But, it stuck with me. Then, while doing a simple task in the kitchen, I looked at a jar I wanted open, that I routinely ask my partner to open for me. But on this day, I decided to try it myself, and succeeded. Simple task, without a thought, but I immediately thought that I was unable to complete and needed the strength of a man to complete.
But after thinking about it, I also thought about how many tasks I complete for my partner.
For us, it’s about what works. Some of those roles fall within stereotypical gender roles, I do the majority of the cooking, mainly because I like doing it, and frankly, I don’t feel like eating boxed pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches for the remainder of my life.
So, I’m not sure I would have been one of the women who performed any differently knowing that I would have an edge over men in a task.
I’ve worked in a male-dominated industry for more than a decade, I’ve proven that I deserve my place in it time and time again. But there’s a lot of women who bow down to challenging these gender assignments and stereotypes, just because they exist.
I for one believe a woman can do anything a man can, and in reverse, that men can do anything women can. Just because we have these preconceived notions of how things are supposed to go.
In 2016, in the world we live in today, I think it’s time for all of these preconceived judgments to go by the wayside. Men, women, gay, straight, black, white, we are all people and we are all able to do whatever comes our way.
Building partnerships within life are important. Balancing strengths and weaknesses between teams, partners, groups, corporations, anything that requires team mates is important.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that strength based things won’t fall on men and care giving things won’t fall on women, but it’s about celebrating the partnership, and about letting others shine where they can, and building them out when they need it.
So, as I continue my new-found love for podcasts while sweating, I encourage all of you to challenge a role, a stereotype, or notion you have that is founded simply on “because that’s the way it goes.”
And, going forward, be open to accepting new things and new ways of thinking. It’s amazing how great of a world is out there, and how differences and skills will open it up to you.