When I was growing up I attended an all girls secondary school, run by nuns.
Yes it was as boring as it sounded and sadly it was not a school that suited me.
As part of our “education” in our final year we had career guidance. What a joke!
The nun, who I had least respect for, was our educator. She used to wheel in a projector once a week, and put up a large screen over the blackboard. We would sit back, and try not to get annoyed, as she showed us all the fantastic careers we might be able to aspire to if in fact we worked hard enough.
We were shown slides of girls in various jobs. As we looked at them the nun commented on the chosen career. There was the hair dresser, which showed a girl washing someones hair. We were told it was an excellent career for a woman. We saw slides of secretaries, a very responsible job, teachers, a great job for a woman, and nurses, because women are natural carers!
We were never shown slides of Doctors, Surgeons or Accountants. In our school out of almost one hundred girls, only three did honours maths. Whether we realised it or not we were not being educated as equal to men.
Thankfully times have changed and we live in a far more equal society in terms of education. My children attend a co ed school, and there would be a major backlash if the girls were treated differently to the boys.
However it is not only in education the world has changed. When I was at school if someone asked me what I wanted to do after school I would name a career. A doctor, a nurse, an accountant, a lawyer, a teacher or whatever. When we left school we knew what we wanted to be, or what we wanted to do. Nowadays it is assumed that almost all will attend college. As a result the focus for our children is not what you want to be in life, but what you would like to study.
Recently a friend of mine was speaking of her son. He has been in college for many years, and has got a large number of degrees. At almost thirty he has just got his first job. I was delighted for him, and her, and I asked what is he doing. She looked at me and said, “Quite honestly I haven’t a clue”.
The reality is that in a few years time, I will have four children who will have attended college. We will have scrimped and saved to get them through. Yet I can’t help but wonder at the end of it all, will they know what they want to do, and will we know if some one asks us what in the name of goodness they are.