Parents who do not understand the modern jobs market should not let their outdated stereotypes influence their daughter’s career, a leading headmistress has said. The Telegraph reports.
Gwen Byrom, who is president of Girls School Association and head of Loughborough High School, urged parents to resist the temptation to intervene even if they think their children’s career ambitions are “mad”.
“The big challenge for parents – speaking as a parent of teenagers myself – is that you want to send your children out into the world to be successful and happy in their career,” she said.
“But work is changing rapidly, sometimes it is hard to understand as a parent what a career might be. If you ask a parent about engineering, the stereotype is that it is dirty and involves big machines.
“Actually, it covers everything from mechanical and electrical engineering, to biological engineering – it could be building prosthetic limbs.”
Addressing headteachers at the GSA annual conference in London on Monday, Mrs Byrom will say that parents have a “key role to play – for good and bad – in their children’s future careers”.
Four years ago, research commissioned by the Institution of Engineering and Technology found that just one per cent of parents said they believed engineering was a suitable career for their daughter, compared with 11 per cent who deemed it suitable for their son.
She will tell heads: “Isn’t it hard enough for girls to battle unconscious bias without the misperceptions of their parents making it even worse?”
Mrs Byrom said that a growing number of girls at the country’s leading schools are now choosing to apply for an apprenticeship after they leave schools.
“Some ideas might be mad and quite unnerving for parents. My advice is let them explore, let them see what is out there, even if it is something you are not quite sure of.”
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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