There has been numerous occasions where I encountered gender stereotypes in my life.
Some are quite petty, while some are downright uncivilized. There is one though which has changed the course of my life - although not for the worse. I was lucky to have found a place to belong after being steered away from what I really wanted to do but this experience has left a lasting impression on me that will constantly serve as a reminder that I should never surrender to or advocate gender stereotype.
Although it has been more than 10 years, I still remember the day when an academician told me that urban planning is an industry dominated by men; and therefore women will almost certainly face challenges and will need to struggle to keep up in order to make it. Because of this remark and out of the lack of self-confidence, I dropped my intention to enroll in the School of Housing, Building and Planning in USM.
I look back and wish I had received as much empowerment for women as we have today. I still have a deep interest in urban planning which could have been my career path today if I had just went ahead despite what people tell me what women can or cannot do. If there’s a message from this experience; it is to never ever trade-off your passion or interest to fulfill the society’s typecast idea- that which gender should be the limit to someone’s ability to rise above challenges. And also; never be that parent, sibling, friend, mentor or partner who snuff out the dreams of someone you know just because of gender stereotype.
(May 11, 2015)