Careers for Girls: Let go the sandbags and dream BIG|CKD Press 2021|ISBN 978-1-7398175-0-3|Hardback €19.99
“If girls see women working in STEM empowered, strong and valued in the work they do, their focus will shift away from what girls can look like to what girls can do.”
—author Anne Daly talks about her book Careers for Girls, which offers role models for girls to dream big.
Being a mother of two children allowed me to indulge in a favourite past-time – reading. I read to my two children every day and I was completely blown away by the array of amazing, informative and entertaining books available. I had many ideas for books of my own and hoped, one day, to be part of the children’s book community.
I got the chance to do this when my daughter was ten years old. Her class of twenty-two girls were asked by their teacher what they wanted to be when they grew up. Eighteen of them chose singer, dancer or baker as a career. My daughter told me she didn’t want to do any of those things, asking me what else could she be, what jobs can women do? And so began a five year journey to create the book, Careers for Girls.
The girls in my daughters class were clearly influenced by media and television shows—but I wondered if they were genuinely unaware of the great variety of careers there are for women, or just afraid to dream of one for themselves?
Thanks in part to modern media, some girls believe that being a famous singer or dancer, marrying someone famous, having a T.V. show, or becoming an internet sensation are the only options for success, yet there are many ways to be successful, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
They may not seem as flashy, but STEM jobs can offer girls a type of success they may never have imagined before. STEM creates opportunities for girls to become important in their field of work, contribute to greater movements, invent new technology, discover new medicines, inspire others, and choose a career to help save people, animals or the planet.
A report from iWish.ie in 2017 showed that uninformed parents and guardians are a barrier to their daughters careers. Most parents have no idea what a data scientist does or how important they are. Over 80% of girls stated they wanted a career that would help others – but what girls see in the media is getting in the way of their dreams.
Growing up in this modern, image-conscious world is forcing girls to think less about making a difference and more about making their faces look different.
So many women in the media are portrayed as perfect, but these women use fake hair, nails, eyelashes and tan, along with makeup, filters, lights and other tricks to make them appear flawless. I call this MIO (media’s idea of) pretty.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say but for this generation of girls, beauty is in the eye of the designer.
Whether that designer is a makeup company, a fashion house, a social media company, a music video, a magazine, a website, or a paid influencer, everywhere they look, girls are being made to believe that only those who look perfect can have success.
In reality perfect doesn’t exist—but the illusion of it does.
This illusion is enough to convince girls to stop dreaming of what they really want to be when they grow up. And so they don’t think much about using their talents to have a career they love, one which might contribute to society in some helpful way, and which rewards them financially, emotionally or on a deeper level.
Women in STEM
If girls see women working in STEM empowered, strong and valued in the work they do, their focus will shift away from what girls can look like to what girls can do.
The diverse and inclusive women in Careers for Girls want people to look at them and think smart first. Working in a variety of STEM, trade and art careers, some of these women walk around, some use a wheelchair or wear prosthetic limbs: they are all strong and capable.
My book, Careers for Girls
Since the STEM sector is already male-dominated in every country around the world (including Ireland) it will benefit from the greater variety of ideas, opinions and experiences that women have to offer. There are plenty of studies online to show how companies that are more gender-equal are more profitable and more innovative.
There is already a shortage of candidates for STEM jobs, so girls choosing STEM subjects in school can help to fill these gaps. Since boys are already pushed into STEM subjects by parents, teachers and the culture they live in, girls need encouragement. My book, Careers for Girls shows girls there is more to their future than how perfect they can look: these role models will show them how to dream.
Anne Daly has worked in the STEM sector in Ireland and America, building, repairing, and troubleshooting computers. She has written for MsCareerGirl.com and is a member of ALLi and Writing.ie. Anne was born in 1969 and raised in Northside, Dublin. She has two teenage children and credits them for inspiring in her a passion to help children understand life. This has become the driving force behind her writing. Find out more at www.AnneDaly.com.
Careers for Girls. Let go the sandbags and dream BIG is available to order online and in bookstores today.