So, what's on the menu...?"
You’re standing in front of two cafes that are next door to each other, trying to choose which one to go in to. They’re pretty much identical – same prices, same furniture and interior, even the bearded baristas have identical tattoos. The only difference is that one cafe has just two things on the menu, while the other has hundreds of choices. Which place do you go for?
Many of us face the same dilemma in life. We feel like there‘s not much choice on the traditional gender menu, which limits our opportunities and happiness.
Of course it’s okay to choose a lifestyle that fits with traditional gender roles and expectations. But what if that’s not what you want? What if there is an amazing opportunity to live a life that’s just right for you, but you never knew about it because it was not on the old traditional menu?
Sometimes people may be okay with what’s available on the limited menu, but then get a shock when the bill comes and includes all sorts of extra costs nobody told them about. For example, men can feel it’s their responsibility to take on the role of the financial provider for the family and end up resenting the fact that they stayed in a crappy job or career for years and didn’t spend enough time with their kids or doing the things they loved.
Many women may choose to be the main parent who looks after their children, which can also be great. But it can mean their career's handicapped. Many women in management positions before having a baby, end up returning to work as a casual or lower ranked staff member years later because of the time they spent as a full-time parent.
It might be about careers, what we wear, who we love or just what we do with our spare time. If we genuinely move towards gender equality, men and women can share whatever roles they choose and be who they want to be without social pressures to conform to a ‘limited menu’.