3 Gender Stereotypes Against Women in Tech-Voc and How to Break Them
Nov 16, 2020
“What do you want to be?” is a question all little girls (and boys) hear growing up, a question that merits a host of answers, including doctor, chef, and ballerina. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with these answers, taking Technical-Vocational (Tech-Voc) courses is a perfectly viable option too. Unfortunately, like its university equivalent, tech-voc isn’t immune to stereotypes.
Stereotypes have been around for quite a while, maybe longer than we care to admit. And while we don’t stan biases, you can’t deny stereotypes have influenced the way we see and behave towards certain things or people. Women in the workplace, for instance.
We’ve listed down a few of them here, and why you shouldn’t buy into them.
STEREOTYPE #1: Tech-voc programs are inherently structured to suit men.
Chances are, many will jump to the conclusion that the courses are in fields “for men,” like Agri-Fishery and Industrial Arts. Sure, they involve hands-on, extensive, and sometimes laborious training but who are strangers to say ‘na hindi naman talaga pambabae yan?’ That’s not how real-life works po!
Take Cecil Tamba, a former kasambahay who studied as a welding trainee at the TESDA Women’s Center in 2013. Success is a fruit of grit, hard work, and persistence, and has no direct relationship to factors like your being a woman. Don’t let the naysayers keep you from making it.
STEREOTYPE #2: Women who take tech-voc courses will end up with limited career options
Not only is this disheartening, it can be quite frustrating too. There’s more to TESDA courses than meets the eye. While college sounds like the “next, logical step,” another four to five years in the classroom might not be for everyone – and that’s a-okay. Technical-vocational courses provide you with field experience that you can very well use when the time comes, like the job hunt. Does your hands-on training give you an edge over other candidates? Definitely!
On that note, there are still people who argue that women should enroll only in home economics programs and certifications. Um, excuse me? What century are we in? There’s nothing wrong with taking courses in the field – if it takes you one step closer to your Master Chef or New York Fashion Week dreams, then why not? But women can, and have, succeeded in fields “for men.” TESDA courses aim to equip you with practical skills which might help with your professional career. And yes, even for non-traditional fields like electrical installation and maintenance and computer programming!
Did you know that upon completion of the offered plumbing courses, and five years of experience, you can further your credentials by taking the Master Plumber Exam? To paraphrase fictional Harvard lawyer Elle Woods (an empowered woman in a male-dominated field), ‘whoever said women have no business in tech-voc was seriously disturbed.’
STEREOTYPE #3: Women are inclined to taking courses to “fulfill” their roles as homemakers.
Is your idea of cooking adding water to your instant noodle cup or frying an egg? Don’t worry, you have the rest of your life to learn your way around food! “Kababae mong tao, hindi ka marunong magluto,” isn’t an uncommon phrase to hear from our elders. They mean well, but don’t let this be a reason to push you into taking a course that you don’t like. (Conversely, boys shouldn’t be prevented from taking Home Economics courses either!)
Are you a car enthusiast? Do you dream of someday being behind the scenes of an F1 car, driving laps, or with the rest of the team at the paddocks, helping your drivers out? Go for it! Although some people opt to take tech-voc courses for practicality, it shouldn’t be a reason to keep you from taking it as a stepping-stone to your passion. Check out Automotive Servicing and Driving courses!
Once upon a time, women were expected to stay home and take care of the kids. It was the men who bore the responsibility of landing a high-earning job as the breadwinners of the family. But the truth is, being a good breadwinner or a good homemaker has nothing to do with gender at all!
Tech-voc courses don’t just offer hands-on training or fast-track your financial independence. They also provide you with useful knowledge that can help you start your own business ventures, even from the comforts of your home.
Don’t let stereotypes dictate your mindset – color outside the lines if you must. Break barriers, shatter glass ceilings. In the words of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, “see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.”
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