This month, Verizon released a new campaign, "Inspire Her Mind" about how small percentage of women who make Science, Technology, Engineering and Math their focus in higher education and career.
The commercial suggests it is in part how we talk to girls. Some criticize the ad campaign that the low numbers of girls who focus in STEM are not solely based on telling girls "they are pretty" as well as undergoing some scrutiny for the believability of the commercial.
I think for a 60 second commercial it is difficult to synthesize the impact "you are pretty" has on girls but overall how socially constructed ideals and expectations of women are disseminated through simple sayings like "be careful with that, why don't you hand that to your brother." But I would have to agree with the closing line that "words can have a huge impact." We already live in a world where girls and women are conditioned to hold immense importance on appearance, it is always hard to be conscious of whether colloqially we reinforce those ideals.
But I do feel like I was one of those girls cut short of my potential; somewhere around middle school I made the switch to lipgloss. Personally, the difficulty I have now is dealing with the expectation I have set because I have chosen to maintain the lipglossed appearance. With male dominated fields in mind, women have to over excel, a compensation for being the small percentage of women within that field just to be considered adequate compared to male colleagues. You hit a certain point, where you just want to stop proving.
Pulled from the United States Department of Labor, Women's Bureau.
It's difficult not see that gender norms, gender socialization still plays a big role. These occupations exemplify that the ideals that women are motherly, care giving, child rearing, all things related to domesticity like cleaning and serving food.