Gender Bender Your Way Up Your Ladder of Success

Adam E. Badenhorst
5 min readAug 20, 2018
@BCK via Twenty20

We have become conditioned to accept that certain professional roles are geared for one gender or the other. By extension, this conditioning creates certain stereotypes, e.g. HR is for women, Construction is for men, and men should perform masculine jobs while women perform more feminine jobs. Now, these may seem quite broad and an exaggeration. What if you could gender bender those expectations?

Biology plays a key role

There belies certain truth that some professions may be more physically demanding like construction, so men tend to take those jobs. On the other hand, administration roles may suit women better, because women possess a better skill of paying attention to detail. Without a doubt, biology plays a key role in determining professions that may better suit one gender or the other.

The problem comes in that society takes these biological tendencies and turns them into fact. Or, rather society makes black and white assumptions that put people into bins like “Male” or “Female”. Undoubtedly, there has been some progress over time, but not enough. The lack of progress may be due to society limiting itself.

Society’s archaic, pedestrian view

A society that holds stoic views that are no longer relevant limit further progress. Take Saudi Arabia, a traditional society that has given some rights to women like driving, but still imposes the male guardianship law. The guardianship relates to a male relative accompanying the woman wherever she goes and giving her permission.

The consequence of having societal roles setup in such way leads back to the conditioning along with specific expectations of what each gender is required to do or is allowed to do. There are gender specific roles that cannot change. Laws dictate the way society should function and what role each gender must take on. However, we are in the 21st century where many societies recognise individuality and right to living freely.

Taking a more modern, open approach

You could ignore all of those expectations and give yourself the opportunity to buck the trend. For example, I recall myself being told that I shouldn’t focus on writing or creativity, because “it’s a girl’s task.” That statement within itself is discriminatory and demonstrated to me that I have to fall within my gender identity. Why should I accept this gender identity linking directly determining whether or not I am capable of writing?

The same applies to you. You should focus within self to find what you really like doing and being an individual. It’s those moments where the job or the profession goes against what gender labels say. Another example is the chauvinistic view that a woman should remain in the kitchen. Of course, women can cook if they want. But, I’ve got a few male friends who cook amazingly well. There lies the point — you make of what your given talents are. Those talents are you and define who you are regardless of what your gender is.

Avoiding to become a stereotype

Bottom line, don’t become a stereotype. You have the choice to choose what you want to do. For that reason, you can explore whatever you want and be curious about whether you can do it or not. Naturally, you may experience hardship or difficulties in either discovering what you want or turning that discovery into reality. In both scenarios, you have the power to influence it and make it a reality.

In addition, you have the power to influence those expectations that turn into stereotypes. You can either allow yourself to fall into the societal bin to which society stipulates that you belong or you don’t allow yourself. If you allow it, then you travel down a weary road of ignorance and disenfranchised fulfilment. If you don’t allow it, you become a disruptor.

Disrupting to success

To be successful, you have to challenge the status quo. If you look at any successful business, they either fixed what wasn’t working well or invented something completely new. The same applies to you as a person. You can stand out, take the criticism, and set a precedent. It’s that precedent that leads you to challenging the norms.

Again, take on something that is strictly meant for men if you’re a woman and you end up doing it better than a man — you’ve angered a lot of men, challenged masculinity at its very core, but you’ve set a precedent. The same could apply to men doing the very same thing to historically feminine professions or jobs. Now, we strictly focus on jobs, but the same applies to life at large. The more you disrupt, the more difficult it can become causing you to question everything you know about yourself.

Growing your internal strength

No matter what you do, you will face headwinds when you challenge the norm. It’s the nature of the beast. But, you need to remain strong to get through it. There’s that saying what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, and it’s got a ring of truth to it. Society may encircle and attack, because what’s accustomed is no longer accepted by all. Nevertheless, pushing through and surviving it is what makes the difference and the greatest impact.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, we have a choice to accept archaic, limited views on the world at large that categorise most of what we do as either “Male” or “Female”. Or, we have the freedom to go against this trend and fulfil our own interests.

The choice to take the leap depends solely on whether an individual can grab life by the horns and go for the crazy ride ahead. If they can, then they have the opportunity to make a lasting impact that shapes the future of society.

Finally, disrupting and shaking the societal structure and its values can lead to long-term positive change. That change can inspire generations to come. They will understand that we are more fluid and have an opportunity to try what our counterpart in species can do potentially better than we can at present.

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About me: I am a copywriter and storyteller who also manages various projects. I enjoy writing and always looking to improve and collaborate. I am an avid freelancer and looking to become a full time entrepreneur. You can follow me here on Medium or connect with me on LinkedIn.



Adam E. Badenhorst

Enterpreneur. IT & Heritage Consultant disrupting industries. AI, blockchain, SaaS, ERP.