Earlier this week I was having a conversation with freshmen girl and her boyfriend. We were talking about what are majors are and what clubs we are in. The topic of “what we wanted to be when we grow up” came up. I told them about how I wanted to be a superintendent of schools some day.

The young man burst out laughing. When I asked him what was funny, he told me that I was. Confused, I asked for some clarification. That’s when he said “You can’t do that!”

Apparently that was supposed to clear my confusion right up, but it didn’t. So I asked for clarification one again. And that is when he exclaimed, to both mine and his girlfriend’s disgust,  “Because you are a girl. You can’t be a superintendent because you are a girl. That is a man’s job!”

This is where I am going to pause this story.

I  binged the statement “a man’s job” and these are the results that I got.

  • Various different movie and play descriptions
  • “A man’s job is to love his wife”
  • Bruce Springsteen song lyrics
  • “No job should be considered a position only a man can excel in.”

No where was I able to find out what a man’s job was. Nor did I find anywhere that said a woman could not do a specific in any field. The only state in which I can find concrete statistics on in terms of superintendents of schools is Kansas, where 37.9% are women. While this is not half, it is increasing. In 1985, less than 10% of superintendents were women. We can only hope that this number will continue to climb towards equality as time goes on.

Furthermore, how can anyone determine what someone can or cannot do based solely on their gender. You do not know a person’s education, or their experiences, or anything else about them. As far as I know the only job in the United States that a women has been is the President of the United States, and even appears to be on the horizon. Therefore, for any other job, you need to know more about a person than their gender.

Now I am going to un-pause the story.

I asked this young man if he knew anything about me other than my major and what I wanted to be someday. He told me that he did not. I asked if he knew anything about the education field. He told me that he did not. So I asked why I couldn’t be a superintendent, or if the only reason that he had was my gender. He chose to remain awful quiet, which I took to mean that he had no other reason.

So I told him that I would in fact become a superintendent. I am going to do it despite people like him, people that judge other based on one simple physical trait. I will do it despite people like him that are not encouraging and put down other people’s dreams. I will preserver, I will use my intelligence and my abilities to reach the goals that I have.

No one but you knows what you are capable of. No one but you can tell you that you cannot do something. Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the words of others effect you in a negative manner. Use them as that much more motivation to do what you want to do and what you can do.



The photo is an edited version of the popular “You cant do that on television” image.