Senior leaders share their thoughts on how we teach gender roles and responsibilities to children.
“The strongest lesson from Spiderman for me is to use one's talents for the benefit of others. And this should be regardless of gender.
The greatest obstacle for young girls and women in the Pacific is the traditional/cultural attitudes towards the role of girls and woman. This is also true in many other parts of the world. Girls and women are expected to be at home and look after their children, their husbands and/or their parents as well as helping out in the church, village etc. Girls and woman are expected to stay home from school to look after a sick parent, but there is not the same expectation of boys.
In an ideal world, success will be achieved when boys and girls (women and men) have equal representation in all of society's institutions - judiciary, parliament, civil service - and rewards are similar for similar roles. Boys and men can help this by not expecting girls and women to be subservient to them."
Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
“I have to confess I was never a fan of Spiderman or comics for that matter. But coming from a large family with literally no TV access, we became very good at playing games outdoors.
Our favourite was Cowboys vs the Military, USA mid-west style. However the girls were relegated to the role of nurses only! It literally took a military coup one day for all the girls to overthrow a 'fort' to show the boys we could play as strategically and hard as them. So we came out of the medical tent and onto the battlefield!
“We (women) don't help ourselves a lot. You have to ask for assistance, something that does not come naturally. You also have to learn to be comfortable with politics and power. My advice is for everyone to have mentors and confidants that are both men and women. Seek out senior and expert women in your organisation – every one of those women is a potential source of advice and mentor."
Susan Hodgkinson, ANZ Head of Group Credit Assurance
“I didn't really follow superheroes closely when I was growing up, but what does strike me about their message is that there's so much more to these individuals than meets the eye.
Hidden beneath their often mundane and ordinary lives, resides superhuman strength and abilities, as well as leadership abilities to overcome any challenge. I think this is one of the most important lessons that we can learn from these childhood idols.
Much like Peter Parker, are we – men and women alike – suppressing hidden abilities and values to fit in to accepted norms?
In an increasingly complex environment we have a great responsibility to be the change we want to see, whether it be in our day to day lives, or for the longer term future of the communities where we live and work."
Mark Baker, CEO ANZ PNG
“I love the quote from Spiderman 'with great power comes great responsibility'. To me, this speaks to leadership and the importance of being cognoscente that our actions pave the way into what's considered acceptable behaviour by those we lead.
Girls (and boys) have the power to dictate how they are treated and they need to own that power and responsibility. Girls need to take more ownership over their life-decisions and drive the outcomes that they desire. But we as a society need to get used to that change in stereotypical behavior.
I love the movement we're seeing in the US where Barbie toy maker, Mattel, is partnering with DC Comics to create DC Super Hero Girls, transforming the profile of super heroes. Similarly, a new start-up toy-maker Goldie Blox is creating a line of female toy dolls that are builders, scientists, and explorers. My advice to girls (and boys) is set your sights higher than you think you'll ever be able to achieve and work hard towards that goal."
Tammy Medard, ANZ CEO Lao