I Plan My Life: Gender Norms, Income and Independence

Gender influences our abilities to live independent lives, shapes our knowledge about educational and professional choices, impacts their accessibility; the actual freedom to choose; the availability of time resources, and much more. When working with young people, it is often neglected to look at the actual impact gender has on structural and societal circumstances, on the power of gender stereotypes and gender stereotyping, and the power dynamics and hierarchies that we find within the economic sphere.

Especially since economic realities and money are still highly tabooed topics in society. A fortiori, it is important to discuss these themes with young people and allow for an open discussion to shed light on the connection between gender and economy, economic injustices, and dependencies within relationships. Central to this is an examination of one’s economic reality and plans for the future.

Topics encompass the discussion of gendered role expectations, norms, and stereotypes that influence career choices, relationship models, notions of family, reproduction, and work-life planning and their consequences for relationships, daily life, time and money resources, and future life stages such as middle and old age. Furthermore, young people need to have a space to talk about their current economic situation and reflect on consumer behaviour, living with debt and trying to save some money. At the same time, young people are encouraged to formulate wishes concerning their careers and will receive guidance on how to turn them into reality. They will also learn about non-stereotypical professions and ways of life in order to broaden their horizons and possibilities. Another aim is to teach facts about economic and gender themes, provide a historic overview and make connections and historical achievements visible.

The aim is to ask young people about their views, about economic, gendered dependencies they experience in their lives and together with them create strategies to reach a more self-determined and free future.