Be what you want to be

Here’s a riddle

A father and son are in a horrible car crash that kills the dad. The son is rushed to the hospital, just as he’s about to go under the knife, the surgeon says, “I can’t operate that boy is my son!” Explain.

Answer. The surgeon is the boy’s mother. What was your answer?

As part of a research, this riddle was posed to 103 children (aged seven to 17) at a summer camp in the U.S., a few years ago. Only about 15% of the children gave mother as the answer. Many are said to have come up with very creative answers such as the father in the car was a priest, and that the whole sequence was a dream, and that the surgeon was a ghost. etc The study showed it was difficult for them to imagine the mother as a surgeon. Apparently, the results were no different for an alternate version of the riddle a mother is killed, her daughter sent to the hospital, and a nurse declines to attend to the patient because that girl is my daughter few people guessed that the nurse might be the child’s father.

The study concluded that even young people “tended to overlook the possibility that the surgeon in the riddle was a she”. If you had thought that the surgeon was a father too (the boy with two gay fathers), credit to you for inclusivity. But it still seems that it could be the 21st Century but we continue to associate certain competencies and professions with certain genders.

Did you know?

No, says NASA

Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State., the U.S. has often recounted how as a teenager fascinated with space travel she wrote to NASA to volunteer for astronaut training, Much to her disappointment she received a response from NASA that said they did not accept girls in the programming. But women chose to smash the misconception that they were any less capable of men to be successful astronauts. And today, as many as 65 women have flown to space. While this number is much less than the number of men to have gone to space, it shows we are individuals with different capabilities that should not be defined or limited by our gender

Twice as nice

History is full of evidence that in a variety of areas, including art, science. Technology, astronomy, and research, the Contribution of women was always enormous and priceless yet they were sidelined by powerful men who did not give the women their due but enjoyed ownership over their work and the resultant glory. A turning point to this was at the beginning of the 20th Century when the first person to receive the coveted Nobel Prize twice was a woman – Marie Curie, a Polish scientist.


One of the most successful Indian cricket captains, Mithali Raj said in an interview last year, “When broke the world record for the highest individual Test score in 2002 people didn’t know about it unless they were going out to buy the newspapers.” Though cricket has always been popular in several parts of the world, the women team’s games did not get much attention. And, that’s gradually changing, Hearteningly, the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia recorded 1.1 billion video views through the governing body’s digital channels, becoming the “most-watched event in women’s cricket history.”

These instances are reminders that presumptions about what profession a person from a certain gender can / must pursue are just that – presumptions. To realise our dreams, all we need are interest, awareness, ability, resolve, and hardwork. Of what relevance is our gender in that passionate pursuit? As Mithali Raj rightly said, “Today, a young girl can have a role model in the form of a female cricketer and I think that’s the biggest chance I have seen.”


Picture Credit : Google