From left, Linda Bishop, Alanna Keeley and Hannah Walker wore designs by Patrick Bragg at this year's fashion show December 8, 2017 at Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Courtesy photo.

Trailblazers Rewrite Gender Roles

January 19, 2018

Girls play dress-up, boys play football. That’s how it’s always been, but that’s not how it always will be. Gender stereotypes are slowly diminishing. Society is adapting to the idea of men and women branching out and taking on new jobs they find intriguing.

For an extensive period of time men and women had specific duties they performed. They didn’t branch out and try new things that interested them. They did what society deemed as “a correct job” for their gender.

Men didn’t stay home with the kids, they went out and worked. If they weren’t the head of the family or the boss of a company, they were perceived as weak.

Women didn’t have the role as an administrator of company, they tended to the house and family. They weren’t seen as the boss, instead they were recognized as bossy.       

It is time those patterns stop, and people do what they love no matter their sex.

Students and staff alike are a part of shattering the stereotypes.

Play like a girl

Sophomore Kylie Barcelona is a part of a local hockey league. Hockey has always tended to be a male dominated sport due to its aggressive nature. This is proven true just within Kylie’s hockey league, where she is the only girl out of all 6 teams.  Kylie has been playing since she was 7 years old. She now plays for Snider’s team, as one of their two goalies.

In between the pipes is where Kylie Barcelona glides across the ice for the Snider club hockey squad. Photo courtesy of Joe Hacker

“Boys often don’t realize I’m a girl until I take off my helmet,” said Kylie.

She said that once they know she is a girl, they often begin to think they are better than her.  Kylie said that the boys from other teams often underestimate her because she is a girl; that is until she blocks one of their shots.

Even in professional hockey there is no female representation. According to, Manon Rheaume was the first and last female to play in the National Hockey League. She played in the 90’s as a goalie for Tampa Bay Lightning, during their pre-season. She also became an Olympic silver medalist and played for her home country of Canada for a year on the women’s team.

Kylie is also a part of an exclusively female hockey team. According to there are a record number of girls/women in hockey; 73,076 members in the US, as of the 2015-2016 season. Hockey is an ever growing sport that is beginning to “play like a girl.”

Running the show

It doesn’t stop there. Senior Patrick Bragg has been going against the standards for years by taking part in the fashion program here at Carroll. He has been sewing since the age of 8. He has gained many skills over the years leading to him making many of his own clothes as well as various garments for others.

Patrick made seven outfits for the school’s fashion shows over the past two years, two prom dresses, 12 items for himself and multiple others things for friends and family.  Patrick plans to pursue a career in fashion design after graduation.

I plan to study fashion design and possibly get a job as a costume designer,” said Patrick.

Patrick said that he doesn’t tend to encounter too judgement from others about his interest in fashion.

However, in the beginning, his parents questioned his decision.

My parents at first did not think that I could get a serious job in the arts, but after seeing how serious I was about fashion, they began to see that I could actually get a job in the field,” said Patrick.

Despite the Fashion Industry being primarily male dominated, a large amount of people peg Fashion and Textiles as female led class.

According to in 2016, at Paris Fashion Week only 37 percent of designers are female, and at Milan Fashion Week a mere 31 percent of designers were women. With the highest number of female designers in showcase, New York and London Fashion Week both had around 47.3 percent.

In every fashion week across the country it is surprising to many that women don’t run the shows, but instead men have the primary influence in the fashion trends for the upcoming season.

Males shouldn’t let stereotypes hold them back from indulging into the world of fashion. They surely won’t be the first, or only male to take part in the most stylish industry out there.

Authority redefined

Positions of authority have seemingly never been defined as a woman’s work. Men have the power and the say.

Male dominance in the workplace is still prevalent, just not as often as it was in the past. Exceeding amounts of women have been taking on jobs with a leadership role involved. In fact Assistant Principal Mrs. Tanya Pickett and Assistant Principal Mrs. Courtney Veith are two of the many women holding authority in the workplace.

In the NACS district it is uncommon to see women in high jobs; they tend to be outnumbered.

Going back and forth between the Freshman Center and the 10-12 building is common for Asst. Principal in charge of CFC Tanya Pickett. Photo by VM Smith.

“At meetings you are definitely in a room with mostly males, 90-95 percent males and just a handful of females, you are definitely in the minority,” said Mrs. Pickett.

It is a common assumption that your gender doesn’t change your experience in a job, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. According to both Mrs. Pickett and Mrs. Veith, they have encountered students, as well as parents who refuse to speak with them. They request to communicate with their male counterparts who hold the same or even less authority.

“Some students will not speak with you or they will speak to you very derogatory,” said Mrs. Pickett. “Students will now often request to speak with Mr. Yates, especially the male students.”

Mrs. Veith has had similar experiences with students and parents alike. She actually never expected that she would be a high school administrator.

“I was an elementary school teacher, I’d just gotten out of college and my superintendent in Indianapolis approached me and said ‘I see you being a leader, would you be willing to take some administrative classes?'” said Mrs. Veith. “When your superintendent approaches you to ask you to do something like that you say yes and so I did.”

She went on to get her masters and then go from there. She ended up loving the classes and being able to communicate with people. She then began to look for a job in the field.

“To be honest at first high schoolers kind of scared me, and I thought I was just going to be with ‘littles’ the majority of the time, but I worked Mrs. Pickett’s maternity leave for six weeks as the district coordinator and I fell in love,” she said.

Assistant Principal Mrs. Courtney Vieth patrols the halls at CHS. Photo by VM Smith.

She found out that she loved the conversations she was able to have with the high schoolers. She hadn’t expected to love higher education more than elementary education, so enjoying Carroll administration came as an amazing surprise.

Growing up, Mrs. Veith said she had always loved having control over things and being able to be organized in everything. She led in group projects, took on leadership roles in clubs, and even in college she took on as many leadership roles as possible.

Mrs. Veith said that going to CHS and now working here she has noticed that Carroll has lacked females in administrative roles. She said it is more common to see a female working in school administration when it is at an elementary school.

             This comes as a surprise to many, but it is often easier for younger students to connect with a female admin rather than a male. That isn’t always the case though. As Mrs. Veith and Mrs. Pickett said, many Carroll students and parents prefer to speak with their male counterparts.

        The overwhelming amount of female leadership inside and outside of school is important for young girls. It gives them a glimpse of what they can achieve if they pass by any possible setbacks or judgements.

No limits

        Like the lack of females in administration roles, there is also a dearth of female pastors.

        Savannah Bley is a 23-year-old youth pastor at Pathway Community Church. She grew up in Nappanee. Her father was a pastor at a local church, so she always had grown up in a religious family.

Savannah Bley delivers a sermon January 10 at Pathway Community Church for the Impact high school ministry. Photo by Kelsey Murphy.

        “I wanted to be a youth pastor because I’m so passionate about seeing students encounter Jesus and understand how much he loves them. He changes people’s worlds,” said Bley.

        This led her to pursue a career in youth ministry so she attended Bethel College to obtain her degree. She took an internship over the summer at Pathway for the past couple of years. In May of 2017 she graduated from Bethel and is now Pathway’s only female youth pastor.

        Pathway’s high school ministry (Impact) and middle school ministry (Impulse) has about three other youth pastors, all male.

It isn’t just at Pathway where there is a sparse amount of women in ministry, it is all over.

According to, 12 percent of all congregations in the US have a female as a senior pastor/ leader. Although the numbers are low it is a growth of about nine percent in the past 10 years.

“Not many people are fans of women in ministry because they aren’t used to it,” said Savannah. also states that 79 percent of people are comfortable with a female pastor. Even with the large number of supporters females still face setbacks and are turned away because of the old fashioned precedent.

        Savannah adds a new touch to the youth ministry program. Being female allows her to connect with many of the girls at Impact in a way that was harder for the males.

She has built very strong relationships with her students and even considers some of them to be friends.

        The push back and judgment she faced was worth the relationships she made and the many lives she changed and will change.

         Savannah expects and hopes to see more women step out into the world of ministry, hopefully some of her own students.

        It isn’t just females receiving push back for having a leadership role, males face criticism for displaying interest in the arts. No matter the gender there should never be a limit on what someone does.

        It is up to the individual to do what they love, that’s what makes a society thrive. People loving what they do and no letting stereotypes dictate their decisions.

      “I have faced some setbacks but I am a firm believer that God gifts us all differently,” said Savannah. “We shouldn’t limit God and the gifts He has given us.”

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