Social Studies

Gender and stereotypes

Gender stereotypes are simplistic generalizations about the gender attributes, differences, and roles of individuals and/or groups. Stereotypes can be positive or negative, but they rarely communicate accurate information about others. When people automatically apply gender assumptions to others regardless of evidence to the contrary, they are perpetuating gender stereotyping. Many people recognize the dangers of gender stereotyping, yet continue to make these types of generalizations.

Traditionally, the female stereotypic role is to marry and have children. She is also to put her family’s welfare before her own; be loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, and sympathetic; and find time to be sexy and feel beautiful. The male stereotypic role is to be the financial provider. He is also to be assertive, competitive, independent, courageous, and career‐focused; hold his emotions in check; and always initiate sex. These sorts of stereotypes can prove harmful; they can stifle individual expression and creativity, as well as hinder personal and professional growth.

The weight of scientific evidence demonstrates that children learn gender stereotypes from adults. As with gender roles, socializing agents—parents, teachers, peers, religious leaders, and the media—pass along gender stereotypes from one generation to the next.

One approach to reexamining conventional gender roles and stereotypes is androgyny, which is the blending of feminine and masculine attributes in the same individual. The androgyne, or androgynous person, does not neatly fit into a female or male gender role; she or he can comfortably express the qualities of both genders. Parents and other socializing agents can teach their children to be androgynous, just as they can teach them to be gender‐biased.

Emerging as a powerful sociopolitical force beginning in the 1960s, the feminist movement, or women’s liberation movement, has lobbied for the rights of women and minorities. Feminists have fought hard to challenge and redefine traditional stereotypic gender roles.

It is a situation in which someone is treated less well because of their sex, usually when a woman is treated less well than a man: Gender discrimination occurs when sexes are treated unequally. Gender discrimination is not based solely on gender differences but on how people are treated differently because of their sex. Employers who provide different working conditions and promotional opportunities for men and women violate anti-discrimination laws

Some areas where Gender Discrimination occurs;



Family roles


Negative effect of gender stereotyping

There are several effects and consequences of gender discrimination, especially in employment. Gender discrimination in the workplace leads to an increase in employee turnover and creates a hostile work environment. Gender discrimination also promotes harassment and possible workplace violence. Victims of gender discrimination have the right to file lawsuits to recover damages suffered as a result of discriminatory practices.

Lost Productivity. If employees have to focus on dealing with sexual harassment, the attention they are able to give work may be significantly diminished.

High Employee Turnover. A hostile work environment may lead to a high employee turnover. Employees who do not leave may be overburdened or distracted by having to train replacement employees.

Damaged Morale. A hostile work environment can lower the morale of those directly affected, which can also lead to widespread discontent throughout the workplace.

Solutions Gender Discrimination

Several state and federal laws prohibit gender discrimination and offer remedies for such behavior in employment as well as in education and financial institutions. The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The Equal Pay Act promotes equality between men and women who perform the same job duties in the same workplace. Diversity and inclusion policies also help to remedy gender discrimination by promoting equality between the sexes.

You probably see gender stereotypes all around you. You might also have seen or experienced sexism, or discrimination based on gender. There are ways to challenge these stereotypes to help everyone — no matter their gender or gender identity — feel equal and valued as people.

Point it out — Magazines, TV, film, and the Internet are full of negative gender stereotypes. Sometimes these stereotypes are hard for people to see unless they’re pointed out. Be that person! Talk with friends and family members about the stereotypes you see and help others understand how sexism and gender stereotypes can be hurtful.

Be a living example — Be a role model for your friends and family. Respect people regardless of their gender identity. Create a safe space for people to express themselves and their true qualities regardless of what society’s gender stereotypes and expectations are.

Speak up — If someone is making sexist jokes and comments, whether online or in person, challenge them.

Give it a try — If you want to do something that’s not normally associated with your gender, think about whether you’ll be safe doing it. If you think you will, give it a try. People will learn from your example.

If you’ve been struggling with gender or gender identity and expectations, you’re not alone. It may help you to talk to a trusted parent, friend, family member, teacher, or counselor.


List FOUR areas where Gender Discrimination occurs?

List THREE Negative effect of gender stereotyping?

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