GENDER STEREOTYPING IN THE SOCIETY AND WORKFORCE, HOW TO SOLVE THEM INDIVIDUALLY
As a child grows from childhood to adulthood, every part of her body is made to fit into society’s laws and notions. Not only that, she observes that her similar actions as the opposite sex are not judged in the same way. Now she is curious, Why can’t she behave in her own way, What effect does it have on her future?_
In the early 19th and 20th centuries, The European paintings and photographs depicting the Arabs and the Arabic world as an enigmatic place consisting of sands, harems, and belly dancers marked a historical advancement describing stereotypes. People, groups, and even larger communities continue to face similar conditions until today. Merriam-webster dictionary defines stereotype as a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment. They are often seen as practices that deprive people of their own nature and bottle them within a particular law or definition, accrediting them attributes that do not belong to them.
Gender is a social construct that operates all together with attributes like race, class, and are generated by different societal definitions of each of them. Two distinct groups, however, were in the early days suggested to make up the stereotype process. The majority, more authoritative group, and the minority group in view of the fact that the majority treats the minority according to their own notion of them. This is proved by Herbert Blumer’s theory of social interactionism which defines that people treat other people based on the meaning they interpret from them which connects with the way they interpret the world around them. Sometimes, this doesn’t just deal with the people, they can be represented as a generalized notion that can affect groups even as large as a society.
There are a lot of differences between men and women. The society is aware of this and it automatically stereotypes gender in its own definition. For instance, In the Yoruba culture, women are reserved for learning skills reserved for women only. It is, however, odd and abominable to see the females doing otherwise. In many other societies, colour coding of children’s clothes and assigning household chores with gender specification is very apparent.
Furthermore, in gender stereotyping, the generalization that women’s education ends in the kitchen may have contributed to women’s less participation in soaring in education. Researchers have found that one major effect of high-handed gender stereotypes is the divergence in the labor markets. While certain fields such as engineering and major science courses are believed to be suitable for men, other fields like catering and secretarial studies are assigned majorly for the female gender. According to economic theory, ” gender discrimination or stereotypes may be explained by employers imperfect information on human capital characteristics.” This causes most people to choose their fields based on stereotypes rather than their abilities. With this, an adverse effect is seen on not only the society but also on individuals who might get frustrated following what they really want thereby making good talents and abilities misallocated.
As we have today, the female gender continues to advocate for emancipation and fixing in their countries. A study done by Ogaji in 2010 recorded that the population reference bureau of 2002 reveals that gender inequality manifests more in the poorest, uneducated countries of the world, but for over 60 years of the Universal declaration of human rights, there are still women suffering discrimination on a daily basis in cities of the world. Self-representation however can help us get through the shackles of gender stereotypes today. By representing oneself in subjective ways, It helps to disapprove or accord properties that we think are attributed to us. For instance, the British prime minister, James Cameron in 2016 had published an article on national papers about his intentions to invest 20 million pounds in empowering British Muslim women to learn English which in turn, will help them to be able to tackle their “traditional submissiveness”. This sparked a lot of storms from Muslim women living in Britain and around the world forming the hashtag” traditionally submissive” on Twitter with photos of themselves and a list of their accomplishments. One of which was a picture of an old lady who had written on a whiteboard, ” Retired Nurse, Interpreter, Speaker of 6 languages, active charity volunteer #traditionally submissive”. Another young lady put a caption in her photo, ” #traditionally submissive, BA(Hons), LLB, MPA, speaker of multiple languages, writer, working in the hi-tech industry”, and so on. This was to help educate the public that Muslim women also contribute a lot to society and to help the public see them in a new light without denying the fact that there are British Muslim women who can’t actually speak English, yet putting them under one notion makes a stereotype.
Conclusively, knowing that gender stereotypes have become an issue in daily activities, It is equally becoming detrimental to the world’s economy and labour force due to a lot of abilities that get wasted thereby putting individuals in situations that they do not want. However, though it is very difficult to overcome stereotypes when they are set, yet individually, we can do the work by representing ourselves in our own way regardless of preconceived ideas of any group we may belong in.
Oluwadamilola Yusuf is a student at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. She is studying B(sc). Computer Science. She loves reading, coding, and writing, activities. She hopes that her writings can get through a bigger audience than she has now.