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Gender stereotypes in the society have been existing for a long period of time. This has been due to their intensively conventional simplified and persuasively convincing reference that makes people to easily belief them. Though these stereotypes have been adopted by majority of the people as part of their culture, they are wrong and should be discouraged as they are highly generalized, give wrong perceptions, discourage full potential exploitation from the people or make certain them to adopt unhealthy harmful practices in society (Richard & Zoe,2003).
Change to the gender stereotypes perception will form the basis of equality for both male a d females in all areas of development thereby portraying the greater sense of social civilization in the 21st century. Gender stereotypes in the society are dynamic and greatly influenced by the changing economic modes and social ideologies in the societal setting. They are greatly adoptive in different regions of the globe especially in the modern era of verbalization (Theresa, 2005).
This paper explores the gender stereotypes and myths in our society and how they influence the intent by individuals to adopt or pursue specific lines of development like careers, sports, modeling and even political ambitions. It also examines the current situation and the extent to which the society have been influenced by the gender stereotypes. With major comparisons and possible projections to enhance increased efficiency in the society, suggestions are highlighted to assist in reducing the major impacts resulting from the vice. 1. History and development of gender stereotypes in the society.
Biologically, men and women are different and therefore have different functions that goes along with their natural being. Though this has been used to indicate different views on the their society expectations, it is greatly misleading and can hinder full potential exploitation from different genders. Since long time in history, man has been depicted to represent brightness, hardness and positivity in the society. Through out the time, men have also been considered as the heads of the households and responsible for making appropriate decisions in the political arena.
On the other hand, women have characteristically been expected to be submissive, piety and highly domestic oriented in the society. They are required to assume softer roles and be less aggressive in order to be bale to mentor the children as they grow (Richard & Zoe, 2003). In majority of the societies like in China and Latin America, females were mainly supposed to perform household chores like cooking cleaning, tending to children and looking after their husbands. Also, they were expected to work in the farms and not in industrial regions as the heavy jobs were reservations for men.
In the modern western world cultures, young men are portrayed as being obnoxious, violent at times and prideful about promiscuity in their lives. They are also expected to be assertive, more intelligent, risk taking, combative, insensitive and tough, while women should posses politeness, slim figure, act as nurturers and homemakers. Through out the history, little changes have taken place to fully appreciate the input of women in the society both economically and politically (Margaret, 2003).
However, increase in the representation at high decision policy making positions and encouragement to the women to take higher risks in the economic arena indicates the changing trends in perception of the gender stereotypes. Unlike in the mid 19th century, all the high positions in the US government both gender representation. Appreciation has increasingly been recognized with the number of female senators to the federal government continuously rising. Other areas of middle and high class diplomatic leadership have also increased the democratic space for both genders representation with minimal or no bias at all.
2. Impacts of gender stereo types on education and careers As indicated earlier, females are perceived as being less competitive and possessing reduced ability to pursue careers in mathematics, engineering, medicine and other science oriented occupations in the society. Women are mythically considered to be qualitative as opposed to men who are perceived to be highly quantitative therefore making the girls themselves to believe that mathematics and sciences are for men only (Margaret, 2003).
Some of the societies in the East, Africa and the Caribbean have the tendency to direct the girls to social art oriented careers while boys are offered more opportunities in the diverse scientific careers that are considered more prestigious. This stereotyping and mythical believe is not only wrong but unethical as it acts to block the overall potentials of the females to pursue different careers related to sciences. There is no empirical statistics that show women have less ability to perform well in the science oriented careers.
Limiting them to less competitive careers has seen their reduced contribution to the society and acts to solidify more stereotype myths that portray them as domestic oriented as opposed to active participation in the economic development (Williams, 2006). To add to that, education preference has been more oriented to the boy child as opposed to the girl in the developing world. It is considered as less productive to educate a girl than to educate a boy since girls would sooner be married off therefore losing the prior investment on them.
The current globalized society’s success being based on education, the girl child is therefore less advantaged to access the major benefits of the high technological world. Marxism theories indicates that increase in living standards is dependent on the ability to provide skilled labor to the capitalistic world. He continues to infer that all factors of production should be dynamic in application for high competition and maximum returns to be realized.
As a result, limiting female children from education barricades them from possible future development and innovations as their negotiating capacity is fully crippled (Theresa, 2005). However, this perception has been proved wrong as more women are increasingly struggling and achieving equal or higher scholarly achievements than their men counterparts in the scientific careers. Major educational researches and scholarly work have been done by women and received major recognitions.
However, such achievement are not emphasized on since stereotypes tend to rely more on generalized aspects than the reality. Higher education and science subjects limitation due to the major stereotypes in the society, kills the overall desire of the female children to pursue different education careers as they would be perceived to be odd. In Trinidad and Tobago, despite the government great initiative to have more girls participate in science oriented subjects, over 80% of them prefer hospitality and secretarial studies (Margaret, 2003).
As a result of stereotyping men as generally good in the society to pursue scientific subjects careers, excess assumptions are laid on their abilities with priorities and talents not being emphasized on. Therefore, there is general tendency of the men to pursue careers in sciences as opposed general arts. Engineering profession in US has only about 25% of the people working there being women and 75% being men (Williams, 2006). In the Medical schools in Australia, the ratio of men to women is 1:3 indicating the high level of gender stereotype in the country.
Both genders should be given equal priorities to develop their careers as they are all gifted and talented differently. As a basic requirement in the society, scientific skills must be emphasized to both genders for faster transformation of the society in the 21st century and later years. Until recently, computer engineering was a specifically mens careers where women could not even try to figure out pursuing them. In the year 1996, the total number of women computer engineers in Canada was represented by only 9% (Williams, 2006). 3. Impacts of gender stereotyping in politics and governance.
Richard & Zoe (2003) points out that, over a longtime in history, political leadership has been dominated by men in different countries and states all over the world. It is believed that women are less capable of making correct decisions in the society as compared to their men counterparts. Gender stereotyping has consistently prevented women from being seriously considered in politics and high level offices. Great challenges lay in the way of entering and remaining in politics for the women from their men counterparts and the society in general.
Traditionally, women were not allowed to vote or hold elective position in different countries. US had to greatly struggle for the women to be granted the power to vote for the political leaders in the mid nineteenth century. In the year 2004, women representation in Jamaican government was only 3% since their independence in 1953. From the electorates in the society to the structured policies in individual governments constitutions, women are less favored to compete for different elective posts (Williams, 2006).
Uncritical promulgation of the female manifestos in Jamaica, Thailand, Venezuela, Germany and South America countries has assisted in portraying the male candidates as more suitable to their women counterparts. However, recent participation by women all over the world in important decisions making processes acts as a major indicator of how they can be involved in major decision making. They have therefore been limited in contributing important decisions that can assist in enhancing the globalization trends to make the world a better place to live in.
Michelle Bachelet and Megawati Sukarnoputri acted as presidents for Chile and Indonesia for the years 2006 and 2004 respectively. Others include President Arroyo for Philippine, Tarja Halonen for Finland and Moscoso for the democratic republic republic of Panama. Therefore, women are not inferior in politics and can be able to rule and make equally good decisions in their respective countries (Williams, 2006). Others like Condoleeza Rice, the US secretary of state have been involved in international critical decisions like war in Iraq, African Affairs and nuclear weapons development diplomatic intervention decisions making.
Their direct or indirect denial from participation in politics is therefore a clear indication of low levels in achieving democracy in various states in the world. Though, this view has widely changed, bulk of the masculine people especially in the developing countries must change their approach to enhance full potential reap from both genders (Theresa, 2005). 4. Gender Stereotyping in economic development. All over the world, women have been having great problems in development as compared to their male counterparts. It is considered that women are not supposed to inherit wealth from their matrimonial parents.
This view as held by most eastern cultures and has tendered to keep women away from economic development. Access to finances for development has always been tied to the ability of an individual to provide enough security against it. In China, Japan and Brazil, it is believed that a woman after developing and attaining a given age, should get married. They are therefore denied the autonomy of making independent choices of their later economic lives. This denial therefore ensures that they remain dependent on their immediate marriage partners for all their activities.
Though different regions and states like US and Britain have established ample legislative frameworks to prevent the exploitation women based on this myth, bulk of other countries still watch as women remain poor economically. As a result, their economic competitive ability is greatly compromised and overall economic situation derailed locally and internationally (Williams, 2006). As indicated earlier, women have have been having less chances to get educated in more competitive scientific subjects therefore, denying them the ability of accessing better jobs in the fast industrializing world.
Until recently, Canadian women were regarded as housewives and only participated in minor poorly paying jobs like working in farms and in fabric industries. Though this fact was overlooked for a long time, the trend is fast changing to give them a more inclusive chance to contribute to the economic development of the country. According to Williams (2006), due to the high dominance of the men in different governments, legislations to discourage women participation only in minor home affairs have been developing very slowly and at times met with great resistance.
As it was evident in Canada, women believed that they were supposed to be house wives and send their husbands to work and children to school. Besides, it was also believed that those Women who work are either widowed, unmarried or belong to far non Canadian community that have established investment in the country. The believe that all women should be house wives contradicts greatly the twenty first century economic trends where educated working women are highly respected and immensely contribute to the economic growth their countries. 5.
Gender stereotyping in sports According to Schmalz & Kerstetter (2006), sports have become major activities in the world that are used to bring great wealth to countries and individuals. Gender stereotyping however, has demanded strong compliance where women are expected to participate only to individual aesthetic activities that are pleasing and simplistic like gymnastics, synchronized swimming and figure skating against their male counterparts who are occasionally trained to participate in strenuous, aggressive and very competitive sports in the world.
This division encouraged and allowed the women to accept and adopt the unfounded physical limitation imposed to them by the society (Theresa, 2005). With the traditional views that women should remain attractive, groomed and nurturing, they are thus discouraged from participating in strong sports like lifting weights, grunting and being aggressive in the society. Due to this acceptance, young girls have been stigma conscious of gender in physical activities and sports.
Many of the activities that are encouraged for the women have high participation from the men counterparts. Swimming, tennis, badminton, bicycle riding, and athletics have as equal number of men like women. Boxing, football, rallying, horse riding and skating have little participation from the women as they are perceived as men sports. However, these trends have greatly changed and more women are participating in football, boxing and car rallying all over the world. Several states globally have tried to change the trend and encouraged more participation in sports by women.
During the 2008 Olympic sports in China, sports participation by women had increased tremendously from the previous world cap. Economic development that simultaneously realigns with these segregated sports are therefore denied for women making them to be even more dependent on men and reducing their ability to inspire other women in the society (Malszecki & Cavar, 2005). To add to that, talents are greatly lost from the various individuals that could have been developed to full appreciation through various sports.
As a result of confining women to the beauty and light sports, international representation has been lost greatly for various countries. Besides, women are concentrated more in only few sports that cannot accommodate them thereby discouraging increased participation in sports by women (Schmalz & Kerstetter, 2006). 6. Gender stereotypes in modeling and relationship Over years, it has come to be stereotypically accepted that women as opposed to men should be thin in order to look more attractive.
Physical appearance in women has been pasted as a major determinant factor in their overall success. Current media depiction of slim and less stout women to be more successful in life has made many young women to strive being like them in order to be equally successful. Major advertisements and beauty competitions are dominated by such slim ladies pasting the wrong attitude for their lives. Those ladies unable to remain slim are generally traumatized and looked down upon and by their counterparts in the society.
From the 1950s to 2005, woman’s body in Miss America contests as well as the Playboy Centerfolds have portrayed women thinness a major prerequisite for their consideration to participate and win. Other models all over the world copying from the west, have adopted the trend that is posted to all the media with great magnitude that even the very young girls only wish to remain slim and thus look attractive. Overestimation and failure to question critically the relationship of the preferred slimness in comparison to the immediate health consequences has been missing in this myth (Williams, 2006).
It have been categorized as harmful to refuse eating food in order to slim because of immediate susceptibility to diseases by the body. Everybody should feed adequately to enhance enough body immunity that increases it’s overall ability to fight against germs invasion. Adoption of slimming options by the female ladies has been ill advised and happens with little assistance from the medical assistants thereby putting them into greater risks. Extremely slim ladies have been considered more susceptible to periodic diseases invasion which may end up costing them more in treating the same ailments.
Continued slimming for long periods of time have been associated with reduced life expectancy for the specific individual due to lack of enough body supportive nutrients (Margaret, 2003). Modern relationships have been displayed and greatly exaggerated by the media where slimmer and lighter skin colored women are portrayed to be much more attractive and sexy in comparison to others in the society. As a major item in the western world and fast spreading due to other regions, all the young and old ladies want to look good when they are with their peers as well as when they are in relationships.
They therefore struggle to attain and retain the prescribed model like figures and maintain them through out to make them fit in the social groupings that develop in the society (Malszecki & Cavar, 2005). Besides, there is even higher risk to their health in the case where they use chemicals to assist them assume the slim preferred figures. These chemicals enhance immediate alterations of the hormones in the body thereby achieving the required change. However, over 65% of all the chemicals used for slimming have major side effects like cancer and bio-accumulative poisoning.
On the other hand, cosmetics are also increasingly being used to enhance the immediate change in the face appearance. Mercury and silver based skin lightening cosmetics demanded has risen with over 75% in the last 10 years. Though standards have been emphasized greatly to ensure reduced side effects, cases have been reported of massive chemical burns and even death after using various chemicals (Malszecki & Cavar, 2005). Great care should therefore be instigated for use and natural beauty appreciated for all the people. 7. Addressing gender stereotype in the society.
As indicated earlier, gender stereotype in the society involves attitudes by the people which are regarded by majority or all of them. Addressing them therefore, requires a combined effort approach where various entities will be required to positively confront the issue for holistic success to be achieved. 8. Use of policy and legislative framework To begin with, inclusive research should be instituted to enhance understanding of the problem from all the dimensions and identification of the immediate key players for the existence of the fallacy.
European Institute for Gender Equality has helped greatly in establishing the major gender imbalance based issues that promote stereotyping in the society. It’s immediate and long term effects should also be established to categorize the urgency (Richard & Zoe,2003). Then policies and legislative framework should be developed to encourage more equity and representation in the society. These policies should therefore ensure increased awareness creation and training to the teachers in different schools and their students on the need to reduce gender stereotypic approaches in the society (Theresa, 2005).
Besides, it should also be extended to the parents who play major roles in the early child development. Incentives should be established to increase participation by both genders. European Union after realizing the great impact that gender stereotyping was having in the society, it established a common policy to be used by all the European Union countries in removing the deeply entrenched disparities (Margaret, 2003). Accessibility of jobs previously prescribed as only for men was opened up for women in the member countries.
Besides, the member states agreed to develop individual objectives to be localized from the agreed agenda by reflecting the immediate country’s problems. 9. Using media to enhance change of attitude Malszecki & Cavar (2005) argues that, media should act as the key tool in promoting positive attitudes towards different genders while denouncing the stereotypic ones. As indicated earlier, media has played the greatest role in spreading stereotypes in the society due to it’s great availability and massive persuasive and convincing power especially to the young people.
Facts should be used in advertisements and extremism avoided in the whole process. Many people do not understand the negative outcomes of the gender stereotypes and therefore, both sides of the story should be told for informed decision from the different people in the society to be made. Though the freedom of the media is of great necessity at all times to enhance increased ability of the people to express themselves, it can be regulated to make it more responsible since it is the major contributor to the existence of the current high levels of gender stereotypes in the society (Williams, 2006).
10. Local and international cooperation To add to that, cooperation at all levels in the field of community development and youth affairs should be initiated in the line of jobs and employments opportunities in different states. As discussed earlier, majority of the disparities arise as a result of poor availability of employment opportunities that instigates sharp divisions guided by various mythologies relating to gender stereotypes. Increased industrialization and opening up of more chances related to different areas of specialization in working places should be enhanced (Richard & Zoe,2003).
This specialization therefore, would act as an opener to new opportunities in all careers. Introduction of unemployment benefits for the unemployed people of different genders would help reducing major held perceptions that are based on dependence of women to men through submissiveness. It would also increase their ability to invest and improve their independence (Williams, 2006). 11. Improving democracy in the society. Democracy as described in the classical theories of change in the society, acts as a major platform for total participation in all developments in the society.
Increasing democratic space for all the people in various decision making posts can reduce totally the perception that only men can hold such administrative posts in the management. As indicated in majority of the democratic world, all the people should have equal opportunity to contribute and sell their political agendas for increased efficiency and higher level management of their states. After Germany elected Engel Merkel as the chancellor in the country, great changes have taken place and people are admiring her mode of operations both locally and internationally.
At all levels of management, representation should be enhanced and made equal for both genders (Margaret, 2003). In regions where low levels of democracy still persist, policies should be established to reserve posts for both genders in the management structures. Acting as a major example in the present world, similar cases are being developed in the developed and developing world to enhance major economic growth (Richard & Zoe,2003). 12. Promoting gender equality in sports and careers
As a major abstractor in the sports field, both genders should be encouraged to participate in all the sports available for improved talents harnessing in the society. Negativism in one gender participation and scaring off should be discouraged at all times to allow improved development for both genders (Theresa, 2005). Careers development should be improved for better participation in the economic developments by both genders. Gender balance creates self esteem that aids in reducing the major disparities that go together with discrimination.
From the local and international arena, successful people in different careers and sports should be used as the major role models because of the facts attached to them (Schmalz & Kerstetter, 2006). Conclusion. Gender stereotypes have been adopted by majority of the people as part of their culture and are therefore used in defining their ways of living in the society. However, they are wrong and should be discouraged as they are highly generalized, give wrong perceptions, discourage total potential discovery from the people and hinder full potential exploitation in the society.
As it has happened in education and sports, various achievement of the major goals and objectives that assist people in assuming better earning jobs and thus improved lifestyles are highly limited and defined on the gender stereotyping attitudes possessed by the society. Change to the gender stereotypes perception will form the basis of equality for both genders in all areas of development thereby portraying the greater sense of social civilization (Williams, 2006).
Due to the high level of illusionary correlation in gender stereotypes, information on emphasis of slim models and discouragement of participation in sports by the females are highly deceitful to the people. They therefore portray wrong perception that are sooner adopted as part of life by the people in that region. Besides, being in the era of globalization development should be based on the major premises that are substantiated and not illusionary.
It should be fully discouraged and all the perceptions conclusively removed with immediate programs as it is a major abyss for talents, innovations and developments. Recommendations 1. Improve and increase cooperation from the of the major organs dealing with gender stereotypes in the society through awareness creation. 2. Promote economic independence of all the people in the society by opening up areas of employment and working (Richard & Zoe,2003). 3. Increase funds for gender based programs that will enhance increased participation from both males and females in the society.
4. Promote responsible media programs in the society that will enhance change of attitude for the better by the youths in the society. 5. Enhance improved research, implementation and monitoring into the established initiatives for effectiveness and conclusiveness of the goals set Reference list Malszecki, G. & Cavar, T. (2005). Men, masculinities, war, and sport. In Race, Class, and Sexuality. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall. Margaret, W. M. (2003). The Psychology of Women. Washington: Sage.
Richard, F. & Zoe, O. (2003) “ Gender stereo typing Stereotyping in State Executive Elections”, Journal of politics, (3)65, 25-49. Schmalz, D. & Kerstetter, D. (2006). Girlie girls and manly men: Children’s stigma consciousness of gender in sports and physical activities. Journal of Leisure Research, (4)38, 536-557 Theresa, M. (2005). Gender Myths V. Working Realities. New York: NYU Press. Williams, K. 2006. Globalization: Gender stereo typing in the 21st century and its impacts in