Why women need to break away from stereotypes disfavouring them?

 “Why do women need to break away from stereotypes disfavouring them?”


Gender stereotypes and prejudices based on gender are all too common. Gender norms are the first to harm girls’ self-esteem, ambition, and expectations. As a result, eliminating stereotypes and their accompanying behaviors should be a top concern for every society, starting in schools. As a preliminary step, some programs propose bringing female role models into the classroom.

According to the Global Gender Gap Index, closing the global gender gap will take 108 years. While traditional economic theories anticipate that discrimination based on factors like gender will eventually fade away as a result of competition, reality appears to tell a different story. The lack of women in male-dominated, high-paying industries like STEM is frequently regarded as a major contributor to the gender divide. Despite the fact that girls perform equally well on standardized math and science examinations in school, fewer women seek a professional career in these disciplines. Women appear to face a variety of challenges that have nothing to do with their abilities; one of them being gender stereotypes. 

A gender stereotype is a generalized opinion or preconception about the features, characteristics, or roles that are or should be fulfilled by men and women. As a result, a gender stereotype is harmful when it restricts women’s and men’s ability to develop their personal qualities or professional skills, as well as make decision-making and planning.

Gender stereotypes influence females all throughout the world, regardless of their country’s development level, and are promoted by society as a whole, from parents to schools. And, while some may dismiss this as insignificant, it has long-term negative implications for girls, lowering their goals and limiting their career prospects. From the age of six, girls begin to believe that they are less intelligent than boys (Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests, 2017). Boys and girls are not born sexist; it is something that we as a society do to them that causes them to become so. As a result, the subject has a vast socio-cultural context; one that, for example, identifies certain activities, attire, and interests with males, while others are associated with females. Women are under-represented in STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), according to UNESCO, with only 29% of researchers globally being women.

In India, as the economy advances, estimates indicate that the ratio of women in the workforce is decreasing at an alarming rate. From a high of 31% more than a decade ago, the percentage has recently plummeted to around 23%. This means that women are becoming less visible in India’s public life.

Why women should break gender stereotypes

  • Men are more likely to be recognized for joint achievements and women are more likely to be punished for joint failures when women work with men on male gender-typed tasks. Only when the woman’s individual contribution is unquestionable or her work expertise is really high can these negative performance expectations be overlooked.

  • Women are held to greater standards for promotion, according to research, promoted women have higher performance ratings than promoted men, and performance ratings are more strongly associated with promotions for women, while men are promoted based on their potential only.

  • When women defy stereotypes and go against expectations about how they “should” act, they pay a price: they are seen as dominant, less pleasant, and less hireable than men. Women were 30% more likely than men to be labeled intimidating, authoritative, or confrontational while negotiating for promotions (2016 study).

Women are seen as less competent when they conform to gender stereotypes (for example: by displaying emotional sensitivity and concern for others). However, if they defy gender stereotypes and act “like a man” (for example: by demonstrating dominance, ambition, and reason) they will face backlash. Stereotypes are deeply ingrained views that both men and women have held since childhood. Anyone can fall prey to this trap. Unfortunately, anti-discrimination legislation and legal actions are ineffective in combating this subtle kind of discrimination. Therefore, it is up to us to break away from stereotypes that disfavor us.

How to break gender stereotypes: Education

Education is where preconceptions are sown, and education is also where the solution lies. Curricula, textbooks, and teacher training programs should all be examined on a regular basis to ensure that gender stereotypes do not persist, and apprenticeship programs, tutorials, networks, and scholarships should all be considered to promote and support women’s participation in STEM disciplines. Teachers play a critical role in schools when it comes to offering high-quality, gender-neutral education that promotes students’ well-being and adherence to professional standards. One must question certain prejudices that we take as normal but are, in fact, social constructs. Reinforce children for their preferences, regardless of whether or not they match the stereotype’s expectations.

What can be done?

Raising awareness of these issues is insufficient on its own. Women should do the following to change people’s mindsets:

  • Learn because knowledge is power

Have you ever felt as if your repair shop had taken advantage of you? If yes, you are not alone. According to a study, auto-repair companies adjust their pricing quotes based on how knowledgeable callers appear to be about prices. Women were given a greater price than men when callers indicated they had no clue about how much the repair should cost. When a benchmark price was mentioned, however, the gender differences disappeared.

This example shows how a single piece of information might help minimize price discrimination based on gender and potentially change auto mechanics’ attitudes toward women. Surprisingly, the study discovered that when a woman inquired about pricing, repair shops were likely to provide a lower price than when a man inquired. As a result, well-informed women gained an advantage over men. The #SheCANics movement is a great example of women becoming empowered via education, knowledge, and support.

  • Enter male-dominated settings with confidence and speak up

Stereotypes will not go away unless people realize how detrimental they are. Women in male-dominated environments can play an important role in raising awareness. In order to promote gender equality and combat gender stereotypes, role models are important. Advertisers are also coming into this arena and are beginning to specifically empower women.

  • Be ready to react

Women should anticipate and be prepared to respond to an offensive or discriminatory remarks. While such questions or statements may have been acceptable in the past, it is now our responsibility to ensure that they will not be tolerated coming forward. Those who perpetuate gender stereotypes should be held accountable for their actions. We must acknowledge the existence of biases, and accept responsibility for them. Life may not be fair, but we have the power to change it.


People must share their perspectives and advocate for their ideas when working in decision-making teams to achieve professional success, so it is a problem if women are keeping quiet about male-typed subjects and if their ideas are valued when they do express them. Stereotypes are ubiquitous, widely held ideas that impact our perceptions of our own and others’ talents, often beginning at an early age. Until these prejudices can be changed, it is crucial to consider how we may better protect individuals from stereotype-induced biases, allowing them to pursue fulfilling jobs in areas where their passions and abilities lie.

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