Gender stereotypes continue to cause problems in the workplace, despite a drop in gender-related barriers and biases over the previous few years. Gender stereotypes limit many career and educational options for people of all genders and sexual orientations. The existence of gender stereotypes occurs despite workplaces having been mandated to provide equal opportunity. As a result of gender stereotypes at work, their sense of self-worth, competence, and ability is negatively damaged. Gender discrimination encompasses the inequalities in treatment due to traditional expectations, attitudes, and behaviors toward them.
What is Gender Stereotype?
According to the Gender Equality Law Center, gender stereotyping is the overgeneralization of a group’s features, distinctions, and attributes based on gender. To promote the idea that gender and associated behaviors are fixed, gender stereotypes produce widely accepted judgments concerning certain traits. If a man or a woman behaves differently than expected for their gender, the observer is confused. Individuals locked in a binary idea of gender have difficulty understanding individuals who do not fit into a strict gender dichotomy or do not identify with any gender.
Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace
Gender discrimination happens when one employee is treated differently because of their gender. In many cases, the employer will use a stereotype as the basis of this unequal treatment. Some of the most harmful gender stereotyping occurs when decision-makers hold a negative image of an employee because of their gender expression or sexual orientation. An example, in a company set up, they are more likely to hire or promote a male candidate as they think that woman of a certain age. However, as many assume that gender stereotypes only apply to women, they also exist among men. A woman may be better qualified for a job because she’s more sensitive or sexually attractive.
In addition, transgender and gender-nonconforming (people who don’t match up with the gender norms expected of them). They also suffer social and economic marginalization due to discrimination based on their gender identity or expression. This is the reality that advocates deal with working with transgender people who are dismissed from their jobs, mistreated, or unable to get the health care they require.
Ways to Break Stereotypes in the Workplace
Negative organizational cultures and implicit bias are still a problem in the workplace. It becomes challenging for some employees to bring their whole selves to work and grow in their jobs. But there are things that organizations can do to help fight this problem.
1. Set Specific Diversity Goals
Establishing some achievable gender diversity targets is an excellent place to start. It will help you keep on track throughout the recruitment process. Having goals to work towards can help you figure out which areas you need to improve.
2. Be Aware of Unconscious Stereotypes in the Interview Process.
By giving an interview guide using a series of standard questions used consistently throughout the process, the interviewer may more easily compare each candidate applying for the job fairly. These questions may include icebreakers, more straightforward questions, and any technical inquiries applicable to the role. It is critical to have rules for recording and interpreting responses during an interview. In addition, it’s a good idea to figure out what you want to hear from each person before you start interviewing them. In this manner, you’ll be able to tell when you’ve found the right applicant.
3. Use Language to Implement a Gender-Neutral Recruitment Procedure.
According to a study, language use might unconsciously reflect stereotypical gender norms. Any organization should debate and evaluate how the language and linguistic forms used to publicize job openings and roles can influence perceptions. Without realizing it, people frequently use gender-coded language due to their upbringing in a gender-biased society. Unequal social expectations for men and women and other genders can influence language.
When creating job boards and advertising, pay attention to the terminology you use, such as he/him, she/her, and they/them. Additionally, it is essential to use descriptive language to explain behaviors rather than statements that refer to the individual considered for the role, as this could result in biased interpretations. This not only combats gender bias but also ensures that those who are gender-fluid or non-binary are included.
4. Educate the Employees on Gender Stereotypes
If your staff are unaware of a problem, they will not take action. Determine that your business understands what gender stereotypes look like in the workplace, both observable and hidden, and how to avoid them. Demonstrating the topic using examples and exercises can be beneficial. Additionally, they emphasize that gender bias operates in both directions, not only toward one gender. With clear education and definitions, they can better identify stereotypes when they see or hear them.
5. Stand Up to Gender Bias When It Happens
Whether it’s a snubbed opinion or a joke, the company must address instances of gender inequality, discrimination, and implicit bias. It is how you raise awareness of the visual and verbal expression stereotype. However, this does not mean that you should be rude to your co-workers or superiors. It may provide an opportunity to teach another employee about the desired treatment method in the workplace.
It does not imply that this is simple. It’s frequently embarrassing and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Still, the more gender bias is exposed and discouraged, particularly by managers and leaders, the more likely an organization is to prevent it in the workplace.
6. Offer Flexible Work Options
We’ve discovered that working from home has become a very new and regular part of our lives, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. Numerous successful businesses have responded by introducing new flexible work arrangements and employee parental leave perks. This increases employee satisfaction and can also assist in closing the gap and resolving underlying discrimination. Before, women were chosen to care for their homes and children, which means they may have missed out on promotions in favor of males visible at the office. By bridging this gap and enabling both parents to care for their families, both are provided with equal chances.
7. Establish Mentoring Programs
Encouragement for any gender in the workplace isn’t always enough. Many employees need extra help and expertise to reach their career goals. Mentoring can connect them with senior executives or colleagues who can help them achieve the next promotion or change. They should mentor them since men still control the majority of senior leadership roles in corporations worldwide. Its inclusivity can make any gender feel more connected and involved at work.
All of us have distinct talents and abilities, and we should be proud of our individuality, regardless of our gender. A more culturally and racially diverse workforce boosts productivity, increases market share, and fosters new ideas.
So, let’s break any stereotypes that will hold us back from achieving our goals.