Gender Stereotypes and Bias in the Workforce

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Gender Bias and Stereotypes have been an ongoing issue and there has been much debate whether it still exists today. There has also been extensive debates on the gender pay gap dilemma in America and modern Western Society. It is a complicated issue that must be broken down into sections because it is not black and white but rather complex and multilayered. This paper focuses on how gender bias and stereotypes are still common in the workforce, as well as if the reasons are in fact acceptable. There are explanations through research and studies determining why gender bias happens in the workforce. This paper will also explain the vast differences between men and women as it relates to the aforementioned topic. The goal is to gain more of an understanding and acquire enough evidence to explain whether gender bias is acceptable or not.

Do Gender Bias/Stereotypes Still Exist?

Gender Bias and Stereotypes most certainly still do exist in today’s modern world. According to the Taking Sides Article, “Gender Bias is the tendency to value men and masculine traits over women and feminine traits” (D’ Angelo, R., and Douglas, H. (2017). When people think of gender bias they think of unequal treatment in the workforce when it comes to wages, promotion, benefits, and privileges. When it comes to Gender Stereotyping, this is a preconception of characteristics or roles that ought to be possessed by or performed by men or women. A gender stereotype is damaging because it limits women’s and men’s capacity to develop their own abilities. It also hinders their pursuit in their professional careers and the choices they make in their lives.

It is evident that women are still facing gender discrimination in the workforce and are not being valued in the way men are valued. According to the Taking Sides Article, “Men’s qualities are more positively valued than women’s qualities” (D’ Angelo, R., and Douglas, H. (2017) p. 123). It is safe to say that women feel the extra pressure to constantly prove themselves and their abilities in a male dominated work place. For example, women will likely be afraid of making mistakes due to people using excuses such as women are just not capable. Women are looked as fragile and delicate creatures who need guidance and protection. There was a study conducted where equally qualified men and women applicants called about jobs that were traditionally masculine or feminine.

The supervisors answered by discouraging or disqualifying women who were interested in men’s jobs and men who were interested in women’s jobs (D’Angelo, R 2017; Levinson, 1975). There was also a survey where male managers found that compared to male employees, females were seen as less competent and motivated (Güngör and Biernat, 2009; Rosen and Jerdee, 1978). Gender Bias is also evidenced by the fact that women’s physical and psychological difference from men are often cast in terms of disease or disorder. For example, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) describes the hormone related to mood changes that women allegedly experience each month. The research conducted was not enough to categorize all women, there was only a small minority of women, about five percent who experience severe enough PMS symptoms to see a physician (D’ Angelo, R., and Douglas, H. (2017) p. 124).

This is not enough evidence to classify this as a reason for women to be undervalued, or taken seriously. The gender pay gap has been a prominent issue where women are continuing to fight for equal pay. “Historically, men have earned more than women for equivalent work, an outcome called the gender pay gap” (D’ Angelo, R., and Douglas, H. (2017) p. 138). The gender pay gap is significantly larger among women of color and mothers. There are jobs where women do earn more than men but that rarely happens. Some examples where this may be the case would be occupations such as medical assistants, special education teacher, and office clerks. There are many different cultures that also hinder the potential and progression of women in the workforce. “Gender Bias occurs due to failure of families to internalize inner-household externalities” (Lahiri, S., & Self, S. (2007). Some cultures don’t allow their daughters to work.

Some people may argue that gender bias and stereotypes have plausible reasons behind them. The Gender Stereotypes and Workplace Bias article suggests, “Research has provided evidence that there is a perceived lack of fit between the demands of high-level organizational positions and characterizations of women. Research has also confirmed that women approach male gender-typed tasks with less confidence and more trepidation than do men” (Madeline E. Heilman, 2012. p. 113-135). Today, women are more likely than men to complete high school, attain bachelor’s degrees, and earn advanced degrees, and this gap between men and women has been steadily increasing over the past thirty years (Koch, A. J., D’Mello, S. D., & Sackett, P. R. (2015).

No one can argue that men and women are very different. Men possess certain characteristics that are and can be much more amplified compared to women. Some of these characteristics include aggression, empathy, helpfulness, cognitive abilities, and physical abilities. There is research evidence suggesting that women and men differ in behavioral characteristics. In the Journal of Personality Assessment, “Women are less likely to report spending more time at work than other activities” (Beiler-May, Angela (2017) p. 104). There is a reason why gender bias and stereotypes exists in the first place. Women have a much more empathetic nature and can let emotion influence them instead of logic. When it comes to the gender pay gap, there are multiple reasons for this dilemma. It must be broken down piece by piece because there could be many reasons why women don’t earn the same as men. There has been studies and research that can back this up.

Example, there is empirical evidence where certain men are more willing to sacrifice virtually all of their life for the pursuit of a high end career. These types of men possess characteristics such as high intelligence, very conscientious, very driven, high energy, healthy and willing to work a demanding schedule. They will sacrifice more usually compared to women to get to the very top. It is important to note that it isn’t so black and white with this issue. For instance, even though gender may be a factor for the gender pay gap, it is much more complicated than that. Clinical Psychologist Jordan Peterson suggested that you have to look at the competence level, age, health, personality, and availability of the individual (News, C. 4. (2018, January 16).

After much research, there will always be some type of gender discrimination in the workforce. It is inevitable as men and women are very different. Men and women can have similar characteristics but they are still very different. Men are looked at as strong, brave, dominant, protector, and provider. Women are looked at as feminine, caretaker, empathetic, and nurturing, and caring. Authors Koch, D’Mello, and Sackett suggested that “Stereotypes are category-based traits or attributes that are often applied to a group of people as a result of accepted beliefs about the members of the group and these stereotypes can result in bias which is an inaccurate evaluation reflecting a generalization rather than focus on an individual’s true qualities” (Koch, A. J., D’Mello, S.D., & Sackett, P. R. (2015). This is damaging when women are trying to prove themselves to compete on the same level as men.

However, there are female dominated jobs as well and in some cases women make more than men in certain professions. There is no denying that women must work harder when it comes to proving themselves in a male dominated field but they must be willing to put in the work and sacrifice a lot because there are men who will do just that. It comes down to proving yourself with qualifications, intelligence, decisiveness, hard work, time, and discipling instead of proving that you should get paid the same solely due to gender.


Cite this paper

Gender Stereotypes and Bias in the Workforce. (2020, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gender-stereotypes-and-bias-in-the-workforce/

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