Though we live in an age that is more connected, more transparent and where cries for rights and justice are heard, stereotyping is something that still lurks around the corner of human perceptions. Some stereotypes are like contagious diseases, we do not even know how it gets into our mind and it becomes infected with an idea that is so loosely based upon limited facts and holds no credibility. We are not even able to comprehend that what we are doing is something that may hurt someone’s sentiment. Stereotyping is an age-old problem with the characteristics of a Hydra, when you try to cut off one of its evil head, ten other grows in its place.
When it comes to workplace, stereotyping is a big problem that affects the productive environment and also affects the employees. There are various types of stereotyping that can be related to a workplace, but the most common one can be said to be gender stereotyping. It is a surprising thing even after glorious examples of women excelling in their fields of work; gender stereotyping is still prevalent in almost all offices. In many places it is overlooked; whether it may be due to the reason that companies do not want to get involved in major issues or they do not have solid policies, but it is one of the many reasons that brilliant female employees are pushed behind in competition as compared to their male ones.
The basic role that every organization wants from their employees is ‘the success of their business”. As long as you can contribute to that success equally, you are doing a great job and no stereotyping remarks or ideas should come in the way of your work. You will never find any job websites in India or abroad where the postings are classified according to the gender. Obviously sometimes there are limitations but that is not anyway diverse.
Before the turn of the 20th century, women were not even allowed to exercise any suffragette rights because they did not have any. They were being held in the same level as that of convicts and lunatics. Today, you will find women challenging man for the position of a country’s foremost position. If it these gender stereotypes were true, you would not have seen woman like Hillary Clinton running for president of the mightiest countries like USA. Workplace is a small challenge compared to a country. If you have faced or fear facing gender discrimination or stereotype, it is time you stood up and showed your true identity. No I don’t mean like Trinity in Matrix, wearing tight leather suits and kicking up men’s asses; but there are other subtle ways where you can show that these gender stereotyping are a bunch of misconceptions.
Let us look at some of the ways how you can bust these stereotyping and overcome these:
- Stereotype: They will judge your gender
When it comes to gender stereotyping in workplaces, the most common things that you may perceive is that your work is being judged according to your gender. Whenever there is a situation of handling important matters, it may be expressed explicitly or subtly that ‘man’ are better in handling such situations.
It is often stereotyped that women are more emotional and cannot be able to give judgement without taking their emotions into account. In some matters of decision, your voice may not be given importance.
How to overcome it: Remember that being a woman gives you some of the advantages that will help you to overcome such gender stereotyping. Being a woman is a great thing and you should be proud of it and show such small-minded professionals that the level of your professionalism is as good as man and even better in many situations. Get them back at their own game and surprise them.
- Stereotype: Women cannot be good leaders
This one of the most common type of gender stereotyping that is prominent in any workplace. If a woman shows emotions she is considered too fragile or lacks assertiveness to lead, while if a woman shows no emotions she is believed to be a cold, icy professional who cannot maintain a healthy leadership association with the team members. This is clear from the fact that only 15.7 percent of the Fortune 500 corporate officers are females. This is all built on the common misconception that women cannot ‘take charge’.
How to overcome it: Nowadays the characteristics of leadership of women as compared to men are nearly similar and it is very unfair to stereotype in such manner. Sometimes the emotions that women are associated with help them to show a people-oriented, democratic leadership which is beneficial to the whole team.
When it comes to leadership, the level of maturity you show, your attitude and understanding of the job in hand are the decisive things. If you can show these stereotyping people that you are better in managing people than they are, you can make them realise about their mistake.
- Stereotype: Women’s personality and appearance are deciding factors of their career
When was the last time you found out that someone is commenting about your appearance at your back? There is a stereotyping about a woman’s appearance and its connection with her career. You will find narrow-minded people say that it is due to your appearance that has helped you in your career. They will even mistake your friendly behaviour as a means to get up the career ladder. If you make a mistake in your personal appearance, that will also be taken into account.
How to overcome it: Never stop behaving your normal self. Your appearance and your personality are the best judgement of your quality. Also remember to dress professionally and that does not necessarily mean to dress like a man. If you think that your friendliness and interaction with others is deemed as gossipy, then don’t engage in gossiping. Talk professionally and show how professional you can be.
- Stereotype: Women give less attention to their work when they become mothers
Most companies come under the assumption that working mothers give more priority to their children than their work. This comes from the patriarchal mentality that women should be more inclined towards taking care of their children than their husbands. This stereotyping is harmful and few organisations lose some of their good employees due to this attitude. Not all the companies are same as they provide ample support with facilities like crèche and flexible working hours.
How to overcome it: Show them that as a woman you have the ability to take care of your children and still be able to perform your job perfectly. That is what a woman’s strength is; to be able to multi-task and juggle their responsibilities without affecting any of them.
The right attitude
To win this war against gender stereotyping, women need to be able to believe in their abilities and strengths. This is not something that can be solved overnight. You can start by showing your capability and that there are more things that women can do equally good as man.
Author Bio:- Hasib is a professional writer working with one of the top job sites in India –naukri.com and often writes articles related to job and career advices. An avid reader and foodie, he has changed his career from engineering to writing to follow his passion. Follow him @ twitter, Google+, LinkedIn