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Challenge Gender Stereotypes #IWD2023

Here at ViewHR we are getting ready to show our support for International Women’s day on 8th March 2023. To help you and us get into the spirit of the day, we are writing a four part blog series with the theme of Embracing Equality. The first of the four part series will discuss the topic of challenging gender stereotypes.

The United Nations (UN) define gender stereotypes as: ‘a generalised view or preconception about attributes or characteristics, or the roles that are or ought to be possessed by, or performed by, women and men.’ The Gender Equality Law Centre provides some examples that support the UN’s definition:

  • Women are natural nurturers; men are natural leaders.
  • Women do not need equal pay because they are supported by their husbands.
  • Women with children are less devoted to their jobs.
  • Women are too emotional to undertake certain kinds of work, especially while pregnant.
  • Men are too impersonal and not emotionally apt to take on tasks “better done by women” .

Sadly, gender stereotyping is still very much prevalent today. A study conducted by the Fawcett Society reported that individuals who were exposed to gender stereotypes in childhood are effected throughout their lifetime. ‘In new polling, 45% of people said that when they were children, they experienced gender stereotyping as they were expected to behave in a certain way. More than half (51%) of people affected saying it constrained their career choices and 44% saying it harmed their personal relationships.’

What can employers do to challenge gender stereotyping?

Review job descriptions and person specifications: Employers can review job descriptions and person specifications to ensure that they do not include gendered language or unnecessary requirements that may discourage qualified applicants of a particular gender.

Promote flexible working: Employers can promote flexible working arrangements to ensure that employees have a better work-life balance, which can help reduce the impact of gender stereotypes that women are primarily responsible for caring responsibilities.

Encourage diversity and inclusion: Employers can promote diversity and inclusion by actively recruiting (without discriminating) and supporting employees from a range of backgrounds, providing equal opportunities for professional development, and ensuring that everyone feels included and valued in the workplace.

Provide training and education: Employers can provide training and education to help employees understand and challenge gender stereotypes in the workplace, as well as to identify and address unconscious bias.

Monitor and address pay gaps: Employers can monitor and address pay gaps to ensure that all employees are paid fairly, regardless of gender.

The next blog in the series will discuss the topic: ‘call out discrimination’.