Study discusses impact of stereotypes on women’s careers

This unconscious bias harms women, leading to negative post-maternity leave expectations, exclusion based on personal identification, penalization for “masculine” behaviors.
12 七月 2023
Study discusses impact of stereotypes on women’s careers

“Men are considered rational, assertive and competent, while women are deemed emotional, obedient and collaborative. Unconscious biases make it more difficult for women than men to be hired and promoted, especially when taking the first step on the managerial ladder.” This is one of the conclusions of an article by Cristina Kerr, who has a master’s in sustainability from Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV EAESP), published in the school’s journal, GV-Executive. The paper set out to discuss unconscious biases that hinder women’s careers. These are unintentional influences based on entrenched stereotypes, which lead to discrimination and reduce the chance of gender equity.

There are five main types of unconscious bias that affect women in the workplace:

  • Maternity;
  • Affinity;
  • Behavior;
  • Performance;
  • Perceptions.

This unconscious bias harms women, leading to negative post-maternity leave expectations, exclusion based on personal identification, penalization for “masculine” behaviors, less recognition and reinforcement of gender stereotypes in male-dominated areas.

In addition, intersectional factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and social class exacerbate unconscious biases, further impacting women in their careers.

“Gender biases are unintentional but they form an invisible and powerful barrier that hinders the advancement of women in corporations, reduces the chance of gender equity and favors men. Awareness of the negative impact of gender biases is the first step toward eliminating them,” the author emphasizes.

Gender equality is essential in all aspects of life, including the workplace. Businesses play a crucial role in promoting this equality by providing fair opportunities for all people, regardless of their gender. To achieve this equality, various measures may be taken.

First, it is important to encourage and support women’s participation in traditionally male-dominated areas. This can be done through specific capacity-building and training programs and by highlighting successful female models in these areas. Offering mentoring, sponsorship and networking opportunities can also help overcome barriers and boost women’s professional progress.

Inclusive work culture

The author argues that it is crucial to promote an inclusive work culture in which all voices are heard and valued. This involves creating safe spaces for open discussions about gender equality and implementing zero-tolerance policies for harassment and discrimination. Confidential and effective reporting channels should be made available so that women can safely report violations.

Furthermore, it is important to involve men as allies in the fight for gender equality. They can play an active role in deconstructing gender stereotypes and promoting an equitable work environment. Supporting and advocating for coworkers, promoting a diverse range of perspectives and raising awareness of unconscious biases are all ways to contribute.

Governmental factors

At the governmental level, policies and laws aimed at gender equality are also important. Governments can enact laws that guarantee equal pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, and programs to encourage women’s participation in underrepresented sectors.

Challenging stereotypes, fighting biases and promoting an inclusive culture are essential steps to build a future in which women have the same opportunities for success and professional development as men. Together, we can create a truly equal workplace in which everyone can thrive, regardless of their gender.

To read the full article, click here.


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