Gender-Specific Roles and Fighting Stereotypes for Inclusivity
Rome was not built in a day, but not a day was wasted while it was being built. Women today are able to be at par with men only because our ancestors have long-fought for these basic rights. The point of concern here is how and what should we be doing to inspire many more women to join the league and become self-dependent.
I have been in the corporate world for the past 8 years and I must say that there has been phenomenal growth in the status of women here. However, defining gender roles is still a mindset that needs change. People are of the mentality that job roles can also be gender-specific. Talent goes Blackfoot when these stereotypes come into the picture, I have seen people creating job descriptions to suit these thought-processes.
What are Gender-Specific Roles and Its Impacts?
A gender stereotype is 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. There is a general consensus in managerial and sociological research that certain occupations are gendered. An example of this is that professionals have a mindset that the tech domain belongs to men and sales to women.
It can have tremendous negative impacts on the personality of a person, be it male or female. Some of which are:
- Low morale and self-confidence – People get completely low on morale and self-confidence when they are repeatedly categorized in a manner they don’t like.
- Equal opportunities not provided – Organizations that believe in gender-specific roles do not provide equal opportunities to both genders.
- No scope to build and enhance skills – When there is a lack of equal opportunity there definitely comes a lack of scope to build and enhance one’s skills.
- Not able to pursue the area of interest – Before entering a field if people start telling it is not meant for women or vice versa, then it becomes extremely hard to pursue that interest as a career option.
- Mental pressure – All this builds mental pressure on the sufferer’s mind where that person can fall into deep depression seeing all roads closing.
These may seem negative and hard to read, but they are truths of gender-specific roles and their impact.
What Can We Do to Beat These Gender Stereotypes?
- Educate – When we educate not just women but also men about these stereotypes and the harmful impact that it creates on the society, we let our message run through people.
- Do not hesitate – If you know that you are good at something or you want to learn, do not hesitate to involve in groups. No matter which gender dominates that field, it cannot decide for you.
- Be aware and responsive – Keep an eye on details and be aware of what is going on around you. Do not feel timid when a comment is passed on to you or your work. Feel proud about what you are doing and let that pride reflect with the glow on your face.
Every organization should ensure that they have gender diversity in their workforce as this builds a strong team and boosts empathy among opposite genders for each other’s contribution to the completion of targets.
Build a Gender-Inclusive Organization Culture
Organizations should aim at curating gender-neutral culture for their employees. Despite progress being made on this path roadblocks still exist. There are ways by which organizations can contribute to making the workplace more inclusive.
- Make diverse teams – This you can do only when you yourself ditch the idea of gender-specific roles. When you have made your mind that everybody can do everything, then begin hiring to build diverse teams.
- Engage employees – Allotment of work in the organization should be such that everybody gets to interact with everybody so that they begin to find comfort in each other’s presence.
- Managerial position on merit – Do not let a person’s gender and the department type decide who should be leading the team. Let merit and deliverables be the only point of comparison.
- Female role models to lead with an example – Let women of your organization interact with female role-models in the industry so they realise that sky is the limit for them. These interactions should be held at regular intervals.
Women at work should feel respected, safe and valued at all times and all levels. Highlighting the fact that this gender-specific culture needs to be eliminated more for the sake of women is because we still reside in a patriarchal society. Here, women are still striving hard to walk out of the four walls of their kitchen and spread their wings.