What you need to know about gender stereotypes
Male-dominated workplaces are often seen as “dead-end jobs” for women and there is a lack of diversity among female role models, a report has found.
The report, called Gender Stereotypes: An Interdisciplinary Approach, also found many employers fail to offer female leaders opportunities to be creative and independent.
Key points:Employers have a long history of failing to embrace diversityThe report said the lack of opportunities to develop women’s leadership skills was partly due to outdated gender roles and a culture of male dominanceGender stereotypes can also be used to justify discrimination against womenThe gender stereotypes are linked to the lack a women’s role in the workforceThe report’s author, Professor Helen Mazzara, said the current gender divide in Australia was not inevitable but had a long way to go.
“There are still plenty of opportunities for women to be in a variety of roles, and it is difficult for those roles to be recognised,” she said.
“For instance, women who are in leadership roles in the construction industry have traditionally been overlooked.”
She said there were many factors that contributed to the problem, including a long-standing culture of female-dominated work, which was largely overlooked by companies.
“Many people associate male-dominated industries with high levels of violence and sexual harassment,” she told ABC Radio National.
“The stereotype of women in these male-dominant industries being passive is one of the biggest barriers to women and girls from entering those roles.”
The report found the majority of women surveyed were satisfied with their career prospects, but they were also unhappy with their gender in society and felt they did not have the opportunity to contribute.
“In my view, it’s the gender stereotypes that are perpetuating these negative outcomes,” she explained.
“Women who do not have a role in society or who are not in the leadership group are perceived as less able to contribute.”
The lack of women’s opportunities to pursue their careers has led to discrimination against them and women’s rights groups have called for an end to gender stereotypes in workplaces.
Professor Mazzaras report says there are ways to address these issues and is the first of its kind.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said the study had implications for organisations, such as childcare services, that provide support and assistance to young women.
“We can all agree that it is important that women have access to a variety, diverse and empowering roles in our society, but we must all work together to create a culture that respects and supports women,” it said.
Topics:work,women,women-in-politics,women—finance,human-interest,government-and-politics-andreform,australiaContact Kate EdwardsMore stories from Victoria