Sexism is also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is defined as prejudice or discrimination based on sex; or behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Sexism is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles.
The term sexism is most often used in relation to discrimination against women, in the context of patriarchy. Sexism involves hatred of or prejudice towards a gender as a whole or the application of gender stereotypes. Sexism is often associated with gender-supremacy arguments. Gender stereotypes A 1952 magazine feature stereotyping women drivers. Gender stereotypes are widely held beliefs about the characteristics and behavior of women and men. Gender stereotypes are not only descriptive, but also prescriptive beliefs about “how men and women should be and behave”.
Members of either sex who deviate from prescriptive gender stereotypes are punished; assertive women, for example, are called “bitches” whereas men who lack physical strength are seen as “wimps”. Empirical studies have found widely shared cultural beliefs that men are more socially valued and more competent than women at most things, as well as specific assumptions that men are better at some particular tasks (e. g. , mechanical tasks) while women are better at others (e. g. , nurturing tasks).
For example, Fiske and colleagues surveyed nine diverse samples, from different regions of the United States, and found that members of these samples, regardless of age, consistently rated the category “men” higher than the category “women” on a multidimensional scale of competence. Gender stereotypes can facilitate and impede intellectual performance. For instance, stereotype threat can lower women’s performance on mathematics tests due to the stereotype that women have inferior quantitative skills compared with men. Stereotypes can also affect the assessments people make of their own competence.
Studies found that specific stereotypes (e. g. , women have lower mathematical ability) affect women’s and men’s perceptions of their abilities (e. g. , in math and science) such that men assess their own task ability higher than women performing at the same level. These “biased self-assessments” have far-reaching effects because they can shape men and women’s educational and career decisions. Gender stereotypes are sometimes applied at an early age. Various interventions were reviewed including the use of fiction in challenging gender stereotypes. For example, in a study by A.
Wing, children were read Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine. The content of the book was discussed with them. Children were able to articulate, and reflect on, their stereotypical constructions of gender and those in the world at large. There was evidence of children considering ‘the different treatment that boys and girls receive’, and of classroom discussion enabling stereotypes to be challenged. Sexist and gender-neutral language Research has found that the use of he as a generic pronoun evokes a disproportionate number of male images and excludes thoughts of women in non gender-specific instances.
Results also suggest that while the plural they functions as a generic pronoun for both males and females, males may comprehend he/she in a manner similar to he, as he usually is placed before the dash and she after. This is usually done because the word she already contains the word he so it is positioned after the dash. It also has nothing to do with stereotypical gender roles. Nearing the end of the 20th century, there is a rise in gender-neutral language in western worlds, which is often attributed to the rise of feminism.
Gender-neutral language is the avoidance of gender-specific job titles, non parallel usage, and other usage that is considered by some to be sexist. Supporters claim that having gender–specific titles and gender–specific pronouns either implies a systemic bias to exclude individuals based on their gender or else as unnecessary in most cases as race-specific pronouns, religion-specific pronouns, or persons-height-specific pronouns. Some of those who support gender-specific pronouns assert that promoting gender-neutral language is a kind of “semantics injection” itself. Anthropological linguistics and gender-specific language
Unlike the Indo-European languages in the west, for many other languages around the world, gender-specific pronouns are a recent phenomenon that occurred around the early 20th century. As a result of colonialism, cultural revolution occurred in many parts of the world with attempts to “modernize” and “westernize” by adding gender-specific pronouns and animate-inanimate pronouns to local languages. This resulted in the situation of what was gender-neutral pronouns a century ago suddenly becoming gender–specific. (See for example Gender-neutrality in languages without grammatical gender: Turkish. )
Gender-specific pejorative terms Gender–specific pejorative terms intimidate or harm another person because of their gender. Sexism can be expressed in a pseudo–subtle manner through the attachment of terms which have negative gender oriented implications such as through condescension. Many examples include swear words. A mildly vulgar example is the uninformative attribution of the term ‘hag’ for a woman or ‘fairy’ for a man. Although hag and fairy both have non-sexist interpretations, when they are used in the context of a gender–specific pejorative term these words become representations of sexist attitudes.
The relationship between rape and misogyny Research into the factors which motivate perpetrators of rape against a specific gender, for example, women, frequently reveals patterns of hatred of said gender and pleasure in inflicting psychological and/or physical trauma, rather than sexual interest. Researchers have argued that rape is not the result of pathological individuals, but rather systems of male dominance, cultural practices and beliefs that objectify and degrade women. Mary Odem, Jody Clay-Warner and Susan Brownwiller consider sexist attitudes to be propagated by a series of myths about rape and rapists.
They state that contrary to those myths, rapists often plan a rape before they choose a victim and that acquaintance rape is the most common form of rape rather than assault by a stranger. Odem also states that these rape myths propagate sexist attitudes about men by perpetuating the thought that men cannot control their sexuality. In response to acquaintance rape, the “Men Can Stop Rape” movement has been implemented. The US military has started a similar movement with the tagline “My strength is for defending. Occupational sexism
Occupational sexism refers to any discriminatory practices, statements, actions, etc. based on a person’s sex that are present or occur in a place of employment. One form of occupational sexism is wage discrimination. In 2008, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that while female employment rates have expanded considerably and the gender employment and wage gaps have narrowed virtually everywhere, on average, women still have 20% less of a chance to have a job and are paid 17% less than men.
Moreover, the report stated: [In] many countries, labor market discrimination – i. e. the unequal treatment of equally productive individuals only because they belong to a specific group – is still a crucial factor inflating disparities in employment and the quality of job opportunities [… ] Evidence presented in this edition of the Employment Outlook suggests that about 8% of the variation in gender employment gaps and 30% of the variation in gender wage gaps across OECD countries can be explained by discriminatory practices in the labour market. “
The report also found that despite the fact that almost all OECD countries, including the U. S. have established anti-discrimination laws, these laws are difficult to enforce. Gender stereotypes Gender roles (or sex roles) are attitudes and activities that a society links to each sex. A culture that defines males as ambitious and competitive encourages them to seek out positions of leadership and play team sports. To the extent that females are defined as deferential and emotional, they are expected to be supportive helpers and quick to show their feelings.
According to the OECD, women’s labor market behavior “is influenced by learned cultural and social values that may be thought to discriminate against women (and sometimes against men) by stereotyping certain work and life styles as ‘male’ or ‘female’. ” Further, the OECD argues that women’s educational choices “may be dictated, at least in part, by their expectations that [certain] types of employment opportunities are not available to them, as well as by gender stereotypes that are prevalent in society. “
There is a long record of women being excluded from participation in many professions. Often, women have gained entry into a previously male profession only to be faced with additional obstacles. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive an M. D. in the United States and Myra Bradwell, the first female lawyer in the state of Illinois, illustrate the prevalence of women being excluded from certain professions and the changing culture. Professional discrimination continues today according to studies done by Cornell University and others.
Some have hypothesized that gender bias has been influencing which scientific research gets published. This hypothesis coincides with a test conducted at the University of Toronto led by Amber Budden. The study showed that, in the journal Behavioral Ecology, after implementation of double-blind review in which both the author and reviewer identity is concealed, there was an increase of 7. 9% in the number of papers authored by women. This was more than three times the increase of female ecology graduate students in the United States.
In addition, women frequently earn significantly lower wages than their male counterparts who perform the same job. In the U. S. , for example, women earn an average of 23. 5% less than men. In 1833, women working in factories earned only one-quarter of men’s wages, and in 2007, women’s median annual paychecks reflected only $0. 78 for every $1. 00 earned by men. A study showed women comprised 87% of workers in the child care industry and 86% of the health aide industry. Some experts believe that parents play an important role in the creation of values and perceptions of their children.
The fact that many girls are asked to help their mothers do housework, while many boys do technical tasks with their fathers, seems to influence their behavior and can sometimes discourage girls from performing such tasks. Girls will then think that each gender should have a specific role and behavior. A 2009 study found that being overweight harms women’s career advancement but presents no barrier for men. Overweight or obese women were significantly under-represented among company bosses, whereas a significant proportion of male executives were overweight or obese.
The author of the study stated that the results suggest that “the ‘glass ceiling effect’ on women’s advancement may reflect not only general negative stereotypes about the competencies of women, but also weight bias that results in the application of stricter appearance standards to women. Overweight women are evaluated more negatively than overweight men. There is a tendency to hold women to harsher weight standards. At other times, there are accusations that some traditionally female professions have been or are being eliminated by its roles being subsumed by a male dominated profession.
The assumption of baby delivery roles by doctors with the subsequent decline of midwifery is sometimes claimed to be an example. Wage gap [pic] Euro stat found a persisting gender pay gap of 17. 5% on average in the 27 EU Member States in 2008. Similarly, the OECD found that female full-time employees earned 17% less than their male counterparts across OECD countries in 2009. In the U. S. , the female-to-male earnings ratio was 0. 77 in 2009, meaning that, in 2009, female full-time, year round (FTYR) workers earned 77% as much as male FYTR workers.
Women’s earnings relative to men’s fell from 1960 to 1980 (from 60. 7 percent to 60. 2%) and then rose rapidly from 1980 to 1990 (from 60. 2% to 71. 6%), and less rapidly from 1990 to 2000 (from 71. 6% to 73. 7%) and from 2000 to 2009 (from 73. 7% to 77. 0%). At the time when the first Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, female full-time workers earned 58. 9% as much as male full-time workers. The gender pay gap has been attributed to differences in personal and workplace characteristics between women and men (education, hours worked, occupation etc. as well as direct and indirect discrimination in the labor market (gender stereotypes, customer and employer bias, etc. ).
Studies always find that some portion of the gender pay gap remains unexplained even after controlling factors that are assumed to influence earnings. The unexplained portion of the wage gap is attributed to gender discrimination. The estimates for the discriminatory component of the gender pay gap vary widely. The OECD estimated that approximately 30% of the gender pay gaps across OECD countries is due to discrimination.
Australian research shows that discrimination accounts for approximately 60% of the wage differentials between women and men. Studies examining the gender pay gap in the United States show that large parts of the wage differential remain unexplained even after controlling for factors that affect pay. One study examined college graduates and found that the portion of the pay gap that remains unexplained after all other factors are taken into account is 5% one year after graduating college and 12% 10 years after graduation.
Research done at Cornell University and elsewhere indicates that mothers are less likely to get hired than equally qualified fathers and, if hired, would be paid a lower salary than male applicants with children. The OECD found that “a significant impact of children on women’s pay is generally found in the United Kingdom and the United States. “] Fathers, on the other hand, earn $7,500 more on average that than men without children. Glass ceiling The term “glass ceiling” is used to describe a perceived barrier to advancement based on discrimination, particularly gender discrimination.
In academic achievement, great improvements have been made. However, as of 1995 in the United States, women received about half of all Masters degrees, but 95 to 97% of the senior managers of Fortune 1000 Industrial and Fortune 500 companies were male and in the Fortune 2000 Industrial and service companies, only 5% of senior managers were women. The United Nations asserts “progress in bringing women into leadership and decision making positions around the world remains far too slow. Objectification Some argue that sexual objectification is a form of sexism.
Some countries, such as Norway and Denmark, have laws against sexual objectification in advertising. Nudity itself is not banned, and nude people can be used to advertise a product, but only if they are relevant to what is being advertised. Sol Olving, head of Norway’s Kreativt Forum, an association of the country’s top advertising agencies, explained, “You could have a naked person advertising shower gel or a cream, but not a woman in a bikini draped across a car. Sexism in the Workplace Sexism in education is clearly associated with sexism in the workplace.
When women are expected to “stay in the home,” they are unable to access the necessary educational resources to compete with men in the job market. If by chance they are able to secure a position, women may be less prepared educationally for the task, and thus draw lower wages. In recent decades more women have entered the United States workforce. After WWII (from about 1947), about 30 percent of women were employed outside the home; today, at the start of the 21st century, the figure is well over 50 percent. (Some estimates approach 75 percent if “part-time” jobs are included. Yet women are far from treated equally on the job. Typically, they hold lower-paying, lower-status jobs than men. In fact, women may account for only 25 percent of the upper-level managers in large corporations. And although half of the employees in the largest, most prestigious firms around the United States may be women, perhaps as few as 5 percent or less actually hold senior positions. In general, women are under-represented in the higher-status, higher-paying occupations, such as university teaching, law, engineering, and medicine.
In contrast, women are over-represented in the lower-paying occupations, such as public-school teaching, nursing, and secretarial work. In stereotypical female jobs, referred to as women’s ghettos, women are subordinate to the positions of men. For example, executives supervise secretaries who are likely to be women, and lawyers supervise paralegals, who are also likely to be women. Women in the same jobs as men usually earn less, even though these women may have the same or better training, education, and skills.
As a general statistic, women make only 60 percent or less than men in comparable positions. Why this disparity? Sociologists speculate that, in some cases, the fact that women often must take time off to have and raise children interrupts their career path. As much as Americans may hate to admit it, women in the United States still bear the primary responsibilities of child-rearing. Conflicting demands may partly explain why married women with children are more likely to leave their jobs than are childless and single women.