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Discuss about the  Impact of Gender Stereotype on Education. 

What is Stereotyping?

Stereotype is a group based psychological phenomenon. This can be considered as the ideology held by the individuals within a particular group regarding to the characteristics of other similar or dissimilar groups. The members of a particular group commonly hold the stereotypic idea, which is again specific to a particular group of people (Spencer, Logel and Davies, 2016). For instance, one of the dominating stereotype prevailed around the world is that women lack expertise in driving. The male segment of many societies around the world commonly holds this stereotypic idea. Stereotype again can be both positive and negative, which means that the idea commonly held by the particular group of people can either appreciate or discriminate a specific group in specific field. The above-mentioned example can be considered as a negative idea possessed by the male group in the society, where the women are discriminated against their driving skills. An example of positive stereotype is that the Asians are studious and perform well in schools. Conception perceived in stereotype is generalised for a particular segment of society. In other words, the group posses the idea generalises the characteristics and relate it to the larger section of the group that is found only in a few members of that particular type. Moreover, stereotypic ideas can or cannot hold truth. This means that the idea held by a particular group may or may not be true, depending on the stereotypic characteristic reflected by the proposed group.

Koenig and Eagly (2014) mentioned in their studies that stereotypic idea could formulate regarding various elements in the society and have various impacts on the particular group that is being stereotyped. The stereotypes that are commonly identified are of negative aspects and have adverse impact on the referred group. The most common stereotypes that is prevalent in the racial or cultural stereotypes and gender stereotypes, which have adverse psychological impact on the group being stereotyped. This study will focus on the gender stereotyping that can be evidenced almost in every corner of the world in one way or another. Moreover, this will be related to the educational practice and identify the common stereotypes made in the educational system basing on the gender of the individual involved. This will lastly identify the stereotypic activity conducted and their impact on the group being stereotyped. This will help understanding the reason behind the formulation of stereotypic idea and is nature of its impact on the group. 

Impact of Negative Stereotypes on Psychological Behavior

Stereotype as defined by Spencer, Logel and Davies (2016) is a commonly held notion by one or multiple group of people regarding any particular group of people. The notation can be based on anything ranges from a characteristics to an activity performed by the group being stereotyped. This is not always necessary that a particular stereotype will have reality or actuality. A stereotype mostly is the false notion perceived by a group of individuals. Giddens et al. (2016) on the other hand focused on describing a group and defined it as a collection of individual sharing common interest and notions. The theory of self-categorisation on the other hand provides insights on the circumstances that help the people connecting with each other. The theory as explained by von Sivers et al. (2014) describes the circumstances, under which the individual perceive themselves as a part of any particular group. My understanding of the theory is that the people are connected with a group for particular interest created by the circumstances in their surrounding environement. These circumstances give birth to the interest that brings the members together. Stok et al. (2014) further argued that the members of a group shares common thinking pattern. The authors defined group with the theory of groupthink. The theory addresses the thinking patter of a group. According to the theory, thinking is a phenomenon. A group is composition of individuals who get together and start collective thinking as one single mind (Stok et al, 2014). The group makes effort to come to one conclusion, which satisfies the need of its members and unity of the group is upheld with maximum priority regardless of their situation, alternatives and options. My understanding of group is different from the authors as the thinking pattern in a group is not similar in every individual, which give birth to the group conflict. Variation in thinking pattern can be attributed to these conflicts. Authors need to specify the concept of group thinking to the particular field of interest. This means, the members of the group showing interest in the similar field uphold similar thinking pattern for the specific area and not the whole. Hence, it is observable that stereotypic notion will be held by every single individual of the group similarly and will be common in nature. This is due to the common thinking pattern regarding the concept shared by the member of a group.

Social comparison theory on the other identifies the determinants of one’s social and personal worth. Hanus and Fox (2015) in the explanation of social comparison, theory communicates that individual tends to determine his or her social and personal worth depending on how perceive themselves. In other words, one evaluates the position of oneself with a number of variables over domains for indentifying their position in the society. The results of evaluation help them in outing themselves in particular groups that satisfies their need. The determinants on the other hand help the individual deciding their desire of categorising or raising their position in the society. Feinstein et al (2013) argued that this have considerable impact in psychological development of the individual. People tends to develop their personality and other related factors like wealth, success, skills etc. according to the perception held by others for gaining social acceptance. The author further related social comparison theory with the impacts of stereotyping. Stereotyping of a particular group has adverse effect on the members of that particular group. However, they further pointed out that the adverse effects of stereotyping are related to the kind of stereotyping being conducted. As mentioned in the earlier section of the essay, stereotyping can be either positive or negative in nature. The stereotypes that are commonly considered in the society are the negative ones that have adverse impact on the individuals being stereotyped due to the need of resolving the issue raised from the act. Positive stereotypes are hardly identified by the society, as it proposes minimal threat to the group under consideration. Continuing to the topic, the extreme impact of stereotyping gives rise to the competition and even conflict between the groups being stereotyped and group stereotyping. However, my understanding of the theory and its explanation is of vice versa. The theory perceives that the social comparison initiates the stereotyping process. However, this can be viewed from the opposite direction, where the stereotyping gives birth to the concept of social comparison. The psychological impact of negative stereotyping makes the people to overcome the situation and gain social acceptance by attaining the features of the group stereotyping people. Commonly recognised stereotypes in the current global society are the racial and gender based stereotypes. A number of stereotypes are associated with gender that has adverse effect on human cognition.

Gender Stereotypes in Employment Decisions and Voting Process

One of the common stereotypes is associated with the gender of the individual and this kind of stereotype is commonly seen in every part of the world. A larger section of the society tends to stereotype women that separates them form the male counterpart. This is present evidenced in various aspects of daily lives and is initiated from the very childhood. Bian, Leslie and Cimpian (2017) identified one of the common gender stereotypes, which is the level of intellectual ability that varies between the genders. A large section of the society actually believes that the men have the greater level of intellectual ability when compared with women. Women are no exception in the scenario, where the girls of six years starts to reflect less attachment to the activities related to the intellectual ability. The study however lacks in reflecting upon the factors contributing towards the psychological development of the children. 


Meadows and Sekaquaptewa (2013) conducted their study on the first year engineering students that confirms greater active perception of the male students compared to the female students. The female student, despite of knowing the impact of active participation reflects less active participation and role-play in the classroom setting compared to the male students. This also reveals that a gender-balanced team in motivating the women students in active participation is not enough. However, the study failed to reflect upon the factors developing the perception among the girls. Hence, in-depth study is required for developing understanding the factors controlling the psychological behaviour among the female students.

Endendijk et al. (2013) on the other hand conducted their study on the family level with a sample size of 355 in Western Netherlands. Their study reveals that implicit gender stereotype is associated with the female members of the family where the mother and young children. Whereas, the father reflects more explicit stereotype compared to the mother.

A study conducted by Koch, D'Mello and Sackett (2015) on gender stereotype in the employment decision-making process reveals a number of outcomes. First, the research communicates that high gender biasness is present in the selection process for employment of male dominated job and reflects less biasness for the female dominated jobs. Moreover, the study also reveals that the gender of the decision maker has direct influence over the process. The male decision makers reflect greater biasness compared to the female decision maker. This is evidenced for both types of jobs. However, the study also reflects that the influence of gender stereotype is considerably reduced where careful decision-making is required or when the decision maker reflects greater level of experience. The gender stereotype is also present in the voting system and influence the voters on their decision making process.

Common Gender Stereotypes in Engineering Students and Family

Ditonto, Hamilton and Redlawsk (2014) argued that the voters’ tendency in searching for information about the candidate considerably changes depending on the gender of the candidate. Their study reveals that the stakeholders of the states seek for more competence-related information when the candidate proposed in a female and reflects a lesser search when the candidate is male. Similar is found in case of compassion issues, where a thorough search is conducted in case of female candidate compared to the male.

It is possible to make assumption from the above reviews that the gender based stereotypes are present in every level of the society ranging from pre-school, and family to the state level selection where the women undergoes thorough selection process and discrimination in the society. Moreover, it also reflects a level of influence of stereotyping on the individuals involved and regulates their perception about themselves for fitting into the society. 

Gender Stereotyping in the Educational Practice

Bian, Leslie and Cimpian (2017) conducted their study on gender equality among the student in early schooling. The study reflects that the stereotype of greater intellectual ability exists from the very childhood. This has direct impact on the children attitude in preschool and early school, which constantly grow in the near future lives. The study identifies that the children as young as 5 years are free from any influence of gender stereotype. However, there is a drastic change evidenced in the perception of the children in of the age group of six. They start to believe that the boys are associated with smartness and they are considered as the brilliant part in the society. Impact of stereotypic activity in the society related to the intelligence ability engage them to believe that the girls develop understanding that they are not meant for smart activities in the society, which breaks their morale ability. Despite of identifying the psychological impact of stereotyping among the children, author failed in point out the causes of stereotypic conception. The role of teacher in influencing children remains unidentified in the study. Hence, it alters the children’s interests from the very beginning of their lives that discourage women in their future lives from pursuing prestigious careers and are often underrepresented (Carrington et al., 2007). These findings can be related with the social consciousness theory, where is possible to assume that the change in behaviour pattern among the girls is to satisfy the social need. This is an attempt to adjust them in the society according to stereotypic perception commonly held by the society. 


Similar study conducted by Del Río and Strasser (2013) on perception identification among the children with a mean age of 6 months reflected significant gap between academic skills. Authors identified that the children reflects no significant preferences over a particular subject of mathematics or language. However, they successfully pointed out that the girls are less likely to get success in the field of mathematics when compared to the language. These results came from both the gender of the children that reflects a stereotypic imposition of the concept regarding the male and female ability in academic field. The study assumes this as the primary milestone for the future stereotypic perception of the concept.

In a study conducted by Lavy and Sand (2015), the authors argued on the impact of teachers’ stereotypic biases on the children development process. The study reflects that the teachers’ stereotypic tendency in over-assessment of boys over the girls have a long term effect in both psychological development of the children as well as has impact on the academic career, where the boys receive positive advantage and the girls the negative. This not only reduces the chances of the girl students being enrolled in advanced studies, but also reduces likings towards some specific areas of studies as well as reduces morale strength of the girls. This has long-term effect as it is reflected in future life in case of post secondary studies as well as the professional life. This reduces the occupational choices for the girls. This again can be evidenced from the study that the girls reflecting greater morale breakdown are belonging from the families, where the father holds greater educational qualification. This can again suggest that the issue of gender stereotype begins from the primary unit of society that is family and supplemented by the others in the early childhood. In a similar study, Reuben, Sapienza and Zingales (2014) identified similar results of gender biasness. They identified that the number of women enrolling in the undergraduate program is greater. However, men enrolling specifically in mathematics or similar programs are far greater than women are. The study reveals that the selection board reflects a greater biasness towards men in selection process. The selection of men evidenced to be greater despite of both the sex, performing equal in the test conducted. Leslie et al (2015) focused in identification of the issue of women’s underrepresentation in the academic field, which reflects stereotypic perception held by the practitioners in the educational institutions. The study confirmed that the practitioners believe in raw, innate talent for the success in the fields. They stereotype and view the male as the sole possessors of the above-mentioned talent and deny the women’s possession of any such talent.  


Ortega-Liston and Rodriguez Soto (2014) on the other hand conducted a study on the teachers for the identification of gender stereotype that reflected that the women in the higher educational institutions barely represent any position. Though the number of women teacher is postsecondary educational institute is nearly as half of the male faculties, tenure and promotional opportunity in case of women are less frequent compared to the male. The authors assume the mentoring as the key variable in the promotion in higher education. Though the study reflects a significant gap between the male and female in the institutions, there are no evidences presented that can conclude the factor as a result of gender stereotyping in the institution.

Conclusion

It is possible to assume from the above discussion that gender stereotype is present in every level of the society and the issue starts with the early age of child development. The seed of gender stereotype is embedded from the preschool that grows over time facilitating into a greater level of gender discrimination in the society. Both the family and the education practitioner plays important role in the process of gender stereotyping, where the female are held back by various means, that have psychological implication on the children development. This particular stereotype still exists in the modern time, despite of change in the education system. The psychological development in the early generation is developed accordingly, which has held the psychological thinking stagnant. The girls in present time is no longer associated with particular field of cooking or typing lessons and can wonder around various academic field. This stereotyping facilitate in modifying the perception of both boys as well as the girls from the early childhood at the age as early as six years. The empirical researches evidence that the children could tell the chances of success in the future academic career of the same. This as suspected is the implication of the societal stereotype in case of gender that is embedded by the early education practitioners as well as the family members, but most influentially by the former. However, the empirical studies only focus on the effects of gender stereotyping on the population. There are only few studies, which identify the factors resulting into the development of stereotypic perception among the children. Hence, the future studies should focus more on identification of the role played by the educational practitioners in the development process of this gender based stereotypes as there are only general assumptions made by the authors on the biasness. Future researches should focus more on identification of the practices resulting into stereotypic conception development, which will facilitate into bringing gender equality.  

Reference List

Bian, L., Leslie, S.J. and Cimpian, A., 2017. Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests. Science, 355(6323), pp.389-391.

Carrington, B., Francis, B., Hutchings, M., Skelton, C., Read, B. and Hall, I., 2007. Does the gender of the teacher really matter? Seven?to eight?year?olds’ accounts of their interactions with their teachers. Educational Studies, 33(4), pp.397-413.

Del Río, M.F. and Strasser, K., 2013. Preschool children’s beliefs about gender differences in academic skills. Sex roles, 68(3-4), pp.231-238.

Ditonto, T.M., Hamilton, A.J. and Redlawsk, D.P., 2014. Gender stereotypes, information search, and voting behavior in political campaigns. Political Behavior, 36(2), pp.335-358.

Endendijk, J.J., Groeneveld, M.G., van Berkel, S.R., Hallers-Haalboom, E.T., Mesman, J. and Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., 2013. Gender stereotypes in the family context: Mothers, fathers, and siblings. Sex Roles, 68(9-10), pp.577-590.

Feinstein, B.A., Hershenberg, R., Bhatia, V., Latack, J.A., Meuwly, N. and Davila, J., 2013. Negative social comparison on Facebook and depressive symptoms: Rumination as a mechanism. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(3), p.161.

Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R.P. and Carr, D.S., 2016. Introduction to sociology. WW Norton.

Hanus, M.D. and Fox, J., 2015. Assessing the effects of gamification in the classroom: A longitudinal study on intrinsic motivation, social comparison, satisfaction, effort, and academic performance. Computers & Education, 80, pp.152-161.

Koch, A.J., D'Mello, S.D. and Sackett, P.R., 2015. A meta-analysis of gender stereotypes and bias in experimental simulations of employment decision making. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(1), p.128.

Koenig, A.M. and Eagly, A.H., 2014. Evidence for the social role theory of stereotype content: Observations of groups’ roles shape stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(3), p.371.

Lavy, V. and Sand, E., 2015. On the origins of gender human capital gaps: Short and long term consequences of teachers’ stereotypical biases (No. w20909). National bureau of economic research.

Spencer, S.J., Logel, C. and Davies, P.G., 2016. Stereotype threat. Annual review of psychology, 67, pp.415-437.

Stainton Rogers, W., 2003. Social psychology: experimental and critical approaches. Open University Press.

Stok, F.M., Verkooijen, K.T., Ridder, D.T., Wit, J.B. and Vet, E., 2014. How norms work: Self?identification, attitude, and self?efficacy mediate the relation between descriptive social norms and vegetable intake. Applied Psychology: Health and Well?Being, 6(2), pp.230-250.

von Sivers, I., Templeton, A., Köster, G., Drury, J. and Philippides, A., 2014. Humans do not always act selfishly: Social identity and helping in emergency evacuation simulation. Transportation Research Procedia, 2, pp.585-593.

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