What is Career Stereotyping: Impact of Career Stereotyping on Opportunities for Women

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Have you ever told a friend, family member, or colleague your career choice, and the person raised a brow in disbelief? Perhaps there are other reasons for the surprise, but that scenario is also common to career stereotypes. The impact of career stereotyping on opportunities for women is vast, but you will get the hang of it in this article.

Career stereotyping involves attributing certain professions, or roles to individuals based on gender, leading to biassed assumptions. What makes career stereotyping worse is that it has existed so long that removing and tackling it is now seemingly difficult.

In this article, we will discuss career stereotyping and what it looks like. You will also understand the influence of gender stereotypes on career choices for women. If you are ready, let’s get right into it!

What is Career Stereotyping?

Before we discuss career stereotyping, it is best to first understand stereotyping in general.

Stereotyping is forming fixed or oversimplified ideas about a particular group of people. These ideas make you attribute certain characteristics to those people. You end up expecting every member of that group to possess those attributes.

Similarly, career stereotyping is the tendency to assign certain professions, roles, or jobs to a particular gender, ethnic group, age group, or other demographic factors. One of the most common forms of career stereotyping is gender-based.

Gender-based career stereotyping offers individuals a more narrow mindset on what jobs they can handle. Women happen to be the most victimised gender. Understanding the impact of career stereotyping on opportunities for women is crucial in creating a more inclusive work environment.

Impact of Career Stereotyping on Opportunities for Women

We will summarise the impact of career stereotyping on opportunities for women in 10 points

1. Limited Career Choices

Career stereotyping narrows the minds of women to consider only certain fields when choosing career options. For example, from a tender age, girls likely tilt towards career options that society has presented to them as feminine. These career choices include nursing, social work, and teaching among a few others.

Because girls from a young age watch television programs where women mostly did these jobs, they begin to grow with the stereotypical notion that these were the only jobs available to them.

2. Reduced Career Progression

Gender stereotypes suggest that a woman should not reach certain heights of career. These stereotypes believe a woman’s sole societal responsibility is catering to her family.

As a result, even when she sums up the courage to become a professional, she ends up settling for less. Besides, neither she nor any member of society expected anything more from her. This is another negative impact of career stereotyping on opportunities for women.

3. Barriers to STEM Fields

Over the years, men have dominated in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. An article by the National Girls Collaborative Project shows that women make up only 34% of the workforce in science and engineering fields.

These statistics depict the influence of gender stereotypes on career choices for women. Girls born in societies where men dominate those fields will naturally think those roles were only designed for men. It becomes worse when tutors show their male counterparts unfair bias in those subjects.

All these discourage women from pursuing careers in STEM fields. They also limit development in these fields, as there is a narrower talent pool.

4. Underrepresentation in Leadership

Gender stereotypes hinder women’s advancement into leadership roles, creating gender imbalances in decision-making positions. A gender-biassed society creates the idea that men are born leaders, and women can only follow.

Career stereotyping upholds leadership expectations from men alone. It also makes undermining assumptions about the capabilities of women. Even when women want to take up leadership roles, these stereotypes make it harder to break into such roles.

Relevant: Sample of Personal Statement for Healthcare Management & Leadership

5. Lack of Role Models

The lack of role models is another influence of gender stereotypes on career choices for women. Due to the underrepresentation of women in many notable fields, the younger generation of girls has few models to look up to. As a result, they do not aspire to careers in the fields.

Fields lacking female role models include STEM, aviation and aerospace, the automotive industry, sports management and coaching, and several others.

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6. Bias in Hiring

Career stereotyping creates an unfair bias in the hiring process. Employers influenced by stereotypes unconsciously favour male candidates over equally or more qualified female candidates during the hiring process.

Many employers have preconceived notions about the skills and abilities of individuals based on gender rather than tested facts. Interviewers also fall short as they let gender bias cloud their judgement during interviews. For interviewers, these stereotypes result in them asking biassed questions.

Whether during interviews, human resources, or on the manager’s desk, bias in the hiring process is one telling impact of career stereotyping on opportunities for women.

7. Societal Expectations

Societal expectations that assume who should take up what career have contributed to women’s career limitations. Society expects a woman to embrace nurturing careers such as nursing and teaching while men assume more notable professions like engineering and surgery.

These societal expectations negatively impact the career choices available to the girl child, making her only see the roles society chose for her.

8. Stigmatisation of Non-traditional Roles

An even more serious impact of career stereotyping on opportunities for women is stigmatisation. Women who have decided to advance in their careers may face prejudice and resistance from society.

The Gender Social Norms Index revealed that women still face prejudices and bias from male counterparts in fields such as health and education, among many others. The discrimination against women in these fields makes it more challenging for them to advance in their careers and discourages other women from pursuing those careers.

9. Low Confidence

Constant exposure to prejudice in the workplace impedes the confidence of any individual. When your confidence level is low, you may resort to going back into your shell. This is the case with women on the receiving end of gender discrimination in society.

10. Bias in Promotion

We will explain this point with the case of Olwen Renowden, a macroeconomics specialist. The organisation Olwen worked at denied her an open position at the grade six level because she was a female.

According to her story, no woman had held the position before that time. A younger and more inexperienced male eventually filled the role against the more qualified Olwen. This is just one of the many cases of bias in promotion seen in many offices.

Conclusion : Impact of Career Stereotyping on Opportunities for Women

Career stereotyping is a societal menace that assigns roles to individuals based on gender rather than skills. As a result, the average girl child is limited in her career options as society makes her believe that certain professions do not suit females.

In this article, we have shown you the adverse impact of career stereotyping on opportunities for women. These stereotypes have a restrictive nature that creates gender disparities and hinders career advancement.

The influence of gender stereotypes on career choices for women has spread over many generations. It will only take conscious effort to create a more gender-diverse and inclusive culture in workplaces and society at large.

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