Topic 1 The origins of gender-related discriminations

The terms gender discrimination and stereotypes seem to be identical at first glance and are often used interchangeably. However, gender stereotypes are developing gender beliefs and generalisations about the genders in the society, developing and legitimising gender discriminations.

Gender stereotypes can be defined are generalized or simplified views about the traits, behaviours, physical characteristics and occupations that men and women are performing.

Gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in the current societal environments and derive from the historical, cultural and social frameworks through which our contemporary societies have been developed.

However, gender prejudices are an evolving form of explaining existing social patterns simplistically and vary over the different historical, cultural and societal contexts.

  • Men are aggressive and strong vs women are polite and quiet.
  • Women are responsible for household and childcare vs men are providers and protectors.
  • Women are more fond of literature vs men are good at math and sciences.
  • Boys are good in gymnastics vs women are good at singing.
  • Boys like blue colour vs girls like pink colour.

At the first glance, the above-mentioned examples may look usual and unimportant.

Yet, people from both sexes are treated unequally and unfairly by other people because the legitimised gender stereotypes construct how people treat other persons within a specific societal context.