Gender stereotyping is an old fashioned phenomenon that has found its way into modern society. Gender stereotyping is changing but at a much slower pace. Gender stereotype has become a norm that it often happens without notice. Usually, it is the societal expectations, values, and beliefs that largely contribute to gender stereotyping. For instance, society believes that women should be accommodating and emotional, while men should be self-confident and aggressive. Moreover, men are expected to be tall and masculine while women are expected to be thin and graceful. The above attributes lay the foundation upon which gender stereotype thrives. This paper reflects on gender stereotyping in the different roles that I observed during the fieldwork.
From the observations, I was able to deduce that in as much as gender stereotype is changing, the progress is at a much slower pace. I found out that most managerial positions in the three businesses that I observed were held by men and that most sales representatives, secretaries, and cashiers were women. On the other hand, most chefs, and mechanics were men. I was not astonished by the findings of the observations because I had already anticipated the same before carrying out the observation. Gender stereotyping is deeply rooted in the social fabric that it is hard to assume its existence.
In the olden days, it was believed that women had less cognitive skills and were therefore unable to make their own decisions which made them subordinate to men. Thus, women were accorded less energy-intensive roles that do not require much thinking such as taking care of the children, cooking and cleaning the house. On the other hand, men are accorded energy-intensive tasks that require cognitive skills such as taking care of finances, working on the car, and doing the home repairs. It is this kind of belief that contributes to a large number of male managers up to date. However, many women have stepped up to challenge this narrative but have not been able to achieve the equilibrium. The old belief of designating women simple roles that do not require much thinking has cropped into the modern society that has seen women being designated jobs such as sale representative and secretarial jobs while men being accorded energy-intensive jobs such as mechanic and managerial jobs that require much thinking.
I believe that gender stereotype is changing but at a much slower pace. Very few women have been able to find their way into male-dominated fields such as engineering while very few men have been able to enter female-dominated fields such as nursing. These barriers are mainly caused by our general beliefs. For instance, it is a general belief that boys are good at cars than girls. This general belief has made girls believe that indeed they are not as good as boys when it comes cars and it can be the possible reason as to why nearly all the workers working in the car sales are men as the car dealers may be sharing the same belief. Contrarily, midwifery is a profession in nursing that deals with assisting women during birth. The name of the profession exhibits gender stereotype which can discourage men from pursuing the profession as the name dictates that the profession is meant for women.
I carried out field research from December 2, 2019 to December 5, 2019 in a service station, a fast-food restaurant, and a car sale. The purpose of the research was to observe various roles performed by men and women in the above businesses. Below are the different observations that I made;
• The service station manager was a man
• The secretary was a woman
• All the mechanics were men
• The sale representatives were all women
• The cashier was a woman
• The waitress outnumbered the waiters
• Most of the chefs were men
• The restaurant manager was a man
• There were two cashiers, one was a male and the other was a female
• The dishwashers were all women
• The manager of the car sale was a man
• There were two sale representative and both of them were men
• The secretary was a woman
• I met two men whose duties were to wash the vehicles windscreens and windows
• The cashier or rather the accountant was a man