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GENDER STEREOTYPES: A CLICHÉ-RIDDEN NOTION

Author: Neha Kachhawaha, III year of B.B.A.,LL.B. from B.M. Law College


Introduction

A very basic and overrated topic yet very tacit and unvoiced. We see everyplace around us in all field women are making their own spaces with all themselves. No matter what the situation is or if it’s about their family, job, career, marriage women handle it all very smoothly with or without any external support. Even if there are many laws, statutes and rules made for the protection and equal rights of women in the society still when they are implemented in any way that if awoman becomes exceptionally successful in her profession society will often tell her that she is insanely goal oriented person. And these kinds of statements come from our society itself and also too often spoken by women who are either doing less in their careers and making judgements or who has fewer incentives and complaining for that.


There is no point of question that there has been a humongous change in the society and laws regarding gender stereotypes and gender gaps. So far there is also no point of question that the full gender equality has not been accomplished in many fields.There are many fields where women are still struggling as an individual for their equal rights and putting out their opinions. Gender Stereotypes is the one of the broader concepts which often includes subjects like gender roles, gender equality, gender discrimination, sexuality and many more.


Historical Background

Gender roles is one of the notions set by our societal expectations and norms from ancient times. Before independence there very few women who were able to stand out from the crowd, took stand for themselves, fought for their rights and set great examples in the society. Some of the stand outwomen, like Rani Lakshmibai, Queen of Jhansiwas one of theleading exemplars of theIndian Mutiny who fought against the Britishers in the battle field for an Independent India.Thereupon, Savitribai Phule together with her husband founded the first modern Indian Girl’s School in Pune in 1848. She worked as an Indian social reformer, educationalist and beautiful poet. She also worked to abolish the discrimination and ill treatment of people based on their gender and caste[1].


In the wake of that when India finally got independent in 1947, it come up with its very own constitution which contributed towards the growth and success of the women in our society. Slowly and steadily women as a gender made their own spaces in every field today. Women like Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, Pratibha Patil, Kiran Bedi, Sania Mirza, Justice M. Fathima Beevi, Mary Kom and many more also shared their own stories with. Talking about one of the social activist and Padma Shri awardee currently who died on January 4th, 2022, Sindhutai Sapkal who was a social worker and was affectionately called as “Mai” nurtured over 1500 orphaned children. She has been honored with more than 700 awards till her death. Articulating another woman Falguni Nayar, a leading Indian businesswoman and billionaire who is founder and CEO of the beauty and lifestyle retail company Nykaa built to stand out from crowd.[2]


What are Gender Roles?

These are the societal expectations towards a particular gender to behave, act, conduct, dress in the way society has charged them with. Like for example a girl should be well dressed, emotional, polite, fair and on the other hand a man must be strong, masculine, and bold. A girl should always go for pink colors and boys for blue. A female must know how to do every household chore and male to be supremely intelligent and smart at their job and not in the kitchen. Even today if a maletries to take part in the household work or even while parenting, he is always been appreciated for even a smallest of his help. But the truth is that every single male should know that it his responsibility to do and know equally about his job and chore.


Outcome of Gender Stereotypes

This is stereotypical perception and a mindset towards a particular group of persons which can often cause unfair treatment and biasness towards that group. This is termed as Sexism. The gender stereotypes affect a lot to the mental, physical, emotional state of a person which can often lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

It can be seen in different kinds like[3]:

  1. Appearance: a female is expected to be thin and fair whereas a male should be tall, strong and handsome.

  2. Job: a female must choose to be a nurse, teacher, orhousewife and a male should be an IIT or IIM pass out, an engineer or pilot.

  3. Nature: a female should be polite, sweet and soft voiced, emotional whereas a male should be aggressive, self-confident and not a cry baby.

These overstated gender stereotypes do make relationship among the people hard and results in conflictbetween them. Until and unless we as an individual don’t take stand for one self or others who are facing same problems in our surroundings this won’t stop.


Measures to be Taken

What all steps you as a person can take:

  • Start it with yourself see if you too are making any kind of gender-based opinion and if yes then make a difference by changing and developing your thoughts by watching and reading right kind of information which is important for your growing mind.

  • Try and put out your views and thoughts in front of your family, friends and relatives and peer groups to make them aware of these kinds of concepts by providing them right kind of information.

  • Set yourself as an example in the society where people can get inspired by watching you doing great things and speaking out loud what is wrong and what is right.

  • Give aid to those who ask for help and step-up for those of you think really needs to get helped.

These are just one of the ways where you can make a difference in the society. There can be many more ways to plant more stronger roots for our coming generations. And if we all work in homogeneity and harmony towards this kind of issue there can be much greater difference in patriarchal nation and world as whole.


Conclusion

Coming to an end of this topic one can definitely say that Gender Stereotypes and Gender Roles is one of the concerning subjects presently. If these differences and gaps are not covered now then it will become problem for our future generation. Treating every group of people and community whether its male, female or any person from LGBTQ community is the most essential part of a developing nation.

[1]Wikipedia.org [2]Wikipedia.org [3] plannedparenthood.org