Gender stereotype and workplace bias

Genderstereotype and workplace bias

Theterm gender does not exist in a range of languages in the world andit is increasingly difficult to explain even to educated people thedifferences between sex and gender. Many societies continue toperceive gender equality as something that only concerns women andonly women implement them. The stereotypes that concern both gendersremain very deeply enshrined into the people’s minds. So much sothat some of the strongest gender advocates are gradually, steppingback in an unconscious manner and this is playing tribute to thecommon stereotypical thinking (Block, Crawford, 2013, 9-17).

Stereotypesare the qualities that people perceive to have an association withcategories of people. Stereotyping therefore is the process by whichpeople’s perception and behaviors are under the influence of saidperceptions (Block, Crawford, 2013, 9-17). The exhibition of genderstereotyping is when individuals assign behaviors traits and roles toindividual women and men based on their gender. For instance, thecommon stereotype about men is that they are motivated to master,self-assertive whereas the view is that women are selfless, communal,and concerned with others’ welfare. The differential treatmentexperienced in the work place hampers the affected individual’sadvancement in the workplace.

Thedamaging results of stereotypes among women leaders do not come fromnegative beliefs among women. On the contrary, women are consideredto be kind nicer and therefore the cultural stereotype brands them asmore positive than the men. According to multiple surveys conducted,gender discrimination occurs in the work place. However, federal lawsin many nations seek to protect minorities from any form ofdiscrimination in the work place. The Equal Pay Act (1963) brought toa halt the practice of habitually paying men in the work place morethan women, even though they perform similar duties and jobs. Thecivil rights act of 1964, the civil right acts sought to extend theprotection to cover other minorities. Despite this new protection,many women continue to experience gender-based discrimination as aproblem in the work place (Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell, Ristikari, 2011,616–642).

Victimsof gender discrimination lose morale and the motivation necessary inorder to perform all their duties effectively. A report by Jodi L.Jacobson purports that gender bias leads to a low productivity in theworkplace. Some of the things, which may lead to the lowproductivity, include jokes on employee’s gender that insinuateinferiority, offensive jokes, sexual jokes and jokes or statements,which imply that an employees work is inferior because of theirgender. Federal law as well as many company policies prohibits thissort of harassment and an accused of gender harassment in theworkplace is liable to lawsuits and facing the full face of the law(Jivka Marinova, 2003).

Genderrelated stereotypes in the work place may cause supervisors to engagein many illegal practices involving passing an individual over duringa promotion because of their gender. This situation may affect anygender and not just the female gender. Preconceived notions about theroles played by men or women can lead people in leadership positionsto pass over them for promotion opportunities. For instance, a firechief may pass over a female fighter for promotions repeatedlybecause of the belief that inherently, men perform better in thefirefighting department. Similarly, supervisors may decide to passover qualified males for opportunities of promotion in theindustries, which employ high percentages of women compared to womenin such positions as teaching and caring for children.

Itis common for victims of discrimination to feel resentment as perhapslose some self-worth resulting in destruction in an attempt to getback to the discriminatory coworkers and employers. It may manifestitself in form of physical violence among others, malicious rumors ordestruction of property. Occupations often face segregation by sextoday. It is further difficult to rationalize “sex segregation”and “wage discrimination” based on men’s taste for distancefrom the women in the same way differences between the other workgroups in work and housing (Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 20131–19).

Awoman’s entry to occupation might signal change in the standardsfor the admission with a dynamic occupation. Sex segregation forwomen and men will be much greater for the occupations, which requirea characteristic level above the female median and that thesegregation that is surprisingly, will be out rightly non-monotonic(Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 2013 1–19). Occupations thatrequire high level of characteristic lack integration because thesociety does not have verifiable information concerning thequalifications required for leadership positions. Distribution andearnings respond to the changes, which occur in the distributioncharacteristic and why the knowledge of the past distributions helpsto explain the current gender distinctions occurring in the labormarket (Jivka Marinova, 2003).

Inthe race to get ahead in any organization, studies have showed thatwomen will benefit less from occupying advantageous positions.Leadership behavior gender stereotyping is pervasive. Although menand women show very few differences in the leadership behaviors,experienced males in management positions rate females and malesqualities differently. Workers apply stereotypes in organizationsbecause they are come from non-organizational capacities.

Stereotypesabout gender as well as other personal characteristics continue toshape the way people perceive, make decisions about, and interactwith colleagues and other people in the work place. Although thesebiases are sometimes unconscious, they can lead to the discriminationand influencing the way people process and remember information aboutothers (Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 2013 1-19). Women in theworkplace face a variety of outmoded preconceptions and stereotypescontributing to the widening gap. The view is that they do not needraises and promotions since they are not tough enough, nor are theybreadwinners or are too tough or not tough enough for particularjobs, usually because of the caregiving responsibilities compared totheir male counterparts.

Thestereotype that women only earn extra money since men are thebreadwinners of the family has very harmful consequences for bothwomen and men. This stereotype is very much out of step with today’sreality in which, the women are primary supporters or majorcontributors to the family income. Still the stereotype thatcontinues to spread is that women’s income remains unimportant tofamilies underlies the view that all men are entitles to receive ahigher pay and to the managerial and career-track jobs to supportfamilies and women do not need equal pay or managerial jobs. Wal-Martv. Dukes, whereby women who worked at Wal-Mart sued the retailer forfailing to provide promotions to women, illustrates this mentality(Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 2013 1–19). The stores explainstore disparities between women and men with the idea that they onlywork for the sake of working.

Despitethe descripting stereotypes of females being ill-suited for the workprescribed for men, women are undeniably competent as well assuccessful in jobs that are male gender-typed. Even then, otherproblems arise which are driven by stereotypes (Jivka Marinova,2003). In cases such as these, the prescriptive stereotypes are themajor driving force. The prescriptive stereotypes serve as norms forunacceptable and acceptable behaviors. Their contents overlap withthose of descriptive gender stereotypes that are that women shouldhave nurturing and sympathetic ways showing high concern for others.

Successfullyperforming and encountering male gender-types jobs and thus presentsa conundrum for the female employees and demonstrate thecharacteristics which are presumed to lead to an effectiveperformance meaning violating prescriptive norms as well as how theyought to behave. Therefore, there is a lack of a fit betweenprescriptive stereotypes and characteristics associated with all thefemale employees who are successful at the male gender-typedactivities (Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 2013 1–19).

Stereotypedriven discrimination

Bothprescriptive and descriptive stereotyping has an impact on women andmen’s organizational experiences. The impact may be formal andinformal.


Descriptivestereotyping shapes the expectations and perceptions form about womenand men as in the workplace and provide fuel for the occurrence ofdiscrimination to occur. Adopting the stereotype-consistent view ofthe female job applicants leading to evaluators conclude that theyare likely to have skills necessary to achieve success at the malegender-typed jobs. Thus, the research demonstrates that while actualqualifications of women and men are equivalent, people have viewsthat men have higher performance ability and the expectation is thatthey will perform better.

Performanceevaluation is very differently for women and men. Women in studiesrate systematically women as performing less well than men perform,even after carrying out controls tests for experience and ability.The gender disparities evidenced were great in the make gender typedjobs. Given the link that managers experience between performance andcompensation, there is no surprise then in the situation where menpayments are substantially higher than women who are conducting thesame jobs (Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 2013 1–19).

Womenwho fail to display nurturing and caregiving traits in the workplace,traits that are associated with the gender disparities face formaldiscrimination. Prescriptive stereotypes can seek to createdifferential sets of the expectations for out of role job and in-rolebehaviors for women and men. Violation of prescriptive stereotype caninspire people in leadership positions to withhold job opportunities,and sabotage women’s work.


Formaldiscrimination plays an undoubted role in the limitation of thecareer attainment of female employees and in particular regardingtheir access to ‘important’ jobs, compensation, advancementopportunities, and performance evaluation. Although it is moredifficult for women to access the male gender-typed jobs and receivepromotion into leadership positions, with some being successful atgaining entry into these positions. The informal discrimination mayconfront the women once they are there (Jivka Marinova, 2003).

Descriptivestereotypes contribute indirectly to the informal discrimination.This keeps prevents women from becoming the central players who arewithin the organization. Because the people in the leadershippositions may deem their input less valuable, it is more likely thatthe other stakeholders leave them out of the key decisions andmeetings, left out of the loop of the informal networks establishedand leave them out or overlook them when making important decisions(Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 2013 1–19). It is less likelythat other participants in the work place will come to them for anyform of assistance since they deem them as lacking in the essentialtraits for the organizations success and thus create a system wherewomen employees face cut off and their counterparts leave them out ofall opportunities that may exert influence.

Indeedthe interaction patterns that occur between many women and men in thework place in male gender-typed occupational environments carry asubstantially different quality from those occurring among andbetween the male employees. Research has gone to indicate that inaddition to women encountering many more difficulties in formation ofany social connections in the work place than the male employees do,they also reap lesser benefits from the relationships they form(Jivka Marinova, 2003).

Masculinityof the cultural stereotypes in leadership is a large effect, which iscontinually robust across the variations in aspects of leadership insocial contexts. This representation of leadership continues to posea large problem for women since the stereotypes held for females failto meet the leadership expectations. Even the women who possess thetraits required for leadership have to face the challenges of dealingwith the preconceptions that are existing purporting that they areill equipped to lead. Aside from these very descriptive stereotypesand aspects, making it difficult for women to access the positions,they also produce very conflicting expectations concerning the mannerin which female leaders need to behave (Block, Crawford, 2013, 9-17).Thus, although women leaders may appear competent, the women who failto meet the common stereotype of being kind and communal said todisregard their gender role. This leads them to face a prejudice anddislike for neglecting their role and thus not appreciating foraccomplishing success in their leadership roles.

Consequencesof discrimination extend beyond the lack of access to the informaland formal resources that have an influence on their experiences inthe perceptions they have on their work environment. Effectivestrategies that can work to reduce stereotypical discrimination inthe work place involve applying strategies that involve providingobjective and accurate information about the members of anorganization and apply the information to aid in the decision-makingprocess. The cross pressures arising from different types ofstereotypes produce an effective double blind discouraging women fromappearing in the workplace with characters which appear as either toofeminine or too masculine. Following are some of the recommendationsthat may serve to reduce discrimination and to improve the workenvironment for men and women (Raina A. Brands, Martin Kilduff, 20131–19).

Humanresources should base the personnel decisions on accurate knowledgeof the job. Gender bias in the work place occurs mainly because malegender-typed occupations are stereotyped as masculine while the womenin the work place are stereotyped as feminine. It is clear thatstereotypes do not occurr necessarily because of the accuratedescriptions of a person’s attributes. However, to what extentthen, do common stereotypes reflect on what it takes to achievesuccess? It is important to conduct a thorough job analysis to ensurethe characteristics that people may deem as necessary are genuinelynecessary. It is important to ground the profile of what is the idealjob candidate in skills, behaviors as well as the experiences asopposed to the vague personality characteristics, which liable toeasy distortion to fit the gender stereotypes (Koenig, Eagly,Mitchell, Ristikari, 2011, 616–642).

Organizationsshould make use of well-structured evaluation techniques.Unfortunately, more often than not, the criteria used to make theimportant organizational decisions are often unspecified. Sometimes,assessment of employees often faces ambiguity making accurateassessment very difficult. The conditions created fuel and serve as adriving force for gender based discrimination especially indecision-making (Block, Crawford, 2013, 9-17). To reduce the level ofthis ambiguity, it is important that the assessors and evaluators torely on prescriptive and descriptive stereotypes while making thedecisions on whom to promote or hire or who deserves an appropriatesalary increment. In order to reduce ambiguity, the formal personneldecisions needs guidance from a very uniformly structured programensuring that women and men are evaluated on the same criteria(Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell, Ristikari, 2011, 616–642). It isimportant that the stakeholders of organizations hold the managersresponsible for human resource responsible for the decisions thatmake. This ensures a level of accountability it the process of makingdecisions and will consequently lead them to making bias freedecisions. The organizations policy makers need to create a sense ofaccountability when the organization lacks a natural outcome.Managers should be liable to justification of decisions they make,particularly hiring decisions by presenting to all stakeholders thecriteria they used in hiring. They are then less likely todiscriminate against any gender. The organization enforces a clearand transparent decision-making process encouraging the manager’saccountability for all the decisions they make and consequentlyreduce discrimination (Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell, Ristikari, 2011,616–642).

Theorganizations can institute formal networking and relationshipbuilding activities, helping to foster workplace relationships invenues, which both men and women have access to in the labor market.The organization might consider exerting a form of control over theworkplace relationships and establishing a supervisory mechanism toprevent and control discrimination.


Culturalstereotypes create a working and running backdrop for a very muchalive cycle of disparate treatment. The presumption is that womenfall short of all the attributes, which are necessary to taskperformance in a successful manner making it more likely for themthan men to face exclusion from some of the key work opportunities(Jivka Marinova, 2003). Demonstrating their ability to complete thesetasks successfully on the other hand prompts them to be liable tofacing a backlash that reveals itself in the form of both informaland formal discrimination. Exclusion of women from experiencing fullengagement in the work place leads to a lack of visibility as well asa capacity to serve as role models falling short (Koenig, Eagly,Mitchell, Ristikari, 2011, 616–642). This also precludes theirefforts and ability to change stereotypes of what women in the workplace are poised to achieve. This cycle perpetuates systems in theorganizations that continually make men better poised to achievesuccess than women are. Fortunately, many organizations haverecognized the problem of gender discrimination and have accepted theobligation by law to prevent it at all costs. There is still need fora significant amount of work in the work place to prevent and curbdiscrimination. Current organizational practices are different amongdifferent organizations.


Block,R., &amp Crawford, K. C. (2013). Gender stereotypes of leadershipbehaviors: Social metacognitive evidence. Psychology and SocialBehavior Research, 1(1), 9-17.

Goldin,C. (2013). A pollution theory of discrimination: male and femaledifferences in occupations and earnings. In Human Capital in History:The American Record. University of Chicago Press.

Koenig,A. M., Eagly, A. H., Mitchell, A. A., &amp Ristikari, T. (2011). Areleader stereotypes masculine? A meta-analysis of three researchparadigms. Psychological bulletin, 137(4), 616.

RainaA. Brands, Martin Kilduff (2013) Just Like a Woman? Effects ofGender-Biased Perceptions of Friendship Network Brokerage onAttributions and Performance. Organization Science