Young BSF: Disrupting Gender Stereotypes

Youth BSF’s young leaders explored gender stereotypes and their implications in a workshop organized by the Gender Equality Research Institute Slovenia and ran by Nina Pejič. Subjected to a classic Harvard study test, they soon discovered they were not immune to gender bias, clearly grading the same journalistic text, distributed to different groups, lower if told the author is female.

“And this happened despite the specific group of people here, leaders, open, tolerant,” Pejič pointed out. The workshop went on to explore various stereotypes, how they are constructed, and looked at why women are much more represented in social sciences and men in natural science. One clear root leading to women and men making different career choices and adopting different attitudes are for instance childhood toys. “For instance playing with dolls or action figures – the latter are strong, determined, would for instance be ready to ask for a raise at work, while Barbie dolls are more family-, emotion-oriented,” Pejič illustrated. One of the participants pointed out that female action figures, such as Wonder Woman, also exist, but it was quickly pointed out in the debate that Wonder Woman is hyper-sexualised and only gets her superpower after she falls in love.

“These things then have implications for our behaviour, they affect whether we will ask for a raise, expose ourselves at company meetings and thereby become or not become recognised as a leader,” Pejič elaborated.

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