False stereotypes must get out of gender equality’s way

News: The failure of labour markets and institutions in addressing gender-specific constraints has led to gender inequality in employment.  

What is the situation of Gender equality in India? 

Women make up only a fifth of ISRO’s workforce. Women form 0.56% of our army, 1.08% of the air force and 6.5% of the navy 

In the Indian judiciary, only 11 (or 4.2%) of Supreme Court judges over the past 71 years have been women, and not a single woman has headed it since 1950.

What are the reasons for gender inequality in employment? 

Perceptions and stereotypes– perceptions that boys are naturally more talented contribute to women’s under-representation in fields like computer science and physics. 

Socio-cultural myths: A World Bank study shows that socio-cultural myths have induced “nearly four in ten people, globally to believe “that when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to jobs than women“. 

Gender-sorting of jobs: A International Labour Organization study states that gender sorting of jobs by educational streaming, stereotypes and biased expectations often relegates women to less-productive enterprises and lower-paid jobs. 

Low self-esteem– Even if women have the skills and talent to succeed in the STEM fields, they shy away from such a career, because of weak self-confidence and poor self-belief. 

Role of the educational and domestic environment have a huge role in shaping a student’s professional interests. For example-male preference for the masculinised and realistic occupations and females “choosing the social and artistic occupations such as teachers. 

Must Read: Breaking the Glass walls

The sole responsibility of child-rearing rests on a woman, which reduces a woman’s labour supply by almost two years during her reproductive years. 

Discrimination and harassment-Women are treated differently at every level and remain vulnerable to sexual harassment. 

What are some examples that things are changing in India? 

Increase in enrolment: India now has more female graduates (43% of all) in STEM subjects than the developed nations like US (34%), UK (38%), etc 

Also, Supreme court in 2020 ruled in favour of women holding commanding roles in the armed forces. 

What is the way forward? 

Economic development and women’s empowerment are correlated, are too weakly connected. 

Thus, growth doesn’t guarantee gender equality, so efforts need to be made to liberate the upbringing and learning process so that young minds are free from the outdated prejudices and stereotypes. 

Source: This post is based on the article “False stereotypes must get out of gender equality’s way” published in Livemint on 28th Dec 2021. 

Print Friendly and PDF