Psychology and Sociology Gender Inequality Essay

  • Length: 2 pages
  • Subject: Gender / Sexuality
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #80647589

Excerpt from Essay :

Gender biases and stereotypes persist at almost every level and in every area of society. Often, the differential treatment given to males and females is subtle and deeply ingrained, taken so much for granted that most people are unaware that they are perpetuating gender bias. For example, adults treat male and female children differently, speaking to them using different tones of voice, reacting differently to their actions, and showing subtle signs of approval or disapproval when the child does or does not conform to gender norms. Even parents who claim to be progressive and egalitarian unconsciously pass on gender norms and stereotypes because they are just reacting to children the way they have been programmed and patterned to act. Boys are expected to be more aggressive, more physical, and less sensitive or emotional than girls. Sometimes the differential treatment reverberates, leading to unequal treatment with meaningful life outcomes such as academic tracking in school. By the time I was in junior high school, I became aware that boys and girls were being treated differently. I did not realize it at the time because it was normative and no one questioned it, but now I can see how teachers would react differently to me versus male students when I got questions right or wrong or when I spoke up in class. The different ways of speaking to boys and girls in school has a strong bearing on my self-concept and self-efficacy in different subject areas. Unfortunately, my peer group failed to question gender norms and stereotypes, and thus girls behaved in ways that conformed to our gender identity. Girls who did not conform—who did not show as much interest in beauty, hair, makeup, and clothes—were treated differently because they did not have the same values. Over time, we begin to internalize our gender identity, deliberately cultivating a self-image and performing according to societal expectations.

I believe that human psychology is actually quite straightforward. Basic behaviorism shows how rewards and punishments guide human behavior. When a person, and especially a child, is rewarded with attention, admiration, and other shows of respect, they will repeat that behavior. On the other hand, any behavior that elicits a negative or undesirable response will be diminished. It takes a strong character to subvert gender norms. Thankfully, the society is starting to change whereby gender non-conformity is becoming more normative. We still have a long way to go before becoming a gender-neutral society, though. I still notice that women are treated differently from men: a slightly condescending tone accompanies reactions to a woman’s accomplishments versus those of a man, because the man is expected to do well. If a woman performs to exceptional standards, reactions of surprise or almost parental encouragement like “good for you!” are not uncommon. Men are sometimes called upon first in certain social settings, just as boys are often called upon first in math and science classes. Girls and women who speak up for themselves are considered aggressive; boys and men who do the same are considered strong and assertive. When women exhibit strong characteristics…

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