Studies reveal the she in getting puSHEd around 

Studies reveal the she in getting puSHEd around 

Mahie Panjwani and Rosalie Troup

Have you ever been told that you would not succeed in life because of your gender? If you are a boy, then most likely you have not, but if you are a girl, chances are this topic comes up quite often. Gender stereotyping is the generalization of a group’s characteristics based on their gender. Stereotypes about genders and behaviors are largely accepted and spread the idea that certain genders correlate with certain types of behaviors. However, this is not necessarily true. Gender stereotypes in schools are harmful because fewer women are found in more demanding fields, there is controlled exposure to certain biased books, and women are pushed into subjects they are not necessarily interested in.

Fewer women have been found in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. In “The Cost of Acting ‘Girly’: Gender Stereotypes and Educational Choices” by Marta Favara, it says, “The first argument is that teachers treat boys and girls differently in coeducational settings.  They tend to interact with and encourage boys more than girls to take [STEM subjects] (Favara 11). It is entirely ludicrous that your favorite subjects are based on your gender, and the fact that teachers are pushing this is incredibly harmful to the mindset of students. It is no surprise that STEM fields are male-dominated if girls are told that they cannot study those fields. If teachers pushed these types of activities on everyone, then the gender-bias in the classroom would diminish.

It has been shown that even children’s books have slight gender biases. Researchers from the University of Barcelona claim ” Results have revealed that from the analysis conducted on the books sorted between the publication years 1980–2022, there is still a clear gender bias in the representation of male and female identities, as males are still predominant as main characters, active, heroic, independent , drivers… as opposed to women, who are mostly depicted as passive, dependent, emotional, caretakers, etc.” If you, as a woman or a man, only ever read books that depict your gender in certain ways, then of course you would naturally try to change to fit that bias. Women will also naturally be exposed to fewer books with female protagonists. Thus, it is no wonder that women in today’s society are less outgoing than men.

Even teachers gently push students into certain fields based on their gender. According to The Quarterly Journal of Economics, “These results provide a link between teacher stereotypes and teacher bias; they suggest that stronger male-math implicit associations of teachers interfere with their interaction with female students and their ability to be unbiased in the classroom, even unconsciously—for instance, when they recommend a high-school track to their students.” Teachers are subconsciously recommending students for courses based on gender simply because of societal bias. Women cannot change the fact that they are women. That shouldn’t be a factor in life. It is truly unfair that something uncontrollable could affect your future so drastically.

In summary, gender stereotypes in schools are extremely damaging because fewer women are found in STEM, they have limited exposure to specific biased media, and they force women into fields they are not always interested in. Even while writing this editorial, it was difficult to find any studies about gender stereotypes outside the United States. This truly goes to show how much people in today’s society are trying to ignore this ever growing problem. Gender does not equal potential for success. So please, whoever is reading this, do not fall victim to these unjust gender biases.