Stereotypes simplify the world; they allow people to make presumably rational judgments although these are not backed by sound evidence. Its convenient to presume that people in a particular profile will accomplish specific tasks, that women will react different in a defined position and a man will make a sounder judgment in a fastidious scenario. Prejudices make people insensitive to bias: racism, ageism, sexism. It is important to identify that perceptions influence behavior and false perceptions are damaging to an effective working environment.
Stereotypes lead to discrimination: women are perceived to lack courage, persuasiveness, assertiveness and ambition; and if they possess these traits they are labeled as pushy and a “misfit” for leadership. De-stereotyping the workplace (race, gender, status) is important and must be achieved by correction of cognitive distortions. However, gender as we see in society; has much greater stereotypical influence on perception of women at their workplace.
The standing of women in the world is evident in the widespread inequalities. Globally more women are illiterate than men, have less access to medical care, lesser opportunities for expertise and experience in the job market, lower economic statuses, and are victims of discrimination, violence and sexual assaults. Change does not originate overnight; it takes several steps up the mountain to reach the summit. Women need to discover their way up.
From vulnerability to empowerment
Biological differences between women and men are innate to humanity and cannot be overpowered. Reproductive health is a lifetime concern for women and menstruation, pregnancy, motherhood, menopause are struggles that women must endure. Hormonal swings can result in unpredictable mood switches. However the distinction in society is socially determined, thus modifiable. Men and women must enjoy the same opportunities; health, work, respect, social status, opportunity for growth, economic independence, leadership; as much as their male counterparts. No grace needed, but equality yes. The transition from powerless vulnerability to confident empowerment needs to be initiated.
MINDFRAMES: Reframing minds
These workshops are not designed for women alone. In fact they are especially intended for men and women alike. It’s not about male bashing or female dominance. It is an equal world where each one deserves utmost respect and regard from a humanitarian perspective. Each one irrespective of their gender must enjoy autonomy and diminished power imbalance so that each may attain their optimal potential. The path to improvement is long and tortuous. Changing behavior is not easy and never will be. However each one of can initiate the revolution by making personal change in the way they see themselves and the manner in which they see those around them. Energy flows in-outward and out-inward. It’s wise to make the most of it.