Gender Role Analysis
Men and women are different. How different depends on what stereotype one chooses to believe. Although it has been argued that some stereotypes are positive, they are never beneficial. Society creates gender stereotypes and perpetuates them through societal institutions. In this paper the roles of gender will be analyzed regarding education, public policy, and the workplace. How education shapes gender, the gender norms in government, the law, policies, and the role of gender in the workplace will be discussed. Education
In many cases the classroom reinforces gender stereotypes perpetuated by society. This can be found in the materials used for instruction, communication between the teacher and his or her pupils and classroom interaction between the genders and with the instructor. Institutions generally have geared textbooks toward males with discussions of famous battles, politicians, and entrepreneurs with very little emphasis on female contributions in society. According to Sapiro, before the 1970s information provided to students “focused on and valued men more than women, indicated to boys and not girls that they should consider doing great things with their lives” (Sapiro, p. 155). Communication and interaction within the classroom also reinforce the stereotypical submissive female and aggressive male roles. Boys are more vocal than their female counterparts in class and instructors give them more potential interaction by recognizing them more. According to Sadker, “teachers call on and interact with boys more than girls. Boys use creative and effective techniques to catch the teacher’s attention” (Sadker & Sadker, 1994, p. 37). A boy will raise his hand, call out answers, and ask the teacher to call on him whereas a girl will raise her hand and if ignored put her hand down. Gender roles are also shaped by segregation of the sexes in certain classes. For example many schools have divided the sexes into classes deemed more appropriate for specific genders. Most girls took classes like Home Economics and most boys took shop. This reinforces the idea that women should be labor in the home arena and men should engage in harder physical labor even though most people know that not to be the case in the new millennium.
An example of how education shapes gender is from my own educational experience. I was taught at home that a girl could be anything she wanted to be. In my neighborhood, before I was old enough to start school, I played with only boys. We spent the days playing cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, and building forts out of dirt and rocks. None of us ever thought twice about our interactions until we went to school. At that point the school segregated us by gender, from going to the restroom (girls went first, boys went second) to the playground (girls could not play kickball with boys). Girls were not expected to roughhouse or be boisterous and were told so by the teacher. Society expected girls to be “ladies” and boys to be “gentlemen” during the school day. After a few weeks in the first grade, I and my former cohorts sensed a division between us where there had been none before. They were on the road to socially approved boyhood playing with other boys and I was left playing with other girls, none of whom wanted to play cowboys and Indians. This is an example of how societal influences can ruin perfectly good platonic relationships between boys and girls with forcing gender roles upon them. A place where one spends most of his or her day several months of the year has a tremendous impact on his or her social skills and his or her view of gender is a large part of those skills. Public Policy
From the suffragette movement in the last century to the ever-expanding realm of political influence in this century it has been a long, hard struggle for women in the area of government, laws, and public...