Gender stereotyping – European Parliament Library Key Sources

Gender stereotyping – European Parliament Library Key Sources

In 1979 the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which defines what constitutes discrimination against women. Applying the Convention as the primary framework, it is essential to provide strategies for combating gender stereotyping. Several methodologies require naming operative gender stereotypes, identifying how they violate the human rights of women, and articulating states’ obligations to eliminate and remedy these violations.

Gender stereotyping, as defined in a CoE study, means preconceived ideas whereby males and females are arbitrarily assigned characteristics and roles determined and limited by their sex. Sex stereotyping can limit the development of the natural talents and abilities of boys and girls, women and men, as well as their educational experiences and life opportunities.

Legal perspectives

Council conclusions of 6 December 2010 on strengthening the commitment and stepping up action to close the gender pay gap, and on the review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. 2010/C 345/01

Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives by Rebecca J. Cook & Simone Cusack. / Aurora Kaiser; In: Berkeley Journal of Gender Law and Justice, May 2010
The authors focus on both men and women and illustrate their points through international court cases in which gender stereotyping affected the verdict. While women are often the injured party, the authors point out that harmful stereotypes about men can harm women as well, and vice versa. Stereotypes about men and women in fact are mutually reinforcing and end up as self-fulfilling prophecies. The solution for ridding society, the media, law and culture of stereotyping, the authors note, is by a process of identification / naming / elimination / remedy. It is necessary to both point to and give a name to the operative stereotype before it can be erased, and before reparations can be made to the injured party.


Gender stereotyping in the economy and the labour market

Holding fast: the persistence and dominance of gender stereotypes / Philip J. Grossman; In: Economic Inquiry, Volume 51, Issue 1, pages 747–763, January 2013
This paper investigates the persistence of gender stereotyping in the forecasting of risk attitudes. Subjects predict the gamble choice of target subjects in one of two treatments. The first treatment, first, based only on visual clues and then based on visual clues plus two responses by the target from a risk-preference survey. The second treatment is in reverse order: first, based only on the two responses, then on the two responses plus visual clues. In isolation the gender stereotype and survey responses both inform predictions about others’ risk attitudes. In conjunction with one another, however, the stereotype persists and dominates the survey response information.

Differences Between Men and Women in Opportunity Evaluation as a Function of Gender Stereotypes and Stereotype Activation / Vishal K. Gupta, Daniel B. Turban, Ashish Pareek; In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, May 2012
Opportunity evaluation represents a core aspect of the entrepreneurial process. Prior research suggests that evaluation of new opportunities is influenced by biases rooted in subjective beliefs, values, and assumptions. In the present study, the authors used stereotype activation theory to propose that respondent gender (men–women), content of stereotype (masculine–feminine), and the manner in which stereotype information is presented (subtle–blatant) interact to influence evaluations of a new business opportunity.

Gender aspects of the economic downturn and financial crisis study / A. Lyberaki; EP, Policy Department C, Brussels, 2011
Past economic crises affected male-dominated sectors more and so reduced gender imbalances. Aggregate data to end-2010 shows similar findings for 2007-2010. However, the current crisis is deeper and longer, while budget issues which dominate after 2010 could alter the magnitude and even the direction of gender effects. Should complacency take hold, or, should policy be blind to gender implications, there could be a real risk of the progress achieved since 2010 being rolled back, as gender stereotypes reassert themselves.

Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter? / IZA – Institute for the Study of Labor , 2009
IZA Discussion Paper 4026. Women and men may differ in their propensity to choose a risky outcome because of innate preferences or because their innate preferences are modified by pressure to conform to gender stereotypes. Single-sex environments are likely to modify students’ risk-taking preferences in economically important ways. The results show that girls from single-sex schools are as likely to choose the real-stakes gamble as much as boys from either coed or single-sex schools, and more likely than coed girls. Moreover, gender differences in preferences for risk-taking are sensitive to the gender mix of the experimental group, with girls being more likely to choose risky outcomes when assigned to all-girl groups. This suggests that observed gender differences in behaviour under uncertainty found in previous studies might reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.

Gender stereotyping and education

Combating Gender Stereotypes In Education / Maureen Bohan, Council of Europe, CDEG, 2011
The study reflects that despite the achievement of human and democratic rights by women, promoted by international organisations such as the Council of Europe, gender stereotyping and sexism remain the greatest obstacles to the de facto achievement of gender equality in the twenty-first century. Unless legislation and policies are accompanied by comprehensive strategies, beginning with awareness-raising programmes for all stakeholders in the education system: policymakers, ministry personnel, school authorities, teachers, parents and pupils, success in the elimination of gender stereotyping may be limited.

The Cost of Acting “Girly” : Gender Stereotypes and Educational Choices / Marta Favara, IZA DP No 7037, November 2012
This paper looks at horizontal sex segregation in education as a factor contributing to gender segregation in the labor market. Economic theories fail to explain why women with the same years of schooling and educational attainment as men are under-represented in many technical degrees, which typically lead to better paid occupations. The author researches whether gender identity affects boys’ and girls’ educational choices and when the gendered pattern appears first. Further, the hypothesis that single-sex schools attenuate the influence of gender-stereotypes, is tested.

Gender stereotyping and media

Women and Media in the Euro-Mediterranean Region : Training Manual / EUROMED gender equality programme, 2011
The EU-funded gender equality programme has developed a practical guide for the press to improve the portrayal of women in the media in the region. The guide seeks to reinforce the capacities of media to promote a balanced and non-stereotyped image of women in the media. It is the first of its kind in bringing together international and regional Arab and Euro-Mediterranean references on gender equality. The Manual consists of three modules: the international and regional legal frameworkfor equality between men and women and the gender question; stereotypes of men and women conveyed by the media in the Euromed region; analysis of media discourse on issues related to equality.

Handbook of Good Practices to Combat Gender Stereotypes and Promote Equal Opportunities in Film, Television and Theatre in Europe / Richard Polacek, In: International Federation of Actors, 2010
The present handbook with its practical approach offers tools for change. The cultural sector is not a sector apart: because of its unique power to shape representation and deliver messages to society, it must take the lead in upholding gender equality. The contributors to this handbook have collected and examined existing practices on how to have really an impact on gender portrayal and equal opportunities. The handbook includes more than 50 good practices for combating gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality in theatre, film and TV from twelve European countries.

Breaking gender stereotypes in the media / European Commission’s Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, December 2010
The Advisory Committee proposes measures for the promotion of a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women and men in the media and in new technologies of communication. Together with this objective goes the aim to promote equal opportunities and working conditions for women and men working in all areas of the media sector, as well as to increase participation and access to expression and decision-making for women in and throughout the media.

The handbook of gender, sex, and media / Ross, Karen, Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012
The Handbook of Gender, Sex and Media offers original insights into the complex set of relations which exist between gender, sex, sexualities and the media, and in doing so, showcases new research at the forefront of media and communication practice and theory. It brings together a collection of new, cutting-edge research exploring a number of different facets of the broad relationship between gender and media; moves beyond associating gender with man/woman and instead considers the relationship between the construction of gender norms, biological sex and the mediation of sex and sexuality; offering genuinely new insights into the complicated and complex set of relations which exist between gender, sex, sexualities and the media. (Available in EP Library)


Women’s human rights and culture : from deadlock to dialogue /Holtmaat, Rikki; Naber, Jonneke; Cambridge 2011
In all parts of the world, the implementation of women’s human rights is seriously being hindered by gender stereotypes, religion, custom or tradition, in short by ‘culture’. Culture is increasingly being used as an excuse to commit serious violations of these rights. It is also brought forward as the reason why governments refuse to implement them, arguing that their culture forces them to accept limited interpretations of international obligations in this area, or to reject such obligations altogether. This book provides women’s human rights advocates with persuasive arguments and effective strategies to avoid a deadlock between on the one hand upholding the principle of the universality of human rights, and on the other hand the right to preserve and express one’s culture. (Available at EP Library – Brussels – S 28.08.20 HOL 11)

Security and gender

Sex, Stereotypes, and Security: A Study of the Effects of Terrorist Threat on Assessments of Female Leadership / Mirya R. Holman a , Jennifer L. Merolla b & Elizabeth J. Zechmeister; In: Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 32:3, 2011, p 173-192
This paper examines the extent to which terrorist threats affect assessments of female political leadership and whether these assessments are affected by the characteristics of the evaluated leader.

Stakeholder views

European Women’s Lobby

EWL’s Beijing+15 Report on Women and the Media. 2010

Gender stereotyping in the media is of great concern to the EWL. The EWL monitors European policies on women and the media, engages in journalist training and is compiling European-level data on gender stereotyping, sexism and violence in the media.

UN Women

Countering Gender Discrimination and Negative Gender Stereotypes: Effective Policy Responses. 2011

UN Women’ Deputy Director and Assistant Secretary-General Lakshmi Puri’s speech at the Session of ECOSOC in Geneva, 13 July 2011.

Case law

European Court

Hellmut Marschall v Land Nordrhein-Westfalen / Case C-409/95 (1997)

European Court of Human Rights

Case of Konstantin Markin v. Russia (2012)
Case of Willis v. The United Kingdom (2002)
Case of R.R. v. Poland (2011)

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