Feisty, Ballbuster, Ice Queen – these are some gender labels that women are often associated with. Society has always been unfair to women, expecting them to behave in specific ways. And when these expectations are not met, they often face judgments. Even someone as powerful and influential as the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was also given the title of ‘Iron Lady.’ While it may be seen as a mark of respect, it also asserts the belief that women are not perceived to be typically strong. Therefore, in this article, we will take an in-depth look at these gender labels and try to understand how they play a crucial role in holding women back.
Since women are generally warm, caring, sensitive, and emotional, these have given rise to numerous women stereotypes. While there is no harm in being all these things, women must be assertive, driven, and result-oriented. However, when women exhibit these traits, they are given unfair gender labels like pushy and even bitchy. In comparison, men are respected for possessing a so-called no-nonsense approach.
Gender labels can also provide valuable insights regarding the various gender differences in the workplace. From being unable to access equal opportunities to unequal pay, gender labeling tends to encourage many workplace biases that tend to hold women back. They can also influence how a woman’s performance and potential are perceived. For example, when companies hire leaders, they look for typically considered masculine traits. On the other hand, when a woman shows emotion in the workplace, she might be labeled as unstable or too fragile to lead.
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Ways to Overcome Gender Labels
While women must stand up to gender-based discrimination, it is also essential for them to invest their time and energy in things that can help their careers. Irrespective of all the gender differences in the workplace, women must look to further their cause and shed all the unfair labels. Therefore, here are a few steps to help women overcome gender labels.
Do Not Accept Such Labels
You must not believe in such biased gender labels. Women are as capable of being fair as they are of being firm. They can be both empathetic as well as objective, robust, and flexible. Hence you must never take these unfair labels seriously. From holding people accountable to getting results, women can do everything men can.
Being yourself is the most likely way to succeed in life. While we all need to conform to specific standards in life to be regarded as professional, we must try to be within these boundaries. Despite all the workplace biases and unfair labels, you must adopt a specific style and approach that works best for you.
One cannot always remain either ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ in life. Hence, you must adopt both aspects and apply them personally and professionally. To be successful, you need to think from your head and heart. You may need to be outcome-oriented in some situations but also need to be empathetic in others. While being emotional is one of the most common women stereotypes, being too clinical will also not serve your purpose every time.
One of the main reasons behind gender differences in the workplace is that women often doubt their abilities. This also holds them back from expressing their views. Women must not only share their opinions but also be unapologetic about them. However, one must also take responsibility for the things one says. Hence, women must be frank and expressive to be respected and taken seriously.
Read Also: Make Your Voice Heard at the Workplace
Take the Initiative
Another cause of gender inequality is that women often wait for others to notice their potential or guess their aspirations. This is another reason for gender labeling in the workplace. Hence women must take the initiative to inform their leaders about what they are capable of and how they can contribute. You must look for opportunities and grab them with both hands to advance your career.
Take What You Deserve
Another reason women often face workplace biases at work is that they tend to forgo their opportunities for the sake of other people. As a woman, you need to face the hard fact that all healthy relationships on some levels are based on a certain amount of give and take. Another thing that you need to ensure is that you must have enough to thrive in life. Hence, never deprive yourself of the things that you truly deserve.
Most women often make the mistake of believing they must be highly qualified or experienced to excel in their careers. While these are important, women must also be bold and confident in their approach. Gender labels are often attached to women because they are perceived as meek. Therefore, try to have a fearless approach in life.
Over the years, gender labels have played a crucial role in discriminating against women. They have often been held back in their career due to these unfair labels that are bestowed upon them by a biased society. Therefore, it is high time that women address this issue and adopt methods to help them overcome such gender labels.
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