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Careers are Genderless!!!

I am sure a lot of us have been dismissed by a number of people on prospective career options owing to the fact that these career paths might not be the right choice depending on our gender. During an individual’s schooling, we often observe boys and girls picking up different educational paths because somewhere along the line we have internalized certain career paths to be associated with a particular gender. Hence, restricting an individual from the opposite gender from taking up such career paths as viable options for themselves. The world has progressed way and beyond, yet, these stereotypes still remain.


While some jobs are clearly rooted in stereotypes – e.g., women as nurturers, men as financial decision-makers – others seem to be more randomly assigned. Pop culture also heavily influences the existing occupational stereotypes. Decades of man-as-breadwinner stereotyping have led to the view that if employment is high-skill and high-paying, it's a man's job. Whereas for some jobs if you know one person from a specific occupation you assign that job to a particular gender. When that gender is female, the occupation is generally taken less seriously.


It is self-explanatory why this often hampers a lot of opportunities for women, but it also disincentivizes men from crossing these gender barriers. A lot of stigma gets associated with taking up such decisions which cause incongruence within the individual. If you so much as glance over at the job descriptions and news articles, you’ll find that a lot of common job titles still use the word “man” in them. Gender-biased titles/language start at a very early age. In fact, according to BYU English professor Delys Snyder “when children hear job titles that have a…m-a-n ending, and you ask them to draw pictures or mention who’s doing that job, they're going to pick the one that matches the gender of the word.”


In accordance with this, children get wired to think of genders to be associated with certain job roles which limit them while pursuing their passion. At a much bigger level, even if the individual decides to take the step towards such a career path, they face a lot of disapproval by the important stakeholders of their ecosystem such as their parents, teachers and even peers.



There are two ways to unravel this gendered profession issue. One is to prevent seeing female-dominated professions as less credible and male-dominated professions as more reputable. The other is to eliminate such casual gender assigning altogether. It is also seen that gender-specific job titles at some level promote sexism within the workplace. For instance, fire chiefs argue that when the general public uses the term "fireman" rather than "firefighter", it reinforces the favoured image that firefighting is merely an employment option for men, and hence makes recruiting women very difficult.


Some ways to de-stereotype gendered careers are:


  • Using gender-neutral titles in job descriptions Male-oriented titles can inadvertently prevent women from choosing a career during their initial search. Using neutral, and descriptive titles like "engineer," "project manager," or "developer" can go a long way.

  • Use appropriate pronouns When describing the tasks of the ideal candidate, use "He/She/they" or "you." Example: "As Content Creator for XYZ organization, you'll be responsible for creating a brand image."

  • Balance the use of gender-heavy words The gendered language bias in the job descriptions predicts the gender of the person you are more inclined to hire. One should be very mindful to not imply gender-based stereotyping unconsciously.

  • Keep it simple Excessive use of superlatives like "expert," "superior," "world-class" can intimidate candidates who are more collaborative than competitive in nature. Superlatives associated with a candidate's background can limit the pool of prospective applicants because there could also only be a few candidates currently in leading positions at "top-notch" organizations owing to a lot of factors like lack of opportunity or disparity in educational prospects.

  • Limit the number of requirements Identify which requirements are "nice to have" versus "must-have, and eliminate the "nice-to-haves." Research shows that ladies are unlikely to apply for a role unless they meet the criteria 100%, while men will apply if they meet 60% of the requirements.



Luckily, gender lines are blurring, with new posts in female-dominated fields increasingly being filled by men and vice versa. This paves the way for such fields being more openly and readily accessible as career options to students at the cusps of their professional careers. Being given equal opportunities based on an individual’s interest areas and personal values always gives the individual more freedom to make a choice that is well-aligned with their internal goals.


If you feel you’ve ever witnessed gender-based bias, you can ping us at hello@psykessa.com and we’ll be there to help you navigate through the experience.

PsyKessa also provides one-on-one counseling services as well as clinical services.


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3 Comments


Fantastic 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Debjeet Majumdar
Debjeet Majumdar
Mar 31, 2022

Absolutely love this! Good read.

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