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What are stereotypes about women?

By Eleanor Low

Ciao ciao, fellow friend! Listen, women are great, right? Yeah, of course! But how can we appreciate women to the full extent if we don’t know the facts? Well, I’ve compiled a list of female stereotypes so we can find out more! As it turns out, there is an abundance of evidence discrediting some harmful stereotypes and bizarro beliefs. So, let's go debunk them all, shall we?

  1. Women spend more, which is why they have less money. Men just save better.

Whoever says this definitely has never been to Cotton On. But I digress!

To address the first part of this statement, men with single bank accounts actually outspend women with single bank accounts. Specifically, those men on average spend $61,037 (Aus) per year on themselves, whereas women spend only $57,533. This is crazy if you consider that women are also paying for cosmetics, period products, and (according to the American Association of University Women) 16% more student debt (than men) at graduation. Yet somehow men still outspend!

And to address the second half, I’ll have you know, the idea that men are better at saving is a myth. <3

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, around 40% of women were saving up money for emergencies, whereas only 25% of men were financially prepared for such catastrophes. Already 27% of Australian women under 35 had saved up enough to own their own home, compared to 21% of men. And because women still get paid less than men, yet are saving enough to purchase their own houses, is pretty spectacular! So it's no surprise women still outrank men in individual home ownership up until the age of 65, and studies show they are faster at paying off their mortgages. Wowsers!

2. Women are more emotional than men.

Preposterous! How can this be so?! Sex doesn’t indicate how emotional you are, it's really up to how the individual chooses to express themselves. However, studies show that women are more likely to be better at determining the emotions of others and expressing their own, and this is due to unhelpful cultural standards that place more emphasis on women learning to understand emotions better than men. It’s quite an outdated way of thinking, and we should encourage men nowadays to express their emotions on an equal level to women.

Additionally, this belief pushes men to have to express their emotions differently or suppress them altogether, which isn’t good as it promotes stereotypical beliefs that are harmful to both genders. Realistically, anybody can possess the ability to become better at expressing their feelings and identifying them in others, it only requires practice! So you see, it would benefit society much more to ditch these strange ideas and move towards more successful emotional equality!

3. The gender pay gap is just because women go on maternity leave to raise kids. Therefore it needs to exist!

Hmm interesting viewpoint, but it is rather misinformed. To understand this we need to know that measuring the gender pay gap is not about women and men receiving equal pay for the same task (that has been a legal requirement since 1969). It is about comparing the difference between the average pay of men and women across various different industries, businesses, organisations etc.

Now that we know the definition, we can see that women who go on maternity leave have no choice but to accept casual or part-time work hours because of the stereotypical belief that women are caregivers. Hence, they earn less due to this.

Additionally, the current insufficiency of Aussie daycares (such as limited positions), as well as the severe lack of workplaces that accept flexible work hours, actually prevent women from returning to their careers and force women into being underpaid. Similarly, men are more likely to be promoted due to an unfair bias against women, and you have a widening gender pay gap! And yes, before you cut in, both men and women ask for raises equally. <3

Even woman-dominated careers pay lower wages for women, and the men that enter such industries are generally paid more. Ultimately this proves that women aren’t receiving the privilege of choosing when to work, access paid leave, or embrace leadership positions (due to part-time jobs that prevent promotions. Instead, those promotions are given to people who work full time). This results in women not being able to accept career opportunities that also allow equal pay with men to coincide. Additionally, this also culminates in a woman’s superannuation, whereby on average there is 23.1% less money than a man’s. This is significantly disadvantageous for retiring women and is a very physical representation of the calamities the gender pay gap poses.

4. Men are better suited as leaders than women.

Did you know that almost every war was started by men?

This kind of opinion has been sneakily integrated into society, but alas, it has a couple of holes, like Swiss cheese!

Studies have deduced a lot about different leadership styles in the sexes. We know that women in leadership tend to be more adaptive, inclusive, and participative leaders, whereas men are more directional, task-oriented, and prefer transaction-based interactions (though none of these attributes is factually exclusive to either gender). However, in a study on The Glass Ceiling, the Management Research Group concludes that neither is more effective, or better equipped, for leadership than the other.

Nevertheless, there are many reasons why there are still less women in leadership than men. Studies done by the Australian Government ‘Workplace Gender Equality’ Agency show that equally qualified women receive fewer interview invitations than men of the same credentials, and are considered less competent and ‘less hireable’ than those of the opposite sex. Therefore, their chances of ever becoming a leader of such businesses are second to none.

In another study, women who were encouraged to be more confident and assertive to get hired actually were considered to be ‘less likeable’ than those women who displayed the opposite- more feminine traits. This not only discourages women from being confident and true to themselves, but it means they have to change who they are to be something they are not to stay employed. This barricades women from leadership positions in a workplace if they can’t even get hired in the first place! Not to mention, it puts pressure on their male counterparts to also perform differently- to be more assertive and dominant. It simply won’t do!

But on the bright side, reparations are taking place. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is taking measures to ensure a 50% representation of both sexes. This not only sends a strong message about gender equality but further proves the efficiency of both sexes when they are balanced evenly in parliament.

Ah, folks, this may only be the tip of the iceberg! Don’t stop questioning these stereotypes, but while doing so remember that each gender is equal and we should all be treating one another with respect and dignity. <3 Have a good day!!


(The Government links are really good, but this one is one of the best! Check it out, it has a lot of statistics)


"Gender and emotion in context" (Handbook of Emotions) by Brody L (pages 395–408)

The role of emotion in computer-mediated communication: A review (Computers in Human Behavior) by Derks, Daantje, Fischer, Agneta H, Bos, and Arjan (pages 766–785)

At the end of the road? On Differences between women and men in leadership behaviour by J Hansson (pages 428-441)

3rd volume of ‘Industrial organizational psychology: Understanding the workplace’ by Levy P ( pages 372-374)


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