International Women’s Day is a worldwide celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also acts as a call-to-action through various events – big and small – campaigning on equality and change for the better.
The roots of this tradition can be traced to the early 20th century, with the first National Women’s Day being observed in the U.S. back in 1909. The initial goal of the campaign back then was to strive for better pay and voting rights for women. However, in this present day, it is primarily aimed at inspiring females across the world to love themselves and embrace the freedom of choice together with a sense of individuality. ❤
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress, a nod to the growing global movement of advocacy, activism, and support surrounding gender parity and sexism. Inspired by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the aim of this theme is to champion and unite people to think, act, and be gender inclusive – freely and willingly.
That being said, our society has a set of ideas on how we expect men and women to carry themselves at all times. To illustrate further, we have gender roles, which refers to how men and women are expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct themselves appropriately to their gender – determined by the widespread cultural norms.
Now, this brings us to the notion of a stereotype, which is a widely accepted judgment or bias towards a person or group – even though it’s overly streamlined and not always precise.
Case in point, women are generally expected to be sensitive, motherly, ladylike, and dress in typically feminine ways. Other the other hand, men are generally expected to be strong, bold, and more assertive.
Consequently, these gender stereotypes can lead to unfair and unequal treatment. Hence, women continue to encounter challenges at their workplace as well as in many facets of society. No doubt women do not appreciate stereotypes, and neither should we see the humour in them.
So, here’s a list of gender stereotypes women normally face in their everyday lives, and watch us debunk them:
1) Women are bad drivers
There’s this old saying that “women are bad drivers”; well, believe it or not, a recent study suggests otherwise. Basically, men tend to engage in risky behaviour when driving, resulting in way more accidents than women.
Additionally, scientists deduced that men are inclined to make more mistakes on the road because they find it more difficult to control their distracting behaviour, compare to their female counterparts.
Meanwhile, another study concluded that women are more proficient behind the wheel than men; but they lack the confidence to back it up verbally.
Fret not, here’s one of our own ladies at GoCar, Delarie, our Marketing Executive, who has her own experience to share on this matter:
“I often get comments from my male friends like, “OMG Delarie is driving! I hope I make it there in one piece!” or “Eh, are you sure you can parallel park?” Meanwhile, 80% of them have gotten into accidents because of reckless driving, not me (thank God). I am confident with my driving skills and as a women, I feel we shouldn’t be affected by what anyone has to comment about our driving skills.” – Delarie
2) Women are meant to be the inferior force at workplace
Women from all backgrounds can sometimes find themselves being oppressed or rather taken lightly in their professions. Despite working hard, many businesswomen are still given fewer leadership roles compare to the men; ergo, suffering from a lack of opportunity and respect at their workplace.
Besides that, there are situations where women are advised to dress and behave a certain way in the office. Indeed, most of these assumptions and misconceptions surrounding female employees are not intentional. Nonetheless, there ought to be equal balance and zero bias in any given scenario at work.
If you’re looking for a reason why, look no further, for a recent research in the U.S. shows that companies with the highest representation of women in their top management levels delivered 53% higher return on equity and 42% higher return on sales than companies with the lowest.
Now, speaking about women being seen as a subordinate in the working world, let’s hear personally from our Senior Marketing Executive, Joelle, through her own working experience prior to joining GoCar:
“In a previous workplace, I was told by a female superior to be ‘softer’ around and new male colleague ‘to get things done easily’ with his help (i.e. act more ‘manja’ or pampered around him, ask for his help even if I can complete a task by myself) because he interacts better with women who ‘behaves like one’. She highlighted that being physically and emotionally strong as a woman poses more disadvantages than benefits in the workplace, and that I should let my guard down more than I do instead of being too independent.What I did was to have her explain why she said those things – to understand where she was coming from – before sharing my thoughts. I explained as objectively as I can about being upset by what she said, and that she should help advocate for equality in the workplace instead of undermining and generalising what women are capable of – as both a superior and role model to her team members.” – Joelle
3) Women do not belong in the gaming world
Despite the fact that women now make up nearly half of all video game players; yet, the gaming community continues to be somewhat hostile towards women. Thus, there’s this long ongoing gender stereotype that claims men are better gamers than women when it comes to computer games – or nearly any other gaming platforms.
A study was conducted to understand in depth whether men are able pick-up video games more efficiently than women. Contrary to the stereotype, it was concluded that a player’s gender does not cause any difference in gaming performance whatsoever.
Further into that, the perception of women as bad gamers is evoked by various factors. For instance, the result of the study shows that women spent less time playing games than men. Also, women tend to play a more supportive gaming role than an aggressive fighter role, compared to men.
Taking into account all of this, here’s what Cheryll, GoCar’s Head of Operations, being a gamer herself, has to say about women gamers out there:
“This is not something that I do consciously, but I always tend to find myself in areas that go against the norm where gender roles are concerned. Back when I was in the States, I used to play video games competitively in tournaments. I even got sponsored doing it at one point. I realise there used to be a widely preconceived notion that gaming is mostly for guys or for those people who use gaming as means of escaping reality. Well, that clearly has changed lately; as we can see the sky-rocketed popularity of e-Sports, which is now a multi-billion dollar industry that is constantly on the rise.” – Cheryll
4) Women belong in the kitchen – cooking and cleaning
There’s this lingering perception that women belong in the kitchen – or at home in general – simply because men are more masculine and strong, and should be responsible for getting the hard-day’s worth of pay and fixing the car.
In contrast, women are soft-hearted and fragile, and should only be responsible at home when to comes to raising the kids, cooking, and cleaning.
Nevertheless, it is scientifically proven that while there are some differences between the physical strength and assertiveness of both gender, they do not prove that women are helpless at all.
In fact, on the contrary, as women can actually perform tasks that are more physically-incline – with just slightly added physical effort. So, there ought to be zero limitation as to what a women can do – let alone what women should do. It’s just the matter of choice and personal character.
In parallel with that, this is what Maathinii, our Senior Business Development Executive, has to offer in testimony.
“I find the saying, “Women belong in the kitchen” to be rude and stereotypical. However, I do enjoy being in the kitchen, cooking for my loved ones and knowing they are enjoying my food. It gives me a sense of dominance and fulfillment that I am capable to take care of not only myself, but also others. Then again, cooking and cleaning are the basic fundamentals that I think everyone should have, not just women. Also, I see myself as a bold and independent woman who don’t mind going out in the working world as much as I love being in the kitchen.” – Maathinii
Ultimately, the end goal is not about breaking stereotypes or being drawn to the feminist side of things; but to empower women to have the choice to do what they want.
In fact, the fundamental aim is to do more than just empowering women; rather, to unite everyone as a community – both men and women, hand in hand – through our choice and individualism, as we go through each day comfortably under our own unique skin.
From all of us here at GoCar, we wish you a Happy International Women’s Day! ❤