Gender stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination: will we fight together?

Today, the whole world celebrates International Women's Day. For us, this is an opportunity to draw public attention to gender challenges, including stereotypes and prejudices.

What is so terrible in stereotypical thinking? No one dies from this, it does not change life from head to toe, but contributes to the spread of discrimination in its various ways. And this can really affect the fate of people.

Here are just a few examples:

- Claudia Neumann is the first German commentator on men's football. For over 30 years, she has commented on football matches men's and women's. However, for many fans of this sport, football and a female commentator are incompatible things. Because of this, Claudia is constantly exposed to angry comments and insults, both on and off social media.

- Hülya Ebru Demirel is an ordinary Turkish citizen. But in 2001, she applied to the European Court of Human Rights for discrimination against her on the grounds of gender she was not hired. The woman was appointed a security officer at a branch of a Turkish electricity distribution company. However, the company refused to hire her because she was not a man. By the way, Hülya Ebru Demirel won the case

- Malala Yousafzai is an activist from Pakistan who is fighting for women's right to education. For this, the girl was seriously injured in 2012 by Islamist militants. Malali was then 15, and she ran her own blog, raising issues of women's education in her country. One day, she was returning home, and the school bus was attacked. One of the militants got on a bus and began to ask the children who Malala was. When her identity was established, the assailant shot the girl twice, hitting her in the head and neck. Fortunately, she survived. She was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It is a pity that these three heroines had to go through such situations, and that in most cases people paid attention to their gender, and not to competence, work skills or the desire to change society for the better. Even more striking is the fact that these stories are from the 21st century. This is what is happening nearby, and we cannot be 100% sure that one day it will not happen to us personally.

What can we do to stop the spread of stereotypes, prejudices and gender discrimination? Reduce their impact on our lives!

Our perceptions of other people and phenomena are often formed on the basis of information from other sources than from our direct experience. Thus, there are relatively stable and simplistic ideas about a person, social group, event or phenomenon, which are called stereotypes. This vision of the world manipulates our consciousness and prevents us from perceiving the world in all its diversity. Prejudices can determine a person's behavior and motivate him to act unfairly, violate the rights of others, which are manifestations of discrimination.

We offer some tips to combat stereotypes and prejudices:

1. Form your own opinion, and do not succumb to the judgments that exist in society. To do this, look for information through various sources   Ukrainian and international. Be sure to check all the information through official channels: websites of organizations, government agencies, research, etc. This will help you shape your own vision of events, people, and make decisions that are based on concrete facts, evidence, and clear arguments, rather than on intuitive or emotional levels. By the way, this is well written in the book ‘Factology: 10 misconceptions about the world and why everything is much better than we think’ by Hans Rosling.

2. State problems. Talk about when you witness stereotypes or discrimination starting to rule people. Look for like-minded people who are willing to support you in your quest for prejudice. This can be done in different ways from a post on Facebook to changes through legislation. The main thing is not to ignore such situations, but to act. It is interesting to write about gender stereotypes in the book ‘Gender for all. A challenge to stereotypes’ by Tamara Martsenyuk. You can already read the book and write your own review on this topic on social media pages. This is a good way for you to take your first steps in the fight against stereotypes!

3. Show empathy. Last but not least. Everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, skin color, any preferences, is, first of all, a person. She or he has own emotions, fears, experiences, and most importantly soul. Everyone has a different soul, and this is what really unites all of humanity, and at the same time makes everyone special. So before you rely on stereotypes, ignore or support discrimination, try to put yourself in the other person's shoes, and you will understand that there is no difference between you you are the same, you both want to live happily, have the right to realize your dreams and enjoy every day. Here, too, we want to recommend the book: Scarlett Curtis ‘Feminists do not wear pink and other fiction’. It includes interviews with famous women, composed in such a way as to show as clearly as possible the diversity of emotions that can provoke a discussion of equality, as well as poetry and reflection on the rights of girls and boys in modern society.

We are not born with stereotypes or prejudices! If they can be acquired, they can also be gotten rid of   everything is in our hands. So let's avoid stereotypes and prejudices, stop discriminating right at the beginning, let's not ignore situations when we see someone discriminating against anyone. Only in this way will we be able to fight against stereotypes and prejudices that drag us back on the path to development and progress!