There are a few different concepts that can be referred to as gender blindness.
“When someone chooses not to see gender and the differences between genders, it’s called gender blindness.”
There is a possibility that gender blindness is a description. A gender-blind hiring process is one where an employer might not take gender into account when reviewing resume and cover letters. This is to reduce bias.
In terms of sexuality and orientation, someone might refer to themselves as “gender blind” if gender doesn’t factor into whether they’re attracted to someone or not. They might be pansexual, bisexual, or another sexual orientation.
It is a tendency to favor one gender over another. It can lead to gender-based discrimination when someone is treated differently because of their gender.
Gender bias is often the result of gender essentialism, which is the belief that a person, activity, or trait is inherently masculine or feminine. A gender essentialist view would be to assume that women are naturally better parents than men because caretaking is a feminine activity.
No matter their gender, gender essentialism and gender bias can harm people.
There are examples of gender bias.
- Women are paid less than men for the same work.
- “Doctors dismiss women’s symptoms as dramatic.”
- Men are encouraged to do two different types of work while women are encouraged to do one.
- “The men’s bathroom does not have diaper changing tables.”
- Maternity leave is longer than paternity leave.
Gender bias is often discussed in the context of the workplace, but it can also be prevalent at school, at home, in community groups, in medicine, and in other areas.
In some ways, yes.
A 2017 study looked at gender blindness in couples who stayed together when one person transitioned later in the relationship. The couples seemed to stay together because they cared for one another as people, not based on their gender. So, while they faced challenges during and after the transition, they remained committed to one another.
One study looked at the impact of downplaying gender in the workplace. The study found that women who were gender blind in the workplace were more confident than those who were gender aware. It also suggested that gender blindness might help women take actions that could reduce gender disparities.
Understanding how societal expectations for different gender roles affect each gender is called gender awareness.
Laws that are gender-blind can be helpful. The victim of domestic violence and the perpetrators of sexual violence were assumed to be men. Laws that do not specify gender can help protect victims.
Gender blindness in hiring practices might help reduce the chances of someone being hired or rejected based solely on their gender. However, some experts believe that gender- or race-blind hiring practices don’t eliminate bias.
People are discriminated against on a regular basis.
“Sometimes, you choose not to acknowledge discrimination because of their gender. If women and non-binary people are never promoted to senior management within a company, you don’t notice the bias.”
You need to address gender discrimination when possible in order to combat it.
If a gender-blind approach is used, someone might view reasonable accommodation as special treatment. A pumping room at work for nursing parents is necessary, even though it might seem biased.
The terms gender blind and gender neutral are not the same thing. Gender neutral can describe objects like clothing, places like bathrooms, and more.
For example, gender neutral can be used.
- Clothes that are not associated with one gender.
- The sports teams are mixed- gender.
- There are not divided bathroom
- The names are used for all genders.
It is difficult to be gender blind in your approach to everything.
“If you want to have a gender-blind hiring process, you have to be aware that someone’s gender might become obvious to the interviewers.”
Sometimes, gender blindness ignores issues that are gender specific. A support group for new fathers can address issues and discrimination that new fathers face. These accommodations are necessary because of gender bias.
People can have biases that can play a role. People who think they are progressive may hold views that are not in line with their beliefs. You need to be aware of the views in order to address them.
There is a difference between gender awareness and gender blindness. Being aware of biases and taking action to address discrimination are included in this.
If someone has gaps on their resume, it might be off-putting to employers. Since women are expected to do care for family members, this might affect them more. A gender-aware approach might be to take this into account, and not dismiss applicants with gaps on their resume.
If women leave more quickly than men, a gender-awareness approach would be to ask why. Are they being discriminated against at work? Is there a way to address this? If you are interested in whether discrimination is taking place, gender awareness will help you.
A gender-blind approach might seem like a solution to gender discrimination, but it is not always the case.
“It is helpful to be aware of gender discrimination. If your company has a parental leave policy that isn’t fair to new fathers, or if your child’s teacher stereotypes children based on their perceived gender, notice.”
It is also important to be aware of yourself. Many people find it hard to unlearn gender bias because they were exposed to sexism. You are taking the first step in unlearning your biases by recognizing them.
You should try to address gender discrimination once you are aware of it. This can be a difficult task, but it starts with awareness.
There are some benefits and some drawbacks to gender blindness. People need to be aware of gender discrimination. You can take action to address it.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.