Another area women are globally discriminated against is gender-based stereotypes. According to the, gender-based stereotype is defined as a generalised view or preconception about attributes or characteristics, or the roles that are or ought to be possessed by, or performed by women and men. It is said to be harmful when it limits the capacity of women or men to develop their personal abilities, pursue their professional careers and make choice about their lives. Even though a gender-stereotype can be positive and psychologically gratifying (for instance, women are merciful and home builders), it is mostly used to pull women down from fulfilling their potentials.
Most often in Nigeria, gender stereotyping is negative. It is socially degrading. In mostly all the ethnic groups in the country, women are perceived as weak beings. In fact, among the Yoruba, women are believed to possess ‘seven (7) bones’ while men are believed to have ‘nine (9) bones’. This determines the assigned gender social roles and functions in the society. Even though other ethnic groups in Nigeria might not have the ‘bone-number myth’, they have other beliefs that socially degrade humanity in women.
Social degradation of women through gender stereotyping thus translates into a perceived limited capability of women to excel in certain but important sectors of the society. First, it discourages girl-child education, thereby denying them right to education. Some societies in Nigeria still see education of the girl-child as a waste. They believe that no matter the degree a woman has, she will still end up in the kitchen or “the other room”. Read more