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The influence of (gender) stereotypes on our gender (identity)


Today’s society is still significantly shaped by gender stereotypes, whether it be subconscious biases or outright discrimination. Senior Fellow Daniel Busacca Dolleo analyzed how current education and socialisation processes teach people to conform to gender stereotypes from a social psychology perspective. He explored how existing patriarchal structures continue to disadvantage and discriminate against women. In addition to women’s rights, Daniel highlighted the discrimination that the LGBTQ+ community suffers from in our widely heteronormative society.

While studying psychology, he realized that there is little time or space in schools and universities dedicated to discussing gender and LGBTQ+ related issues. His educational background helped him think about these issues through a psychology lens. He believes that this perspective can help further the discussions surrounding gender and sexuality.

Gender is an essential aspect of our identity & therefore of who we are. But are there such things as gender-typical characteristics at all?

LGBTQ and Gender issues are still a marginalized, or even non-existing, topic in German schools.

Through his workshop, students started to learn about basic differences between sex and gender, not just in the socio-political realm, but also in sciences. Furthermore, students learned to differentiate between stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination from a social-psychological perspective. That is not to say that this approach was purely scientific and removed from daily life. Daniel used real world examples, such as studies about music, tv, and film; social media posts; and even children’s books to discuss the issues surrounding gender roles and biases. At the end of the workshop, students were given the chance to share their own experiences, perceptions, and ideas on how to disrupt these prejudices. They also discussed possible ways to raise awareness while critically engaging with societally enforced stereotypes. 

The students were encouraged to critically question classic gender roles and already existing structures.

Daniel is planning on continuing his interactive lectures, hoping to visit more schools in Germany. He wants to not only educate more students and teachers about these issues, but also provide students with a safe space to share and express their thoughts.  Eventually, Daniel would like to move into spaces in higher education, such as universities and other academic institutions.