Women Culture and Society: Study of Gender

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Virginia Valian used the concept of Beyond Gender Schemas to write the article Improving the Advancement of Women in Academia.' The essay entails the questions that Virginia sought to answer based on the position of women in the economic arena. She outlined the reasons why few women are in the topmost position as compared to their men counterparts. In the article, a vivid description is offered concerning the statistics that reveal the dragging advancement among women as well as the sectors in which the problem is predominant (Virginia, 2004). According to Virginia, the documented statistics related to women in academia reveal important aspects to be examined and described succinctly. This excerpt is a critical review of Virginia's article on gender schemas.

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Using the social-cognitive approach, Virginia examined the perception and judgments that gradually entangle women preventing them from realizing greater success as men. The dominant cultures of these perceptions create a cumulative impact that is exhibited in the concept of gender schemas and advantage accumulation. The dwindling of women in the professional ladder is a process that takes place based on the accumulation of factors that are not eradicated but are affecting the women while giving men a fertile ground to excel. The analogy of gender schemas considers how the disadvantages faced by women provide a better ground for the excellence of men and as a result, the overall impact is a scenario where women are affected by the egalitarian beliefs (Virginia, 2004). The cognitive inclination Virginia uses to express the processes that women are nurturing to ensure they are also recognized.

Virginia describes and interprets the data analysis conducted to have revealed the relationship between men and women in the scientific profession as well as the general positions. The data demonstrated that progress is a vital component of gender equity. Men and women are subjected to equal baselines; however, the time factor reveals the disparity in the progress in technical fields such as engineering and science. The problem of the various development emanated from ranks that the women are disadvantaged to attain based on the reasonable beliefs. According to Virginia, the beliefs affect the perception men have towards the women (Virginia, 2004). For example, it is noted as an idea that men are taller than females and students in an experiment made wrong estimations on the height of those in the photographs used because the exercise was involving men and women of the same height (Virginia, 2004). Virginia describes that the same error is propagated in the professional competence leading to an overvaluation of men over women.

Moreover, Virginia explained how the data also revealed that the gender schemas not only affects the competence perceptions on women but also negates the possibility of reaping benefits of success and be considered as effective leaders. The symbolism of any leadership position is not carrying any effect on women as compared to how it is perceived when held by a man. Nevertheless, Virginia explains that a woman will be forced to work extra hard and put more dedication for the apparent leadership position to be recognized and accepted as real guidance position (Virginia, 2004). This scenario, Virginia explains as a problem that should not be ignored since it will continue to provide a favorable ground for considering women as less possible subjects for leadership and management positions.

It is clear that equality is needed, and necessary interventions are required to set mechanism that will ensure a path towards equity is trod. However, it is important to note that both men and women are subjected to corresponding information, professional training, and same chances of success (Glick & Fiske, 2000). The choice made by an individual is a determining factor to how discouraged or how motivated one will go. In as much as Virginia explains how women are disadvantaged, another aspect of the schemas identifies the women as considering themselves as of no value. Self-esteem is a vital component of success, especially in leadership. The moment women prefer to consult men when faced with complex undertakings pictures how they perceive men as senior professionals. More focus is needed to create an objective existence; however, the mindset needs to be oriented first to the appropriate acknowledgments. The recommendation of an accountability approach should first call women to rise to the occasion and change the possible paths of disadvantageous accumulations (Long, 2001). Women need to recognize their capabilities to allow men accept the challenge.

In conclusion, an equitable gender perception and existence is paramount for a successful living in the sociocultural setting. The problems facing women as far as progress in professional and economic facets are concerned sensitive and require attention. Women have suffered from accumulated effect of cognitive schemas as noted by Virginia. However, there exist chances of changing the scenario to allow women to benefit from leadership dimensions, professional progress, and objective existence. The overall process calls for participation of women and men; nevertheless, a change in mindset and belief is the baseline for mitigating the challenge.


Glick, P. S. & Fiske, A. M. (2000). Beyond Prejudice as Simple Antipathy: Hostile and

Benevolent Sexism Across Cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79: 63 - 75

Long, J. S. (2001). From Scarcity to Visibility. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Virginia, V. (2004). Beyond Gender Schemas: Improving the Advancement of Women in

Academia. NWSA Journal, 16(1): 198 213.

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