Study reveals gender stereotypes

by Elisse Miller

Two international San Diego State students recently conducted an independent research study on campus analyzing the unequal treatment of women.

The study was conducted by Dimitri Diakov, who is seeking a master’s degree in mass communication and media studies with an emphasis in public relations, and Aurelie Saiz, who is seeking a master’s degree in business with a focus on PR and marketing communications.

Their poll presented both good and bad news. More than 90 percent of those surveyed felt the image of women has evolved positively worldwide.

“A lot of our respondents, and some of the people I talked to, saw this stereotypical ‘woman in the kitchen’ not as the prevailing position for a woman and that’s why they responded positively,” Diakov said .

However, 50 percent of respondents said they have either witnessed or experienced gender discrimination.

“The problem is that women may be aware of the condition, but they do not act because a lot of them think it is normal just because it has been like this for a long time,” Saiz said.

One unique quality of this study is the international perspective these two students bring to the table.

In Russia, for example, there’s no women in upper parliament. In that respect, (the United States) is moving along,” Diakov said.

“In France, maybe because it is much smaller, we have a lot of women in our government; more and more who are involved in politics, so they talk about it,” Saiz said. “The message is more broadcasted and people are more aware and act in a way that is to change society’s condition.”

“The south of Mexico still believe in machos and that women are only there to please and satisfy men and their children’s needs. But in the North, many now believe that mom and dad carry out both roles. Compared to the U.S., Mexico still had a long way in viewing women as equal to men, but it is on its way,” Mariel Hernandez, member of SDSU’s Women’s Outreach Association said.

Their research shows gender stereotypes have been changed for the better, but that it might not be enough.

“I feel like there’s definitely a long way to go before we can say, ‘Oh well, it’s getting better to the point where we don’t see violence against women, we don’t see sexual treatment or sexual innuendos; that’s going to have to change with culture,” Diakov said. “When that type of mentality (women staying in the kitchen) starts to drift away, that’s when we’ll see real change and sexual discrimination go away.”