Psychology of Gender

1. Discuss and give examples of how gender bias can become a factor in research.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines bias as preference or inclination that inhibits impartiality prejudice (American Heritage Dictionary, 1983).

When it comes to academic positions, women arent promoted as often as men, or the case may be that female academics find it difficult to apply their knowledge in research. Rather than investigate real differences, investigates stereotypical differences or does not investigate issues important to women e.g. violence, pregnancy. The research may even bring about biased thoughts by searching for reasons in women for abnormal or different behavior

Traditional psychological research previously concentrated on the male experience and point of view. Feminist research methods have changed how traditional research on gender has emerged. There is now a interest in women focused psychology or what is now called andocentric bias.
Two theories of bias came about by, and were shaped, exaggerated, diminished the differences between men and women, Alpha Bias and Beta Bias they were termed. (Crosbie, 2009) Furthermore, these theories have contributed to the consensus that women were lesser by comparison to men male theory.

Examples of gender bias can be found in the following Kohlbergs work on male-female moral achievement. (Crosbie, 2009) His conclusions held that women were lower achievers than men. Bowlbys research on childcare raised the question as to whether or not women should stay at home instead of working outside and hiring childcare. Freuds theories of socialisation stated that women suffered from Penis envy that in turn leaves an imprint on their personality development. Erickson flatly said that women should stay home and care for their children.

Results extrapolated from research can also be skewed from biases. (Crosbie, L., 2009) For instance, stereotypes of typical females may be used instead of actual findings. This scenario if exacerbated can create unjustnon-substantiated differences. If the pool of peer reviewed articles, books, and other information is male dominated there can also be difficulties on finding credible studies that involve women.

Methodological bias
Using male preferred techniques such as carrying out Lab experiments when women are more comfortable in less controlled environments as in the case of interviews where there is emphasis on participation and personal experience.
A study carried out on intra-abdominal obesity and metabolic risk factors in Denmark was almost solely done on the men The subjects included 46 Caucasian subjects (6 women and 40 men). The conclusion of the study was for young people, intra-abdominal fat is the reason behind six metabolic risk factors. Unfortunately this has been shown only in males.

2. Evaluate the influence of family and media on gender development.

Family influence
A childs first exposure to the meaning of being male and female comes from the parents, (Lauer  Lauer, 1994 Santrock, 1994 Kaplan, 1991). From infancy, parents treat their daughters and sons differently, by dressing them in colors that are gender specific, expecting differing behavior form girls and boys an giving them toys differentiated by gender. Childrens experiences with different family members also shapes their perceptions on gender roles, e.g. the differing treatment of brothers and sisters in the family.
There may be of some benefit to maintaining strict stereotypical gender roles, but not be forgotten are the costs. These include reducing the opportunities for the girls and boys, carrying on unfairness in the society and ignoring talent. Due to the major influence parents have on the development of gender roles, parents who want to display gender fairness and encourage both their sons their sons and daughters to be their best should adopt an a gender role that is androgynous and foster the same attitude in their children.

Media Influence
Media utilize stereotypes. Magazines, radio, TV and computer software repeatedly show women and men in restricted roles. Importance is placed on mens strength and womens beauty. A good example can be found in Disney movies female characters are pretty and feminine and frequently need rescuing by men. The boys in magazines, movies and TV are portrayed as strong and show little emotion.
These gender roles and stereotypes do not serve the equivalent purpose that they did one hundred years ago on the contrary, these views of behavior and sexuality can be more of an impediment than help toward modern society.

3. Describe the way that girls are disadvantaged at school.
According to the International Labor Organization girls are still disadvantaged when it come to education. The organization reports that for every one hundred boys enrolled in school there are ninety four girls, with girls in the rural areas being most disadvantaged. The total enrollment in secondary school in developing land is 57 for girls and 61 for the boys. In less economically developed countries the enrollment is 26 for girls and 32 for the boys. These statistics indicate that in the most part of the developing world a large percentage of girls fail to gain access to education beyond primary level. Girls can often be amongst the last people to be registered and amongst the first when it comes to being removed from schools when a family needs to choose between sending a girl or boy to school. This fact implies that discrimination is a major concern (, 2009).
A major reason why girls miss school is because they need to contribute to the family income. Cost also poses a major challenge, school fees are still charged in at least some 101 countries. Other barriers to the education of the girl child include violence in schools, conflict, early marriage and HIVAIDS. For example in Nepal, 40 of girls get married by the age of 15. In the Caribbean, girls between the ages 15-19 are infected with HIVAIDS at higher rates than boys. It is estimated that during the 1990s, about 100,000 girls directly took part in conflicts of not less than 30 countries, not to mention the fact that of the worlds 25 million IDPs, the majority are women and children (, 2003). The girl childs access to schooling can also be restricted by other issues, for example lack of sufficient sanitation facilities or safety while journeying to school.  Lacking access to good education, girls land in the work force while still way under the minimum employment age, sacrificing their educational participation and success.

4. Compare face-to-face and online support groups
Online support groups provide online help for health problems. Current research indicates that 56,000,000 adult Americans use the online support groups, most of them coming from socio-economically deprived backgrounds and minority groups. These groups are available throughout and one may come and leave at hisher own pleasure, not so with face to face groups. Online support groups allow one to remain anonymous if they wish to, and just read without participating. In an online set up, moderators can remove or alter hurtful and dangerous words and phrases and warning signs can be displayed, this is not possible in a face-to-face setting, once words are spoken the damage is already done.
One of the greatest benefits of an online support group is that driving across town or even to a different town is eliminated. Access to enormous amounts of materials and information referred to can be retrieved at the click of a button. Additionally there are records of everyones contributions going back several months. Most importantly, there are billions if not zillions of online support groups, so each individual is free to choose one to suit their personal comfort level. That way people can get the support that they require where they feel most comfortable.
Face to face groups offer the warmth and comfort through human contact.  Participating in live group activities makes the experience more enriching. Members of face-to-face groups can exchange medication, supplements and other health foods. When a member of a face-to-face support group really needs help to do something, the support group members will be there to provide support. For instance if a member needs to move, everyone online will support the decision but none of them will be available to help with the packing.


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