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“Gender stereotyping in Nursing”

The purpose of this paper is to present feminism and insight of Simone de Beauvoir's
provocative declaration, “He is the Subject, he is the Absolute—she is the Other,” signals the
central importance of the self for feminism. To be the Other is to be the non-subject, the non-
person, the non-agent—in short, the mere body. The reason, appetites, emotions, mind, and body
are all biased in favor of men and against women, yet the rationalist and Judeo-Christian view is
framed in terms of these sexist concepts. Reason, rationality, and mind are seen as superior
"male" traits that must rule over the inferior "female" traits of emotion and bodily appetites, and
this idea appears to be fundamentally sexist. This theory will contribute to the nursing profession
like for example, Gender bias and role stereotyping in nursing educational programs because
men have greater power and prestige within the profession. Nursing is seen as a feminine
occupation and is thus devalued in male dominated patriarchal society. It is stereotyped as
having the traits of nurturing, caring, dependence and submission. This contrasts with the
perceived male traits of strength, dominance and aggression. Male nurses separate themselves
and the masculine sex role from their female colleagues. When someone forms an identity that is
incompatible with society’s expectations, people become uncomfortable and are unsure how to
behave. In a society where nurses are seen as female, it is difficult for people to know how to
relate to a male nurse. They find it hard to understand why anyone would choose a job
dominated by the lower status sex, and make a choice that is likely to involve negative sanctions.
Men are deterred from the profession by believing that other people will see them as unmanly.
They may also believe that nurses only take orders from doctors, have limited career
opportunities, and are poorly paid. They also said that the “He-man” label arose as men are
perceived to have greater physical strength, greater IQ and etc. This translates into men being
expected to do all the heavy lifting and able to answer all questions that being asked by someone.
In reality however, male nurses use lifting aids as often and can also answer questions as female

The stereotype that male nurses are gay is based more on ideas of what is masculine and what is
not than any objective assessment of sexual life styles. If a man has ‘feminine’ traits, such as
empathy and caring, they are assumed to be gay. This is a deterrent to men becoming nurses, but
few male nurses find this a day to day problem. The label of homosexuality is assigned to all
men who work in jobs emphasizing attributes traditionally assigned to females, such as empathy
and caring. Men who work in a ‘woman’s job’ are seen to be incompetent, because women’s
work is ‘easier’. If they were true men, they would go and be doctors, and do a ‘Man’s Job’. Is
nursing profession just only for women? Are women really more compassionate than men? Do
men have higher IQ than women? Gender Bias and Discrimination in Nursing, Can We Change

In the arguments, Males are superior to females. It is not basically like that because in the
theory of Carol Gilligan on Moral Development and Gender. Her theory specifically states that
there is a social construct differentiating boys and girls. This is as evidenced by other moral
development theories like that of Sigmund Freud and Erik Erickson. The two theories denote a
male-centered developmental psychology. According to her book, “In a Different Voice”,
women thought about caring more than the current rules allowed. Furthermore, her book stated
that certain developmental stages mentioned by Freud and Erickson focused on skills. It is said
that because of these skills, one becomes more developed. However, putting this into context,
men scored higher than women, therefore insinuating that men, according to the two theorists,
were superior compared to women in general. In conclusion, Carol Gilligan’s basic claim is that
society has imposed roles on gender, and that women are different, and not inferior.

Schools and universities have been more proactive into promoting gender equality. As this
mindset has been instilled into our culture, educational systems such as schools, colleges and
universities have had the initiative to change the mindset with the belief that in changing one’s
mindset toward the issue, gender equality would be achieved. However, even if a lot of schools,
colleges and universities promote gender equality, gender discrimination may still be present.
Nonetheless, the initiatives for decreasing gender discrimination have increased, and many have
hoped for the development into gender equality.


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