Masculine Stereotypes In the Workplace Discourage Men From Certain Careers, Proving That Gender Stereotypes Hurt Everyone

YAVOROV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 16: Ukrainian marines prepare to train in urban warfare techniques on the second day of the 'Rapid Trident' bilateral military exercises between the United States and Ukraine that include troops from a variety of NATO and non-NATO countries on September 16, 2014 near Yavorov, Ukraine. The two-week exercises include participating units from a variety of NATO and NATO-associate countries as well as Ukrainian troops. Meanwhile the Ukrainian parliement today ratified an associate agreement with the European Union and also agreed on a autonomous status for the separatist-controlled portion of eatern Ukraine. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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All of us who haven't been living under a rock know that hyper-masculine fields are hard for women to break into, but a new study shows that some men also stay away from jobs with a "macho" culture. Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that hyper-masculine stereotypes associated with certain fields drive away many men who don't see themselves as "man enough" to join. 

Restrictive ideas about how men should act in a certain field are as old as can be. Remember the whole Miami Dolphins NFL hazing scandal? Talk about a profession working like a fraternity. It shouldn't really come as a surprise that some men aren't on board with this highly gendered workplace culture, but now science has finally confirmed it all for us.

The recent two part study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, looked at 218 recruits for the Royal Marine (the UK's Commado force) and 117 male surgical trainees. These two fields are heavily male-dominated: women are officially excluded from the Royal Marines — a ban that has actually been upheld by the European Court of Justice, believe it or not — and only make up around nine percent of surgical consultants in the UK. 

Researchers found that those who didn't perceive themselves as being "man enough" in their male-dominated field were more likely to leave the profession, perpetuating the hyper-masculine culture that tends to keep women out. 

"Women have made substantial inroads into some traditionally masculine occupations, but not into others," said Professor Michelle Ryan of the University of Exeter. "There is evidence that the latter group of occupations is characterized by the hyper-masculine 'macho' stereotypes that are especially disadvantageous to women."

Researchers found that those who didn't perceive themselves as being "man enough" in their male-dominated field were more likely to leave the profession, perpetuating the hyper-masculine culture that tends to keep women out. 

These findings suggest that opening up these occupations to a wider range of men could encourage more women to join. Really, this study just reinforces the obvious fact that not many of us want to work in a field that bullies people into being stereotypically manly. But this study does tell us something we don't hear often enough: sexism in the workplace affects all of us. It's high time to get rid of gendered workplace stereotypes and open up these fields to all men and women.

Image: TheVine

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