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New UWLP brief shows why stereotyping women is everyone’s problem

A man and woman talking at a business meeting
Charles Deluvio
Business Meeting

The Utah Women and Leadership Project’s forth brief in the Sexist Comments and Responses series deals with stereotypes. UWLP founding director Susan Madsen said of the 800 women who submitted comments, a startling amount fell into the stereotyping category.

“This one was really interesting,” Madsen said. “About 70% of all the comments related to one of the categories under stereotypes, and so 1,221 comments, so that's a lot to work our way through.”

This brief took on everything from general sexism to comments about how women should prioritize homemaking roles to women being penalized at work for being mothers. Madsen said the comments also ranged in severity.

“Some of them just make me laugh because they like, really do people really, you know, actually say these things,” Madsen said.

While the brief says over 65% of these comments came from men, over 30% came from other women. It’s a phenomenon Madsen said is more clear in states like Utah where more people believe in traditional roles.

“Women are more judgmental of other women, if they're not staying in the “feminine” to more traditional roles or doing the more traditional things,” Madsen said.

Understanding that both men and women have room to grow is the first step at getting better, Madsen said.

“But the more that we are aware, as women and as men of the kinds of comments that are out there, we can be more thoughtful about how we speak,” Madsen said. “And on how we are allies to each other.”

The first Utah Women and Leadership podcast episode on these briefs, produced in partnership with UPR.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.