Gender, Language, and Society: Saudi Female University Students’ Perception of the Category of Professions
Keywords:gender and language, gender and identity, women’s education in Saudi Arabia, gender stereotypes and classification, Saudi women
This study concerns itself with the prevalence of gender stereotypes and classification of professions in Saudi Arabia. A survey and follow-up interview were administered to 80 female university students to determine whether young Saudi females’ classification of professions carries evaluative connotations related to gender. The results show that the subjects associate higher status (or skilled) professions with males and lower status professions with females despite the following facts: (i) Saudi women work in almost all professions, due to the rule of gender segregation and (ii) the image of women as professionals forms part of the participants' knowledge about Islam in which women are not stereotyped. The research highlights how the social experience of gender stereotyping plays a more important role than any other kind of experience in the hierarchical organization of the category of professions.
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