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Gender equality conference focuses on role of social media

gender equality conference

POCATELLO, Idaho - As March is recognized as National Women's History Month, today Idaho State University's Anderson Gender Resource Center and College of Arts and Letters paid homage to this, hosting its tenth annual Gender and Sexuality in Everyday Life Conference.

Speakers from across the country presented their research to both community members and students throughout the day, focusing on how media and social media can shape gender roles.

Equal Opportunity Director Stacey Gibson said it can get tough living-up to the different standards the media can hold both men and women to. 

For instance, Gibson used the example of how Hillary Clinton was under steep scrutiny during her past presidential campaign.

"You never hear about what a male politician is wearing. You never hear criticism about their suit, their hygiene or what hair style they have," Gibson said. "But you have a different standard for looking at female politicians."

ISU College of Business professor Dr. Alexander Bolinger said these perpetuated gender stereotypes can carry-over to how we behave in the workplace.

He said numerous research articles and studies done throughout the country indicate the same behavior can be interpreted differently depending on whether or not the subject is a male or female.

"For example, if a man is asking for more, he is seen as assertive and consistent with gender roles," Bolinger said. "For women, it might be seen as pushy or demanding."

As a result, Bolinger said women are less likely to ask for favors unless she is asking on the behalf of someone else.

"In general women tend to be less likely to ask in negotiations, however that could change. It's not a matter of not being able to. If they are asked to negotiate for someone else, they are just as assertive in asking," Bolinger said.

He also noted this can be costly, because in some cases, we're talking about a six-figure difference over the course of 35 years. He also said the national average shows women tend fall behind by 20 percent when it comes to how much they earn as compared to men.

The free conference will last until Tuesday evening and the full schedule can be viewed here:

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