Making Gender Assumptions – Good or Bad?

I just received a LinkedIn invitation to connect from a man that I don’t know. Here was his message:

I try to make strong connections with female entrepreneurs. They usually do very well in our business, either full time or as a sideline to their main business. Also they generally know other like-minded women who may be looking for an opportunity. Here is a link to register for our FREE product, the Sherlock. 

The first sentence grabbed me – but then the product he was promoting was a shopping website. It struck a sour chord with me. What does being an entrepreneur and shopping for clothes have in common? Was he making an assumption that because I am a woman, my favorite pastime was shopping for shoes?

Or am I being too sensitive?

Another case in point. The European Council posted a video for the purpose of encouraging women and girls to seek out opportunities in the science fields. Before we go any further- why don’t you take a moment to watch:


The video was slammed by women saying that it was a dumbed-down campaign to entice women – in other words they needed to create this girly girl message in order to capture the attention of women.

One group of women were so incensed by the gender bias that they created an entire organization call Women in Science– ScienceGrrl. 

ScienceGrrl was founded in June 2012 in response to the EU campaign teaser video ‘Science: It’s a girl thing’ .  Many female scientists believed that this video reflected the old-fashioned and very out-of-trend views of women in STEM careers and decided that this stereotypical view needs to change, it is the 21st century after all!

The conversations in the comments section of the video are another great indication of how women are viewed and how people believe women should be communicated with.

However, don’t we do the same thing with men? Marketing campaigns are geared toward the sports enthusiast or the beer lover and assume that they will capture the attention of men in the same way make-up and shopping references will draw women.

From a very young age when girls are given dolls and boys receive trucks, we start this gender separation in our messaging. And the process seems to continue through adulthood.

So is making a gender assumption a bad thing? 

  • Women multi-task
  • Men compartmentalize information
  • Women are collaborative 
  • Men are authoritative
  • Women are aggressive
  • Men are assertive

How do you feel about a message that is clearly geared towards someone’s view of what will interest a woman or a men rather than generic messaging?

Here is one person’s opinion from the Science: It’s a Girl Thing video:

Diversity equals dumbing down and lowering standards, which mean equal outcomes for all whether deserved or not, they feel that the only way to bring women up to the male level is to bring men down to the female level of analytical ability and maybe meet in the middle. 
This is a very gradual, but very dangerous transformation. –Powertuber1000

What do you think?