#mm: Food for Thought on the Theme of Gender

Partly provocative anecdotes, statements and theses should stimulate thinking and discussion. In contrast to “Impulses for getting started”, in this exercise, the themes are more complex and leave the development and range of the discussion relatively open. This requires more background knowledge and a greater willingness to get involved with the topic, both for course instructors and participants. 

The more provocative the texts and the more open the discussion, the greater the risk of contributing to the consolidation of gender stereotypes. This, of course,  is not the point of these suggestions. Instead, the participants’ own thinking – taking into account their own experiences – should be set in motion. 

The food for thought should not suggest that there are ‘correct’ answers. Rather, they should stimulate new questions and broaden the horizon of thought and experience. The activity is suitable for both large and small groups. 

(Source: Salto, Rolle, Pflicht und Kür. Gender Manual II. Verlag Pestalozzianum 2001, S.70)


1.) What do you think about… Women are – Men are 

“Overall, women have better verbal skills, are more skilful, more caring, more interested in other people, seek solutions to problems that take everyone’s interests into account, while men generally have a better spatial understanding, are more aggressive, more competitive and more prone to violence, more interested in things and facts than in people and have a tendency to see solutions from the point of view right or wrong. “ 

Does the list match your experience? Do you know women or men that correspond with this depiction? Would you evaluate yourself like this? Can one be vulnerable to violence? And why should women specifically consider “everyone’s” interests?  

Source: Salto, Rolle, Pflicht und Kür. Gender Manual II. Verlag Pestalozzianum 2001, S.71


2.) How do you explain that, on average, women earn 20-30 percent less than men working the same job?  

Based on average gross hourly earnings, the earnings gap between men and women in Austria was 20.1% in 2016 
> Statistik Austria
> Eurostat

Additional Material:

> Der Einkommensbericht. Ein Praxis-Ratgeber (2014)
> ÖGB Frauen zum Thema Einkommen

Source: Salto, Rolle, Pflicht und Kür. Gender Manual II. Verlag Pestalozzianum 2001, S.77


3.) How do you explain that women in “men’s professions” are less accepted than men in “women’s professions”? 

Possible Discussion: How and why is masculinity linked to professionalism and the ability to work (much like objectivity, leadership qualities and competence)?  

Source: Salto, Rolle, Pflicht und Kür. Gender Manual II. Verlag Pestalozzianum 2001, S.77


Additional Articles and links,  that can be used for critical questions after the exercise:
> Spiegel-Artikel: Männer in Frauenberufen “Sind das alles Ihre Kinder?
> Online-Artikel (Der Neue Mann): 10 typische Frauenberufe

Translation: Fred Taucher

Read original article in German

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