Gender blindness or ostensible gender neutrality refers to the situation where the aspect of gender, i.e. that society is divided into women and men, is not taken into account in policy areas and programmes; the different statuses and needs of gender groups are ignored when the policy is made and the experiences characteristic of men are mostly considered.
Gender blindness means a situation where the prevailing opinion is that everyone is treated the same without actually acknowledging the beliefs and assumptions as well as the stereotypical expectations of genders actually hiding behind one’s behaviour, and the consequences of such behaviour on gender relations are not recognised.
Gender blindness occurs when people think that gender doesn’t matter at all and everyone is treated the same. Gender-blind thinking leads to the reinforcement of gender stereotypes and reproduces gender inequality.
For example, a survey indicated that nursery school teachers believed they treated boys and girls the same, but in reality, they mainly used short dos and don’ts when communicating with boys, while talking to girls more often using complex and diverse sentences. The teachers themselves believed that the boys don’t even want to talk to them, they just want to go outside and play. Teachers had also noticed earlier that the language use of boys is less developed than that of girls of the same age. The language use of boys improved when the teachers changed their behaviour and started consciously having conversations with boys.
If you feel that you’ve been treated unequally, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.