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"Statutory interpretation remains an effective tool for altering the scope and application about women; but in order to rid the world of stereotypical thinking about women, something much deeper is necessary. That something, this paper has argued, is a profound and informed understanding and appreciation of the socio-structural roots and origins of stereotyping. Armed with such an awareness, the world's courts will be better fit to exact remedies which cure, not merely the harms suffered by the individual seeking redress, but the very social relations from which such harms were allowed to materialize."





Shayan Shaffie

Stereotyping as Institution: On Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins and the Socio-Structural Roots of Gender Discrimination.


As the critical movement for gender equality advances into the twenty- first century, the battle against discriminatory and stereotypical thinking is being waged along increasingly subtle and contextual lines. As a result, the very definition of “equality" has been forced to evolve from its purely formal roots to encompass new psycho- structural dimensions. This essay proffers an argument for the need to take this approach to gender equality more seriously. By outlining the psychological, legal and socio-structural dimensions of gender stereotyping, it goes on to apply this framework to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins in order to demonstrate why the effective diagnosis and treatment of gender stereotyping in the employment context hinges upon an analysis of the structural roots fostering such stereotypical thinking. Drawing upon key articles of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the essay concludes by presenting some of the ways in which the Supreme Court in Hopkins might have improved its judgment with the aim of effecting a model of genuine, transformative equality.



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