Dis-empowering Gender Stereotypes
This chapter explores how Western higher education (HE) can benefit from the adoption of illustrated storytelling as a methodology to simultaneously dis-empower gender stereotypes and empower persons in academia. Drawing from indigenous law and methodology and participatory approaches as an essential part of the legal methodology, we explore how critical role-playing developed through storytelling and the observation of role qualities contribute to identifying gender stereotypes, rendering them meaningless and consequently dis-empowering them. Gender stereotypes downgrade and limit our attitude, features, and life experiences to the binary categorisation “male/female”, and therefore need to be actively dis-empowered. The overall aim of the methodological process is to support and strengthen collaboration between administrative and academic staff in their interactions. Through illustrated and critical storytelling, where information is not presented from one dominant view but rather co-created, the academic community is asked to reflect on stories as the basis for collective discussions on the origins of gender stereotypes and to develop new and co-created alternatives to otherwise rigidly binary and limited outcomes. As a result, dis-empowering gender stereotypes results in effective empowerment of the academic community. The adoption of such a participatory approach has been successfully adopted and is therefore recommended both in academic courses and in training sessions with HE staff, contributing to shifting towards an inclusive and egalitarian workplace culture in academia.