Hidden figures: reframing gender prototyping from a communication science perspective

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1 Citation (Scopus)


On 26 July 2013, the United Nations launched the Free & Equal campaign in Cape Town, South Africa, to mark the global commitment to end gender discrimination. This event can be positioned in the “fourth wave of feminism” referred to by certain leading feminist scholars (for example Gouws 2010). However, while multiple disciplinary discourses herald the progress with regards to women’s liberation, notably pertaining to gender identities, they illuminate that in spite of winning a number of battles along the way, the wars on exclusion, discrimination, patriarchy and misogyny have not yet ended. This article aims to reflect on the current status quo of feminism by drawing on the work of seminal communication scholars, such as Herbert Mead, Irving Goffman and Serge Moscovici whose work on individual and social identity sheds light on the processes of gender prototyping that are rapidly changing. At present, the United Nations recognises 71 gender identities, while hegemonic heterosexual domination and discrimination still persist regardless of legislation and activism aimed at inclusion and non-discrimination of all gender identities. An overview of current research findings illuminates the need for employee activism and the development of representative woman gender prototypes in particular, to harness cultures of inclusivity and non-discrimination in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • difference
  • equality
  • gender identity
  • gender prototyping
  • social representation
  • workplace diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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