International business professor studies gender roles in contemporary society

October 03, 2023

Professor Mohammad Elahee in front of a Chinese building during a personal research trip.

Mohammad Elahee, professor of international business, has taught in various countries around the world and conducts research in areas related to consumer behavior in a global context. His latest findings challenge many stereotypical differences between how men and women operate in society.

Elahee researches human behavior across different groups. Gender is one of many variables that he examines. While still pursuing his Ph.D., Elahee noticed that a lot of his research findings do not conform to the behavioral characteristics of women that many read about.

“My travel and teaching in other countries made me realize that the traditional gender barriers are disappearing not just in the West but all over the world at a very fast pace, although to varying degrees,” said Elahee. “Greater access to education and accessibility to technology are making women in other countries develop similar attitudes and work-related values like men and they are increasingly becoming more assertive and confident. In fact, I would argue that in the political arena, women in developing countries have made greater strides than women in the West.”

Many of Elahee’s findings support the notion that work-related behavior in men and women is more similar than people have assumed for the past several decades. He found that greater access to education and accessibility to technology has resulted in women in other countries developing similar attitudes and work-related values to men.

Elahee argues that in the political arena, women in developing countries have made greater strides than women in the West. “While looking at other countries, those in the West tend to look at superficial differences across genders such as traditional gender roles within the family, attire, interactions in social gatherings and more,” shared Elahee. He expressed that many people jump to the conclusion that women in other countries are oppressed and the United States is a role model for the world. He believes to just be scratching the surface and if researchers were to go a little deeper, they would discover that lessons are to be learned from elsewhere.

“The world is changing,” said Elahee. “Traditional gender roles are changing faster than we realize. Women are increasingly outnumbering men in college education and consequently in finding white-collar jobs. There is not a single field in the U.S. where women are not joining in an increasing number. Everyone, regardless of one’s gender, will have to work more and more with women in their professional lives. University life is a preparation time for students for real life. Hence, it is important that all members of the Quinnipiac community develop a better understanding and appreciation of the ever-increasing role played by women in the U.S. and in the world.”

Elahee often connects his latest research findings to his class curriculum at Quinnipiac, acknowledging the importance of dispelling myths that may reinforce negative stereotypes about gender roles as well as foreigners, members of minority communities, etc. He often spends time with students outside of class through study abroad opportunities and service learning.

“Sometimes seeing is believing,” said Elahee. “When students see changes around them, they automatically learn. They realize that our differences are vastly exaggerated and it is access to opportunities that make who we are, they develop a more empathetic understanding of others and become more informed global citizens."

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