Gender is a term that refers to the differences found between men and women. This classification is based on the society that assigns roles and meanings to either being a man or a woman. The conception that an individual has on either being female or male is referred to as the gender identity. Gender on many occasions is erroneously misinterpreted to mean sixth roles of each gender have been historically social constructed without any biological reference. (David, 2004) Gender in trial is basically about the gender differences and how they are treated and handled especially the society where we live and at places of work.
Today’s world is thriving on gender stereotyping. Though it is outdated to hold on to the ancient beliefs of the gender roles and stereotyping, this is a very common pattern of behavior today. The society in general and people in organizations in particular have held the gender grip and refused to let go even if the present times demands so. In every society there is a distinct set of behavior and qualities that the society expects from men and women. These societal roles are slowly learned and acquired in the life of an individual and they can easily be affected by external factors like economics or education.
This then implies that though not by far, a change of environment or neighborhood would affect ones perception of the gender roles. (Chafetz, 1997) The women and men that day in day out work in the same law firms, institutions of higher learning, non-governmental organizations , processing industries, and government offices shoulder to shoulder struggle with misconceptions on issues like competence, leadership, parenthood, personal style, and honesty interims of the role of each gender in such issues. Controversy normally occurs especially where the roles are conflicting.
For instance, people in organizations may not be comfortable where the president or CEO of the organization is a woman. The society in this modern time still perceives the woman as a second thought, like her role is behind the man. It is very common to find such organizations in disagreement not because the leader is not competitive but because the leader is a woman. Such controversies will be there in the foreseeable future because people have refused to let go of the traditional gender roles. (David, 2004) Gender bias and stereotypes are common concurrencies.
Individuals, more often than not act not according to their qualities, competencies, and attributes but in accordance with gender expectations. Instead, the society today is supposed to be open minded, to be creative and innovative and embrace new opinions such that the world, the society and organizations where men and women work, live and belong becomes free of prejudice, bias and stereotyping for both women and men. The role and participation of women is highly regarded and considered important in development issues internationally.
This then comes down to the issues of equal participation by both of these genders in the international development agenda. This is commonly referred to as gender – equity. To attain equity, a lot of understanding is required in the society on the different expectations and roles of the genders in the society. This is because different societies have assigned different roles to the genders. Some of the roles assigned to women in one particular society are different to another society’s and the opposite is true. There is no one definition of gender roles in all societies.
In other words, gender roles are not international but rather, they vary from one society to another. In relation to paying attention to matters of gender inequality, being attentive to gender based issues is important for the overall success of the implementation of development programs. For example, most international finance and micro-finance organizations tend to target women in financing development. This is because of the notion and common believe that women are better custodians of money. There is also an over representation of women and especially in the most under developed poorest and remote parts of the worlds population.
Women are said to be reliable in loan repayment and that most of the money spent by a woman goes to benefiting the family. (Judith, 1999) Women in comparison to men are disadvantaged and have been for the past decades. The state of the gender issues leave the women in this world being quite unsure of where they belong. For instance, when women try to set themselves free from the descriptive relations in gender and opt to comfortably settle to being mothers, wives and daughters, they end up becoming socially and economically vulnerable.
This leaves them in a paradox where they are oppressed by the traditional interpretation of gender but they still have to live in that state because it gives them security. What therefore appears to be inequality and not socially normal in the eyes of other people is a source of refuge and security for the native woman. In most societies it socially accepted that while the woman stays at home and tends for the family, the man is the bread winner and is expected to meet the family financial requirements solely.
He is also the ultimate head of the family. In this regard, his take on decisions is final and unquestionable. This same notion is carried to the places of work where we find men being looked at as being superior to women thus should take up the leadership positions and the most technical tasks while women on the other hand work as subordinates to men and carry out the simpler tasks which do not require much technicality. (David, 2001) There have been notable and immense cases of gender inequality in the world over.
This inequality seems to be rooted deeply in the traditional values that people hold, culture and is even reflected in the assignment of gender roles. This inequality may be as a result of the society’s value system in regard to gender roles and also the traditional way of considering women as home makers, care takers and care givers. This perception needs to be addressed so that it reflects the reality of today’s living where women work as hard as men. The men are no longer assigned the traditional role of breadwinners. As a matter of fact, there are more women in the workforce than men.
To work towards gender equity especially at work places, it is very important to have awareness initiatives that will consequently change the way the society values the gender inequality factor. (Chafetz, 1997) Gender inequality is manifested in the home, the wider society, and the places of work. They are even more reinforced by the laws, local customs, culture, and value system. Inequality leads to the unequal accessibility of opportunities in this life that make it possible for individuals to pursue the kind of life they want to choose as well as avoid being extremely deprived off in outcomes.
This precisely means that when there is gender equity, there is the equality of rights for both genders, equal access of resources and an equal voice across the board. Gender equality does not mean that one gender be granted special favors or supremacy but rather that both genders enjoy equality in the right to make personal decisions that have a shared ownership in the resulting outcome. (Judith, 1999) Gender inequality may not be faced out in the foreseeable future but eventually, it will be buried down in history. The traditional trend of having women stay at home is losing meaning.
In both the developed and developing nations, the literacy levels for women have gone up. Illiteracy which is a contributing factor to inequality is being faced out as more women get an education. The enrolment of women in institutions of higher learning and tercially institutions. This implies that the number of women and men who are enrolling for formal education is getting even. Cases of school drop outs and early marriages are still prevalent but at a diminishing rate. (David, 2001) Today there are both women and men who are equally enrolling for the science and technical courses.
The trend is changing from the past where women did the home economics courses and men took up the science courses. This will later be reflected at the places of work where the senior positions, technical jobs and even the high and well paying jobs will be shared equally among both genders. Both women and men will be evenly represented in the senior decision making organs of the corporate world and also in the top management of organizations. Conclusion Gender equality and inequality requires patience, support and understanding.
Both genders need not compete but rather empower each other for the good of national and global development. References Chafetz, JS. (1997): Masculine/Feminine or Human? An Overview of the Sociology of Gender Roles. Peacock publishers. David H, (2004): The Inexorable Rise of Gender and the Decline of Sex, PubMed and Questia. David M, (2001): Human nature and culture: An evolutionary psychological perspective, St. Martin’s Press, New York. Judith B. , (1999): Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Cambridge University Press, New York