Gender refers to the socially and culturally constructed roles, responsibilities, relations, privileges, and expectations of women, men, boys, and girls. Gender is not synonymous with sexual difference. Individuals are either born female or male or transgender. However, they are forced to act a certain way and learn to be girls and boys who develop into women and men. They are taught to behave appropriately and develop attitudes according to defined gender roles and activities of society. This learned behavior is what constitutes gender identity, and determines gender roles.
According to Bhasin Kamala,
“Gender refers to the learned roles, norms, and expectations based on one’s sex. It is a socio-cultural definition of a boy and a girl, of a man and a woman. Not only their responsibilities are set by the society but also norms/values, dress codes, attitudes, opportunities, rights, mobility, freedom of expression, priorities, and even dreams are determined by the society.”
It varies from society to society and is subject to change.
Key Concepts of Gender Issues
It refers to the varying tasks and responsibilities and expectations that are defined and allocated to men, women, boys, and girls by society. These are not determined by biological differences and hence, can change with time and situations.
Gender Role Perception
Gender is regarded to be a dynamic concept. Gender roles for women and men differ from one culture and social group to another. Several factors such as race, class, economic circumstances, age, and more influence the appropriate role for women and men.
It refers to the distribution of roles, tasks, and responsibilities to a particular gender based on preconceived prejudices. For instance, there is a common assumption that masons are usually men and nurses are generally women.
Importance of Gender Issues
It is necessary to emphasize gender issues because of the following reasons:
Eradication of Gender Inequality
Awareness of gender issues helps in eradicating the inequality prevalent in various areas based on gender.
Removal of Discrimination
The importance of gender issues can prevent discrimination toward women.
Removal of Pay Gap
In various professional fields, there’s a gender pay gap for the same work, and awareness about gender issues can remove this practice.
The importance of gender issues ensures that all genders have equal access to opportunities.
Improves Societal Practices
The importance of gender issues can remove the ancient belief that women are “angels of the house” and society can also be more accepting of transgender individuals.
These are the various reasons why emphasizing gender issues is highly imperative to create a better society.