Back to: Gender, School and Society- Unit 2
Gender is one of the most common ways of organizing the social life of human beings. Parents assume boys and girls to be different ever since infancy. In the 1970s, the feminists viewed can the notion of gender as a ‘construct’. Hence, Gender can be regarded as a socially constructed concept used to differentiate men and women and assign them different roles and responsibilities, and so on.
The differentiation of roles between men and women may lead individuals to feel pressured as they may not be able to do things according to their personal preferences. In many professional fields, there is a huge pay gap between men and women. Even when they may be doing the same work, men get paid more. This can cause frustration among women and for a long time, there has been a demand for equal pay. In their work field, men are the more popular choice when it comes to promotions than women. This leads women to not get paid for their worth and to ensure equality the government must develop facilities that can offer equal treatment to individuals of all genders.
Ideas of Social Construction Related to Gender
The main ideas of social construction related to gender are as follows:
According to social constructs, masculine behavior is commonly characterized by being assertive, action-oriented, and lively, whereas feminine behavior is often characterized by being cooperative, polite, passive, and gentle.
For a long time, men and women have been differentiated by their preferred colors. Girls are generally believed to like pink and boys are generally believed to like blue. This belief is ingrained in them since childhood.
Girls are often encouraged to play with dolls and kitchen sets and boys are encouraged to play with toy guns and cars so that they can prepare for their roles in adulthood.
Gender construct exists in school subjects too where boys are thought to be more capable of studying science subjects related to technology while girls are seen to be more apt for arts.
Even in the modern age, women’s accomplishments are measured not by what they achieve in their careers but by who they marry. Their main accomplishment is seen as marrying a worthy man whereas, for men, their accomplishments are all related to their career.
Construction of Gender in the Curriculum Framework Since Independence
No use of sexist language
Use of any sexist language that may offend either male or female in the classroom and in textbooks is strictly prohibited.
The experiences of women and girls must be included in the curriculum so that more people can be aware of women’s empowerment.
The examples and experiences used in the classroom must be relevant to both genders and not just boys or girls.
Extensive knowledge must be incorporated in textbooks that are produced from the research and findings done by women.
The textbooks, mainly novels, and stories, used in the classroom must not only be works of male authors but female authors as well.
Addressing issues of gender roles in the classroom will make everyone aware of the discriminatory practices against each gender and hence, they will try to prevent the same.
The curriculum focuses on broadening the mindset of students rather than narrowing their views about gender roles.
From toys to activities, levels of boisterousness to language, television programs to reading material, everything is selected carefully and monitored by the individuals according to their gender. The media reinforces these ideas and agenda through its portrayal of women as attractive and glamorous and while men are portrayed as individuals who are successful and powerful.
The Importance of Gender Equality in Education
The importance of gender equality in education is as follows:
- Better opportunities
- Better society
- Lack of Discrimination
- Equality leads to confidence