Friday, 18 September 2020

A profound insight into gender inequality

Updated: January 10, 2019 2:49 pm

Gender is a primary marker of social and economic stratification and, as a result, of exclusion. Regardless of one’s socio-economic class, there are systematic gender differences in material well being, although the degree of inequality is a characteristic of most societies, with males on average better positioned in social, economic and political hierarchies. For more than two decades, the goal of reducing gender inequality has held a prominent place in international organisation and in national strategy statements.

Against this backdrop, the book emphasises gender is the cultural definition of behaviour defined as  appropriate to the sexes in a given  society at a given time. “Gender is a set of cultural roles. It is a costume, a mask, a straitjacket in which men and women dance their unequal dance.” Unfortunately, the term ‘gender’ is used both in academic discourse and in the media as interchangeable with sex. For laymen, sex and gender are synonymous, in fact, its widespread use is probably due to it sounding a bit more ‘refined’ than the plain world ‘sex’ with its ‘nasty’ connotations , such use is unfortunate, because it hides and mystifies the difference between the biologically given sex and culturally created gender.

Gender Inequality: A Multidimensional Study

By: Swapan Kumar Kolay

and Sushila D. Mahant

published by: gyan publishing

Price: `1180

pages: 333

 The authors argue that sexual equality may have proved an evolutionary advantage for early human societies, as it would have fostered wider-ranging social networks and closer cooperation between unrelated individuals. “It gives far more expansive social network with a wider  choice  of mates, so inbreeding would be less of an issue, and persons come into contact with more people and they can share innovations, which is  something  that  humans do par excellence.”

The book underlines that first and foremost, gender equality is a matter of human rights. It is also a driver of development progress. Unless women and girls are able to fully realise their rights in all spheres of life, human development will not be advanced. It is well placed to ensure that gender equality and empowerment of women are integrated into every aspect of its work to support countries to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion with the help of different action plans. Institutional mechanisms to promote the advancement of women, which exist at the central and state levels, will be strengthened. These will be through interventions as may be appropriate and will relate to, among others, provision of adequate resources, training and advocacy skills to effectively influence macro-policies, legislation, programmes, etc., to achieve the empowerment women.

The findings of the book appear  to be supported by qualitative observations from the tribal  groups in the study. In the tribal population, women are involved in household work with outside professional work by traditional and trend modern occupation while  there is still a division of labour. Overall, sociologically, the status of tribal women is better than urban and rural women of India.

By Ashok Kumar

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