Gender stereotypes
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This article is written by Sidra Khan, a student of Amity University, Noida. The article discusses Gender inequality done at home & public, what are the reasons behind it and what steps have been taken by the countries to curb the menace.

Introduction

Gender (or sex) inequality is the common act of civil rights that takes on multiple forms including sexual embarrassment, unequal pay for women and inequality even in pregnancy. While the Indian Constitution grants men and women equality and offers fair protection in order to boost women’s status in society, most women are still unable to benefit from these rights and opportunities that are provided to them.

While the Indian Constitution grants men and women the same privileges and benefits and parallel recruitment for enhancing the role of women in the social community, given the fact that the rights and opportunities provided to women by the constitution remain far from achieving this advantage for the full number of women. The anti-female mentality and injustice of society force women to put down their chances of thriving into the conventional value structure, just as an undue household duty. In India, there are few other factors in the present period, including lowest rates, joblessness and deprivation among women because of the difference in society between men and women.

Defining gender inequality

The idea that men and women are not equal is gender inequality, and that gender influences a person’s living experiences. Such variations are the product of biological, psychological and cultural differences. Many of these types are empirically driven, whereas others seem to be socially constructed. Studies have demonstrated a range of lived gender experience across several fields, including education, life expectancy, personality, interests, family life. Gender inequality across different cultures is experienced differently.

Gender inequality around the world

For many countries around the world, gender inequality is a prevalent trend. This is evident with a rather narrow look at the well-being measures such as employment, child mortality, life expectancy, primary, secondary or university graduation levels, which are segregated according to gender. According to the World Bank (2001) report on the worldwide prevalence of gender disparity in different forms: women have not been treated equally- constitutionally, socially and economically- in many underdeveloped countries for over a decade. Gender inequality and poverty disparities in these countries have increased, as women have little access to and control of wealth, little economic opportunity, and no impact on political power. In addition, the costs of inequalities are borne not only by women but they are generally socially spread and harmful to everybody. For many underdeveloped countries, therefore, gender inequality is one of the most important development topics.

Gender inequality in the context of India

Male and female are both equal and play a key role in creating and developing their families in their respective areas and in society in general. Nonetheless, the fight for equality became one of the movement ‘s core concerns worldwide. There is no differentiation of rank in the disparity between sex and physical form. A woman is the man’s counterpart, not the lower. In India, women have long been considered to be an oppressed section of society and for centuries they have been neglected. The son’s birth is celebrated as the daughter’s child is full of suffering. Kids are taught to be diligent and thorough. But girls’ being homebound and shy is welcomed. Both of these differences are sexual and social differences. This has a negative impact on sustainability goals and thus limits economic growth. It obstructs the overall well-being because it can adversely affect society as a whole to prevent women from participating in social, political and economic activities.

Consequently, gender inequality is a form of inequality that differs from other forms of socio-economic inequality. Gender inequality is a key reality in India. Women are particularly successful in various spheres of activity in modern times. Many Indian women also face sexism and gender inequality.

Addressing gender inequality at home & public

At home

The issue is that the cultural and belief structure in India plays an important role in gender disparity. You begin to consider the equal of men and women, and many of India’s centuries-long cultural pride must be reflected and reconfigured. Any suggestions of change or addressing discrimination are seen as a strike at the heart of their political, societal or ethnic culture for many Indian families practicing sex discrimination. 

In a more thorough analysis, gender inequality is largely linked to two questions: 

  • The transfer of surname, lineage and 
  • Social security. 

While the first question (where the son is called, but your daughter doesn’t) is of interest to many Indians, there is a second question, of more practical significance. Despite their old age, most Indians don’t prepare well. A son is regarded as economic protection as an aged, despite the social expectation of a child getting married and moving to another home. The daughter-in-law is connected to the health of food. In a country with a growing population and limited land, life with the son and his family thus ensures sharing of resources. As you get older, it ensures cultural, physical, nutritional and emotional security.

Birth

This is a more dire scenario now than it was in past decades. Families would continue to produce children until the birth of their sons. A girl was and is born, but foeticide was not as rampant. It is not so rampant. Families with many kids and a combination of boys and girls were often seen. The younger children would be boys (girls born while waiting for the son), while the oldest children were girls. 

The importance of only two children (shown in advertisements as a boy and a girl) was widely expressed during the 1980s and 1990s family planning and population control campaign. Many Indian families have realized that they can provide fewer children with resources and ideally have only two children. But if a girl is the first child, and a boy is the second, it isn’t a question. It’s okay if both the kids are boys too. What if the second child is also a girl is the greatest fear.

This is why many families (and often financially good families) use female (illegal, but rampant) fetish. If that is not the case, the woman has to bring the third child into being, in the expectation that the third child will be a son. When all else fails and some families opt for a male child as their last resort. Only when the married woman becomes a mother does she become valued and (relatively more) empowered. This dominance, though, only takes place when a son’s mother (but not when a daughter’s mother). Through taking the son worldwide, it has assured politically, socially more influential than the family of the bride the cultural, lineage and food security as well as the power equations of the family for a long time.

Marriage and Property

The children who have to leave and travel with their parents is an integral part of Indian cultural culture and a significant source of inequality. In an effort to improve this situation, the structure of Indian society itself will need to be modified. This is also why girls are considered to be an investment (as opposed to sons) which doesn’t make money and leads to questions like foeticides, education or less education.

A variety of issues such as dowry, subjugation and the lack of job rights emerge from the difficulties of living with the family of the married woman. Personality and equations of power also have a role to play. When married, after marriage a woman is required to obey a certain dress code while a man may continue dressing as he wishes. If the woman has to lose her husband, she is forced to abandon her coding and a new, more demanding dress code and lifestyle which she is used to at the present.

In the form of wedding costs, a child receives less than 5% of the property of his parents. In fact, much is spent on pomp and display. The only protection a daughter has is always the gold ornaments of her parents and in-laws. In wedding costs, the majority of the money on behalf of the daughter has frozen away. The son(s) subsequently inherited a large part of the property of his kin. While Indian laws provide for daughters’ property rights, it often does not apply.

So if a girl is confronted by abuse in the house of her in-laws, she often has no place. It, together with Avec Les traditions, means that she has no financial protection whatsoever ‘leaving her husband’s house only after her death.’

Education and growing up

The son(s) are often educated more or better than the daughter(s). This includes children being sent to better schools, private schools and girls being sent to public schools. When girls had no male siblings to give up resources and only girl siblings, they had better chances of quality education. In recent years, this pattern has reversed, with both males and girls going to the right schools (which is also related, of course, to economic growth and the prospect of providing better schools for all kids).

The household work should be higher for the daughters than for the sons.

When daughters are educated in a university, study and work in the same town are oppressed, while children have more choices to travel to another town for education. It’s shifting slowly too.

Attempts in equalising household works

Despite the growth of women in employment since the mid-1900s, American society still plays a major part in traditional gender roles. Many women will pursue their educational and career goals to raise a family, while their husbands are the first to win. Some women, however, decide to work and play a perceived gender role in cleaning the house and taking care of children. While there is evidence that women tend to be the primary caregiver in family life even though they work in full-time jobs, some families may spread their work out more equally. 

These indicators reveal that, as opposed to men who work 12 minutes daily in childcare activities, women working outside the home often have 18 additional hours a week in a household or childcare environment. One Van Hooff study found that modern couples don’t divide items like household activities along gender lines deliberately but can rationalize and justify them. One reason is that women have more expertise and energy in the household and others argue that men ‘s work is more challenging.

Public

Employment

The lack of access for women to basic social opportunities is an enormous challenge for women to absorb a highly fragmented structured market which is forcing most women to take up work in the informal and unorganized sector. Moreover, the rate of unemployment among young women (12-24 years of age) has also increased substantially over the last ten years.

The steady fall in the total participation rate of women in the workforce reflects a macro-employment policy failure. It should be noted here that most women in the self-employed or unpaid categories of household jobs are insufficiently calculated by labour productivity metrics. This raises key questions regarding a gender-based understanding of what we call “work,” which only includes monetized aspects of work as employment in traditional economic measures.

Healthcare

In observing patterns on health indicators such as mortality rates, pregnancy levels for teenagers, female lifespan and so on, India is still deteriorating in the overall situation of women. Low-funded healthcare systems and a limited system of social insurance make it extremely difficult for higher spending, particularly women, to be financed out of the pocket.

Access to basic financial services

Another important finding from the World Bank is the low female-male ratio in accessing basic financial services on gender access to Indian finances and mobile accounts.

Representation of women in public sector

India is also lagging behind in terms of the percentage of women listed on Board by SEBI, with at least one woman on Board. Many Indian companies have not yet appointed a single woman board director. Even some of the top companies have women managers who only fulfil their mandate. The role of female directors and the effects of their membership of the board in formulating the Corporate Strategies is unclear, with only a few exceptions. Following SEBI ‘s 2013 mandate in relation to women’s board leadership, there was an Increasing representation of women on board. In Public Sector Board women are just 8% compared to 92% of Public Sector Board members.

Unequal pay

Women receive 49 cents relative to every $1 men benefit, according to the Women’s Policy Research Institute. Unlike other studies, the new data illustrates the demand for and raising of children or other family responsibilities by part-time workers and women who have taken time off from work. For a minimum of one year, more than half of women quit jobs, twice the rate of men. Experts say new measures are required to help mitigate this imbalance, including more paid maternity leave, child care assistance, and other pro-family measures.

Women are promoted less often than men

Although more educated than men and almost half of the working population, women are promoted much less often at work than men. It is recognised because women constitute less than 5% of CEOs and less than 10% of women in the 500 S&P. Women of colour, as both the S&P 500 and the Fortune 500 boards are almost invisible, are even worse off.

The lack of female role models in the workforce is an explanation of why more women don’t aspire to higher executive positions. Catalyst.org says women can not believe like it is literally unattainable to move to a leadership position without a clear role model.

Causes of gender inequality

The world has been closer to achieving equality for men and women over the years. In many parts of the world, women are better represented in politics, economic opportunities and healthcare. The World Economic Forum predicts, however, that it will be another century before true gender equality is achieved. What causes the gender gap? Ten sources of disparity between women are as follows:

Unpalatable access to education

Girls all over the world often have less exposure than men to education. One-quarter of young women aged 15 to 24 do not complete their primary education. 58% of the population who do not complete this basic education is in this group. Women are 2⁄3 of all the alphabets of the world. If girls are not educated at equal levels with boys, their future and what kind of opportunities they get will be greatly affected.

Lack of equality in employment

Women have the same legal labour rights as men only in 6 countries around the world. Currently, women only have 3/4 rights for men in most economies. Studies show that, if jobs have become fairer, they have a positive domino effect on other areas that are prone to gender inequality.

Segregation of jobs

The separation of jobs is one of the causes of gender disparity in employment. There is an underlying assumption in most cultures that people are inherently more able to handle such work. They are the positions that pay the most frequently. Such imbalance leads to lower women’s wages. Women are still largely responsible for unpaid jobs, and they also have extra work that is never financially acknowledged even though they are working.

Lack of legal safeguards

According to World Bank research, over a billion women have no legal protection from domestic sexual or domestic violence. Both have a substantial impact on women’s freedom and ability to thrive. The legal safeguards against harassment in the workplace, at the school and public, are missing in many countries as well. Such areas are dangerous, and women frequently have to determine which compromised and restricted their goals without protection.

Failure to have body independence

Most women around the world have no control over or are parents of their own bodies. This is still really difficult to obtain birth control. Over 200 million women who don’t want to get pregnant do not use condoms, according to the World Health Organisation. There are various explanations, such as lack of choice, restricted access and resistance to culture and religion. Approximately 40% of pregnancies are not planned worldwide, and while 50% result in abortion, 38% lead to birth. These mothers also rely financially on someone else or the state, losing their independence.

Low medical attention

Generally, women receive lower-quality health care than men, aside from restricted access to contraceptives. This is related to other causes of gender discrimination, such as lack of education and job opportunities, leading to an increasing number of disadvantaged women. They are less likely to have adequate healthcare. There is also little research into illnesses, including autoimmune disorders and chronic pain problems affecting women rather than men. Many women are also discriminated against and dismissed by their doctors, widening the gender gap in health.

Lack of freedom of religion

Women suffer the most when freedom of faith is threatened. When extremist ideologies (e.g. ISIS) join the community and restrict religious freedoms, sexual inequality is worsening, according to the World Economic Forum. Researchers have linked religious bigotry with women’s willingness to take part in the economy in a study conducted by Georgetown University and Brigham Young University. If there is more religious freedom, the participation of women would make an economy more stable.

Lack of political representation

Just 24.3 per cent of all national parliaments are filled by women in early 2019. Eleven Heads of State were women from June 2019. Given the progress in this field over the years, the government and the political process are still underrepresented for women. This means that some of the problems that women legislators want to tackle such as child care and parental leave, education, equity and gender inequality are still overlooked.

Racialism

By talking about sexism it would be difficult to speak about gender discrimination. That has an effect on what jobs colour people can get and how much they are paid, and how the legal and health systems view their work. Gender inequality and racism have long been closely linked. The European settlers in Virginia determined whether to tax based on the woman performing the mission, Sally Kitch said, a professor and journalist. Women’s work in Africa was “business,” so it was taxable and women’s work was “domestic” and not taxable. The wage differences between white and coloured women continue to be a legacy of discrimination and contribute to gender inequality.

Societal thinking

It is less tangible than some of the other causes, but the overall view of a society has an important impact on inequality between the sexes. Across any area, whether it is work or the legal system or health care, how society determines the distinctions and beliefs between men and women plays the primary role. Gender beliefs are profound. Although laws and structural changes can make progress, there is often a pushback after major changes. Certain aspects of gender discrimination, such as fair representation for women in leadership, are common to all (men and women). Such thinking promotes inequality between men and women and slows significant change.

Elimination of gender inequality by Indian Government

Across most societies worldwide, gender inequality is seen to varying degrees and India is no exception. It is now recognized globally that there will be no absolute development unless and until all kinds of inequalities including gender inequality are removed. The Indian government has taken many steps to reduce discrimination between sexes and improve women’s status. These steps are usually known as (a) Constitutional provisions and (b) Legal provisions.

Constitutional provisions

Gender equality is enshrined in the Preamble, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution. India’s constitution has provided many arrangements to protect women’s rights. The following are a few significant provisions for women:

Article 14: ensures equality between men and women through equal rights and opportunities in the political, economic and social spheres.

Article 15: forbids discrimination on grounds of sex, ethnicity, colour, caste, etc. against any person.

Article 16 is concerned with equal opportunities.

Article 39: includes the governance principles to be implemented by the State in order to ensure economic justice.

Article 42: allows the State to make provision for equal and humane working and maternity relief conditions.

Article 51: imposes on every person a constitutional obligation to renounce activities derogating from the dignity of women.

Article 325: guarantees women’s political equality.

Legal provisions

India’s government has enacted laws and legislations specific to women and related to women:

Other economic laws include:

Several social legislation contains:

Some laws ensuring rights for women are as follows:

There is no question that these constitutional and legal protections have proved to be of benefit to half of the Indian population. There is evidence everywhere; in parliament, courts, and highways, the voice of women is gradually heard. Women had to struggle in the West for more than a century to achieve some basic rights, such as voting, but from the beginning, the Constitution of India has granted women equal rights to men. Unfortunately, most of the women in this country do not recognize their rights due to analphabetism and patriarchal practices. Such statutory and legal protections can not be used properly.

Suggestion

Only by treating both children as similarly bad investments for old age can that end up being the only way to cope with it in the long-term is to move them to their separate homes after marriage. That’s how the problem has been addressed by Singapore, the United States and a lot of others with greater gender equality. It is the biggest disparity between Indian and Western culture that you (or lack of) expect to live as you get older with your daughters, grandchildren and also the main reason why they are on two opposite sides of gender equality. If parents knew that, as their son(s) or daughters grew older, they would not stay with either their son(s), plan ahead or at least be better prepared. Most Indian parents are actually shuddering at a scenario like this. The only way that parents avoid deception at age, is when a bird cares for its young people and allows them to fly once they develop their wings. It would be complicated, but that’s the only realistic long-term option.

Conclusion

In order to reduce gender inequality, India needs to take practical steps. As the ongoing sexual inequalities continue, the concepts and strategies to promote the dignity and rights of women must be rethought. New types of institutions are needed, incorporating new rules and regulations that promote equal and fair relations between women and men. Male and female are like a carriage of two wheels. One existence is incomplete without another. The only foolish way to stop the inequalities between men and women is to change people’s mindsets. This question can not be overcome by a small amount, but everyone must join together to end this injustice.  The challenge of achieving parity between men and women is extremely complex and can not be solved only by governments. The private sector will play its full role in maximizing women’s job opportunities. In many countries, communities must change attitudes that prevent women. Yet it is certainly important for governments to create a regulatory structure that enables them to invest in equal opportunity and to develop partnerships that will speed up development.

References

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