Gender School And Society

Gender School And Society

Gender is a social construct that impacts attitudes, roles, responsibilities and behaviour patterns of boys and girls, men and women in all societies. Increasing attention has been given to the importance of achieving gender equality in education.


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What do you mean by Gender?

Gender refers to the roles and responsibilities of men and women that are created in our families, our societies and our cultures.

The concept of gender also includes the expectations held about the characteristics, aptitudes and likely behaviours of both women and men (femininity and masculinity).

Gender has been defined as: "The commonly shared expectations and norms within a society about appropriate male and female behaviour, characteristics and roles. Gender can be considered a social and cultural construct that differentiates females from males and thus defines the ways in which females and males interact with each other. These roles and expectations are learned and they can change over time as well as vary within and between cultures."

Difference between Gender and Sex

Sex

  • The word ‘sex’ comes from the Latin word ‘Sexus’, which is determined by a person’s reproductive organs.
  • It is a biological term; people are termed either male or female depending on their sex organs, i.e., reproductive organs and genes.
  • “There are two sexes, male and female.
One’s sex is determined by an algebraic sum of all these qualities and as is obvious, most people fall under one of two separate bell curves, the one of which is called ‘male’ and other ‘female’.” – Robert Stoller

Gender

  • The word ‘gender’ comes from the Latin word ‘genus’, which means kind or race.
  • Gender is a psychological and cultural term referring to one’s subjective feelings of maleness and femaleness.
  • Gender may also refer to society’s evaluation of behaviour as masculine or feminine.

The social and cultural definitions of men and women are called gender. For example, it is a society that makes rules that a girl will stay in the house, while a boy can go out.


Gender Dynamics

  • Gender dynamics include the relationships and interactions between and among boys, girls, women, and men.
  • Gender dynamics is nothing but the way in which men and women are treated or behave differently in society, either with their own gender or with each other.

Gender Roles

A gender role, also known as a sex role, is a social role encompassing a range of behaviours and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex.

The World Health Organization describes gender roles as “Socially constructed roles, behaviours and activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women”.

Our culture recognizes two basic gender roles:

  1. Masculine (having the qualities attributed to males)
  2. Feminine (having the qualities attributed to females)

Factors Determining Gender Roles/Stereotypes

  • Personality Traits
  • Domestic Behaviours
  • Occupations
  • Physical Appearance

GENDER BIAS

Gender bias is a preference or prejudice toward one gender over the other.


GENDER EQUALITY

Gender equality, also known as sex equality, gender egalitarianism, sexual equality, or equality of the genders, is the view that everyone should receive equal treatment and not be discriminated against based on their gender.

Gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision making, and when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured.


HISTORY AND CURRENT SCENARIO OF INDIAN WOMEN

“If you educate a man you educate an individual, however, if you educate a woman you educate a whole family. Women empowered means mother India empowered. --- Jawaharlal Nehru

Over the ages in India women have been treated as the sole property of her father, brother or husband, not been given any choice or freedom of her own.


Problems faced by women in Medieval India

  • Sati
  • Jauhar
  • Child Marriage
  • Restriction on Widow Remarriage
  • Purdah System
  • Devadasis

Current / Modern Indian Women

As compared with past women in modern times have achieved a lot but in reality, they have to still travel a long way.

There are many problems which women in India have to go through daily, some of which are:

  • Malnutrition
  • Poor Health
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Lack of Education
  • Mistreatment
  • Overworked
  • Lack of power
  • Marriage
  • Dowry
  • Female infanticide/foeticide
  • Divorce

Issues Related to Indian Women or Girl Child

  • Selective abortion and female infanticide
  • Sexual harassment
  • Dowry and Bride burning
  • Disparity in education
  • Domestic violence
  • No property Rights
  • Child Marriages
  • Inadequate Nutrition
  • No Military Service
  • Status of widows
  • Honour Killing
  • Child Marriage
  • Property Rights
  • Divorce

Gender Socialisation

We will observe that students reflect the beliefs and practices of their families, community, neighbourhood, and society at large. This process of acquiring gender-related behaviours and attitudes through the intervention of society is called gender socialization.

Cynthia Vinney (2019) defines it as “Gender Socialization is the process by which we learn our culture’s gender-related rules, norms and expectations”.

Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination is discrimination based on the gender of the person. Usually, women are treated differently and unequal than men in their education, career, economic advancement, and political influence.

We can define gender discrimination as, ‘‘any action that specifically denies opportunities, privileges, or rewards to a person (or a group) because of gender”.

Areas of Gender Discrimination

  • Denial of Birth
  • Denial of Fundamental Needs
  • Discrimination in Education
  • Discrimination in Employment
  • Wage Discrimination

Causes of Gender Discrimination

  • Poverty
  • Illiteracy
  • Lack of Employment Facilities
  • Customs and Traditions
  • Social Attitude
  • Lack of Awareness Regarding Rights among Women

Gender Identity

Gender identity is the personal sense of one’s own gender. Gender identity can correlate with assigned sex at birth or can differ from it.

All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a person’s social identity in relation to other members of society.

Children express their gender identity in the following ways:

  • Choice of toys and games
  • Clothing
  • Hairstyle
  • Preferred name or nickname
  • Social behaviour
  • Manner and style of behaviour
  • Physical gestures
  • Social relationships

Factors Influencing Formation of Gender Identity

  • Biological Factors
  • Social Factors
  • Environmental Factors

Types of Gender Identity

There are more than two genders, even though in our society the genders that are most recognised are male and female.


Types of Families in India

We can classify families into the following categories:

  • Basis of Size or Structure
    • Nuclear family
    • Extended family
  • Basis of Marriage
    • Monogamous family
    • Polygynous family
    • Polyandrous family
  • Basis of Succession
    • Patriarchal
    • Matriarchal

Nuclear family: It is a unit generally composed of a married couple (in the status of husband and wife) in the role of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ or ‘parent’ and their unmarried dependent children, either natural or adopted, living together.

Extended family: When the nucleus of the conjugal family is extended with the addition of other closely related kin (grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, brothers and their wives, cousins, sisters, etc.), it is called an extended family.

Monogamous family: This type of family consists of one husband and one wife.

Polygynous family: When a man has more than one wife and lives along with their children, the family is known as a polygynous family.

Polyandrous family: It is a kind of family, which allows a woman to marry more than one man. The woman lives with her husbands and is shared by them or she lives with each of them by turns.


Patriarchy:

Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and control of the property.

In the domain of the family, fathers hold authority over the women and children.

A patriarchal system is a social system in which the father is the head of the household.

This, however, is not confined to the household alone. It can be extended to the entire society where males dominate in all social, political, economic, legal and cultural roles. For instance, in most patriarchal society’s women were very much confined to the domestic sphere, where they were completely cut off from the realities of society.


Matriarchy:

  • Matriarchy is a social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of the property at the specific exclusion of men, at least to a large degree.
  • A matriarchal system is a social system in which the mother is the head of the household.
  • In a matriarchal society, the governance of the society is also in the hands of women.

In Indian families, gender roles are well-differentiated, which influence the socialisation process from birth onwards. From early in life, children begin to experience gender-based differentiation in their relationship with others, in the distribution of family resources, and entitlement to family members like nutrition, healthcare, and education. Both boys and girls, grow up with the knowledge of the special value attached to the male child.


Gender Concerns Related to Access, Enrolment, Retention, Participation, and Achievement

Gender Concerns Related to Access and Enrolment

It is a widely observed fact, especially in a rural area many girls are deprived of the opportunity to attend school for various reasons. As a result, the percentage of female literacy is always lower compared with boys.

It is necessary to analyse the underlying causes so that intervention can be done in bringing the girls back to school.

  1. Poverty
  2. Family responsibility
  3. Safety
  4. Insecurity
  5. Hidden costs of education

Gender Concerns Related to Retention

Due to the persistent interest shown by the government and the educational department, girls are admitted to the school. But one observes that many girls, owing to various reasons, a dropout from schools at different points of time. There are again several causes for their dropout, which pose a challenge to schools in bringing them back.

Some of the reasons are:

  • Safety
  • Sanitation Facilities
  • Discriminatory norms
  • School-related gender-based violence
  • School infrastructure
  • Teacher availability and attitude
  • Migration
  • Poor teaching-learning environment
  • Domestic responsibilities
  • Child marriage

Gender Concerns Related to Participation

  • The difference in their willingness to ask questions
  • The restlessness of boys attracts more attention than that of girls
  • Boys are more vocal
  • Girl’s opinion ignored
  • Biased teacher interaction
  • Public versus private talk
  • Distribution of praise and criticism

Role of Schools in Reinforcing Gender Equality

  • Undertaking gender sensitisation of parents, community leaders and members, teachers, and girls and boys in order to raise their awareness and understanding of the need to support girls’ education.
  • Training teachers in the skills for making the teaching and learning processes are responsive to the specific needs of girls and boys.
  • Empowering girls with skills for self-confidence, assertiveness, speaking out, decision making, and negotiation to help them overcome gender-based constraints to their education.
  • Empowering boys with skills to de-link from gender oppressive attitudes and practices such as machoism, bullying, and sexual affronts, and to develop the self- confidence needed to accept gender equality positively.
  • Training the school community to manage sexual maturation issues of both girls and boys with particular emphasis on menstruation management.
  • Training teachers and students in guidance and counselling skills.
  • Establishing guidance and counselling desks in order to provide services for the social and psychological development of girls and the boys.

Gender Jurisprudence

Laws Related to Women

Different laws in India protect women against discrimination and violence.

  • Laws Related to Rape - Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Laws Related to Dowry - Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, as amended by the Dowry (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 1984 and 1986
  • Laws Related to Remarriage - The Hindu Widow Re-marriage Act of 1856
  • Laws Related to Property Inheritance - The Indian Succession Act, 1925

Constitutional and Legal Aspects

The rights available to a woman (ladies) in India can be classified into two categories as

  1. Constitutional Rights
  2. Legal Rights

Constitutional rights are those which are provided in the various provisions of the Constitution.

Legal rights, on the other hand, are those which are provided in the various laws (Acts) of the Parliament and the State Legislatures.


Constitutional Privileges

  • Article 14 - Equality before law for women
  • Article 15 (i) - The State will not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them
  • Article 15 (3) - The State will make any special provision in favour of women and children
  • Article 16 - Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State
  • The State will direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood [Article 39(a)]; and equal pay for equal work for both men and women [Article 39(d)].
  • Article 39 A - To promote justice, on the basis of equal opportunity and to provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or a scheme or in any other way to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities
  • Article 42 - The State will make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief
  • Article 46 - The State will promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation
  • Article 47 - The State will raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people
  • Article 51(A) (e) - To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women
  • Article 243 D (3) - Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by the direct election in every Panchayat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat
  • Article 243 D (4) - Not less then one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level to be reserved for women
  • Article 243 T (3) - Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by the direct election in every Municipality to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality

Legal Provisions

Crimes Identified Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • Rape (Sec. 376 IPC)
  • Kidnapping & Abduction for different purposes (Sec. 363-373)
  • Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts (Sec. 302/304-B IPC)
  • Torture, both mental and physical (Sec. 498-A IPC)
  • Molestation (Sec. 354 IPC)
  • Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC)
  • Importation of girls (up to 21 years of age).
  • Crimes identified Under Special Laws (SLL)

Although all laws are not gendered specific, the provisions of law affecting women significantly have been reviewed periodically and amendments carried out to keep pace with the emerging requirements. Some Acts, which have special provisions to safeguard women and their interests, are

  1. The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
  2. The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
  3. The Family Courts Act, 1954
  4. The Special Marriage Act, 1954
  5. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  6. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 with an amendment in 2005
  7. Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  8. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amended in 1995)
  9. Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  10. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  11. The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1976
  12. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
  13. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  14. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983
  15. The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1986
  16. Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  17. Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987
  18. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  19. Human Rights and Women’s Right

The following are the essential legal rights every Indian woman should know:

  • Right to equal pay
  • Right against harassment at work
  • Right to anonymity
  • Right against domestic violence
  • Right to maternity-related benefits
  • Right against female foeticide
  • Right to free legal aid
  • Right to dignity and decency
  • Right to property
  • Right not to be arrested at night

TEACHING STRATEGIES TO TEACH GENDER ISSUES

  • Film
  • Advertisement
  • Biographies
  • Autobiography
  • Roleplaying
  • Lecture Strategy
  • Narration Strategy
  • Group Discussion
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Strategy

INSTRUCTIONAL AIDS FOR TEACHING GENDER ISSUES

  1. Films
  2. Advertisements
  3. Biographies
  4. Autobiographies
  5. Roleplays
  6. Videos
  7. Books
  8. Textbooks
  9. Print media
  10. Information Boards
  11. Pictures and Photographs
  12. Charts
  13. Cartoons
  14. Posters
  15. FlashCards
  16. Filmstrips and Transparencies

CLASSROOM TRANSACTION IN RELATION TO GENDER ISSUES

Classroom transaction and interaction form an important part of education. Every student and teacher come face to face in a classroom set-up.

The students get influenced by the teacher in more than one way inside the classroom. Hence it is very important for a teacher to choose her words and actions which have a positive effect on his/her students.

Gender Issues in Classroom Transaction

  • Stereotyping
  • Gender Bias in Classroom Language
  • Gender bias through Body Language
  • Gender unfriendly seating arrangement
  • The stereotype in the transaction of subjects
  • Gender Stereotypes in addressing students

How to Make Gender Friendly Classroom Transaction

  • Establish Gender Friendly Rules
  • Have a classroom seating plan that supports equal participation
  • Using Group Work
  • Addressing Students Equally
  • Provide enough wait time to answer questions
  • Use Gender-Neutral Language
  • Body Language
  • Discipline

WAYS AND STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS TO BE AGENTS OF CHANGE IN RELATION TO GENDER ISSUES

  • Ensure that you have a positive attitude towards gender-free society
  • Check your awareness of gender issues
  • Understand that gender is a social construct
  • Transform Curriculum
  • Focus on textbooks
  • Focus on the use of language
  • Avoid General misleading vocabulary
  • Plan Co-curricular Activities
  • Select gender-free instructional materials
  • Develop a gender-neutral attitude
  • Use neutral language
  • Use materials promoting gender equality
  • Impart sex education at the proper time
  • Present yourself as a real role model
  • Plan gender-free Career Counselling
  • Be careful not to reverse stereotypes
  • Avoid stereotyping children
  • Self-regulate your own interaction with the children
  • Avoid assigning tasks in traditional style
  • Change the stereotypes that enter school
  • Try to change stereotypes perceptions
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