Bilal Ah Bhat
Gender is an analytical category that is socially constructed and considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones between men and women. It is also used to describe the differences in behaviour between men and women, which are described as “masculine and feminine” traits of a human being.
According to the dictionary, the definition of the gender equality is “the state in which access to right or opportunities is unaffected by gender inequality happening.”
But, in reality, women have less control over resources, less power than males, and fewer opportunities across social, economic, and political life.
Gender inequality has various reasons; it is usually because of women’s inability in education facilities, work pay and job opportunities, family and cultural restraints, strong and dominated patriarchal setup and lack of governance.
This is also due to the stereotypical thoughts of women being weaker than men. Because of their physical difference people tend to discriminate towards women.
Many of the women around the world are not favoured as compared to men, not only in countries that have traditional gender role but even in societies that believe in equal rights for both male and female. In our society usually boys are encouraged to take their decisions independently but girls are not supposed to do so.
Egalitarian society is still a dream. Females are been dominated in various fields whether it be a private sphere or a public one. The dichotomy between public and private sphere is one of the core reasons of this discrimination.
If we look through a cycle of a woman's life it can be seen that these differences are observed from the very moment they are born. People still prefer son over daughters and this ignorance of girl child has resulted in criminal acts such as female feticide, killing of girl child in infancy etc.
The crime rate against females during teenage has been recorded as the highest. The brutal acts against humanity such as rapes, trafficking, harassment etc. and the after effects make the condition of the victims worse. For them, surviving in the society is becoming very challengeable. Despite being the sufferers they themselves are blamed for everything they go through. In some cases, even their families are also neglected by the society.
In a social structure both men and women have to act according to their prescribed roles which are setup by the society. It creates a stereotypical-attitude in the society like: It is essential for a man to be brave, harsh, aggressive or tough, he only bears the responsibility to be a bread winner for the family, the male member of a family is always under a pressure to perform his roles well both in public and private domain, their occupation choices need to be particular proving their manly nature, men in the society are not supposed to show their emotions as it tends to portray their weak image etc.
Not only women but in some cases men too have to face the problems like in legal systems because of the preferences given to the females. And now if we talk about educational institutions we can get a clear idea through the ratio of female students upon male students.
Many of the girls cannot access the higher education facilities, due to which they could not serve in a high quantity in the employment service sector.
And even after all these hurdles if one comes up to seek job opportunities the emergence of 'glass ceiling' makes it more difficult for a women to attain high position despite having all the qualifications. The employer prefers a male employee so that they wouldn't have to incur extra expenses on the safety or maternity leave purpose for a female employee.
A similar situation was seen in the case of Louise Richardson, currently the Vice chancellor of the Oxford University. It took almost six months for her selection even after meeting all the qualifications for the post. People were not ready to accept a female as the administrator of such a reputed institution.
If it's the case of these developed nations the scenario of the developing nation can be guessed easily. Gender discrimination can be seen everywhere that for example, even in central universities, the “curfew timings” of the hostels are different as in Girls and Boys hostels.
This is completely a social mindset which needs to be changed and there are some solutions to change the current situation:
A child learns most of the basic things from the family. So the parenting plays a vital role in the upbringing of young minds. Kids adapt what they usually see and learn in their childhood. They should be taught to be rational for every human being and respect all of them equally.
Whether a girl or a boy, they should get their decision making rights for making them self-reliant and it would also help them to realise whenever they do something wrong. They should get the same appreciation for their efforts. Everyone should be encouraged to achieve what they aim for irrespective of any restraints just because a child possess a masculine or a feminine trait!
It is one of the most basic ways to take a step towards an egalitarian society. Availability of higher education and jobs will enable everyone to become self-dependent and to contribute equally in the development process.
India is still a developing country. Countries like China are far ahead active in women's participation in their economic system. But, in our country, most of our females are not participating in the economic system which is leading to low rate GDP and innovation growth.
Almost in every fields females have to abort their careers after their marriage to be a better housewife resulting in quality loss in various institutions and industrial houses. Government and corporate houses need to make policies to encourage these women to come back into the workplace.
The rules and ideas constructed by the society, many times made it difficult for it's citizens to live independently as per their ideas and choice of living. Even the government and NGOs have come-up with certain policies and registrations for helping women in gaining political, economic and social recognition.