Good Example Of Social Forces’ Influence On Gender Roles Essay
Social forces’ influence on gender roles
Societies have varying expectations of what men and women can do. These varying expectations are determined by the gender roles that are assigned to each group. These roles are patterns or behavioural characteristics that a society expects of its members because of their sexual identity. Gender roles have a number of characteristics that vary from one society to the other and arise from a number of situations. Gender is a notion that is developed either sociologically, politically, culturally or religiously. In most cases, these roles are socially construed. This means that gender roles are not universal as they differ from one place to another. Culture and custom also play their role in shaping the roles that each gender plays in the community.
The process of gendering is initiated from the moment a baby is born. After birth, children are not aware of their gender. These children are helped by their parents and the society where they grow up to develop sexual identity that makes them behave like men or as women. Gender cues are presented to every stage in the growth of kids so as to make them differentiate between man and woman. Though there are families that have realized the negative impacts of gendering and try to have a neutral approach to the upbringing of their kids, they have other avenues that continually portray the differences in gender roles like television and peer groups.
In the United States, the role of homemaker was traditionally assigned to the woman, and the man provided for his family. Women’s role is to care for the children, comfort her husband while men were supposed to face the world in search of tasking jobs to compete with other men to be able to provide for his family. This division of labor was accompanied by many stereotypes that prescribed what men and women are supposed to be, and in the 21st century, some of these stereotypes still continue. In the more traditional societies like Egypt, gender roles still play a significant role in the social, political and economic fronts. In this society, religion is highly regarded and respected. Hence, religion is used as a pacifying tool for the women. They are still ‘oppressed’ from the viewpoint of developed societies like the United States. Women in Egypt are homemakers, caregivers to the children and their husbands and are expected to be submissive to the males.
There are a number of constraints that limit the achievement of gender equality. Important among all are the biological constraints which in a number of ways ensure that the women and not can be the same. These, however, do not predispose women to be inferior or men superior. Culture also plays a significant role in the gendering process in societies around the globe. In the United States, there were professions like physicians that were traditionally reserved for men and women were cultured to believe that they were not cut out for such professions. This has shifted substantially as more women are going to school and specializing in areas that were traditionally male-dominated.
In the more traditional societies in Africa like Egypt, women have been made to accept their allocated positions in society. This is however changing among the educated, middle and upper class of this society as they have become more liberal and are allowing their women to pursue their dreams in whatever field of interest. Unlike in the United States where women working their way up the corporate ladder or advancing in education is seen as normal and encouraged, women in a society like Egypt have to live with negative perceptions from the less liberal male population. They are in fact perceived as neglecting their assigned roles and wanting to be in competition with the men. Religion is highly revered and is used as a pacifying tool for the masses as the consequences of contravening the doctrines of religion can be severe. The Muslim Koran says that God gave men pre-eminence and hence making them superior to women. This is a verse widely quoted in instances where women try to assert their presence and seek equal opportunities like their male counterparts.
The affluent societies like the United States have benefited from popular movements that have sought to have women given equal opportunities with men. The feminist movement popular in the early 1900 and again the 1960s has been monumental in ensuring inclusion of women into different sectors of society in equal measure as men. Through the movement, women were granted suffrage rights and many other benefits. They still continue to fight for more inclusivity in sectors like the political class, equal pay for both genders in the same profession with similar qualifications and many others. The outlook in the less affluent societies though grim is changing. The advent of new mass media technologies has opened up these nations like Egypt. Universal watchdogs that fight for women rights and gender equality around the globe are also able to monitor and advocates for rights of women in this country.
Gender inequality has adverse effects especially in the less affluent societies. In Egypt, for example, sexual harassment and violence against women are not taken as grave acts that are to be met with strict consequences as it is in the United States. Though women in the United States are more liberated from the stereotypes of gender, they are faced with more complex issues as they have to strike a balance between work and what is biologically assigned to them; giving birth and taking care of babies.
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