‘Gender’, a term otherwise meant to define certain socially defined roles and behaviours assigned to ‘males’ and ‘females’ in a particular society is often confused with or used instead of the term ‘sex’, which in fact is a biological and physiological phenomenon which defines man and woman.Gender, in fact, is considered a man-made concept which determines the relationship between males and females whereby men are considered superior to women in all aspects of life whereas sex is considered a natural or biological concept.
This misinterpretation has led to the development of tension amongst both these genders within the human race and that too to such an extent that each of the genders have engaged themselves in an eternal struggle to prove the dominance of one gender over the other causing an inequality amongst them that has been rightfully termed as ‘gender inequality’.
Hence, gender inequality as a matter of ever-increasing concerns worldwide has often triggered attention from greatest of minds, with the likes of Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of United Nations repeatedly pressing upon the need for world community completely absent of any kind of gender-based biases to ensure progress of the humankind.
However in the present scenario with a multitude of nationalities still clinging onto the age-old concepts of social stratifications and barriers based upon birth into particular caste or class and particularly gender does make one believe that attaining such a full-fledged, gender-equal society is seemingly too far stretched an idea even in its most conceptual form. Nevertheless, one cannot deny the fact that a world devoid of gender disparities would be a world that is worth living in. In fact, this equality of both the genders within a particular society should be considered as a strategic precondition to combat with other crucial societal challenges of poverty alleviation, boosting sustainable development and ensuring proper governance.
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Such activities that preserve as well as augment gender inequality, in fact, is historically and predominantly carried out by the male gender to enjoy their dominance over the female gender in any given society, the latter being a victim of male-oriented social structures and binds that denies equal female participation which in fact should be their innate right regardless of their gender.
Though the degree and causes of gender inequality does vary throughout the world, yet some of these causes are pretty much common and extensively prevalent across societies cutting across geographical boundaries, like that of male supremacy in a patriarchal society within which men often enjoy complete control over their female counterparts either directly or indirectly through laws made in favor of such male dominance. Such a biased society often experiences high rates of female related crimes like selective female infanticide, honour killing, killing of brides by the groom or his family members due to non-payment of dowry, etc.
Though the world is progressing towards a variety of developments in scientific arena with men and women attempting to land on Mars, yet the concepts of gender inequality like males always physically stronger than their female counterparts are globally well accepted even by the most scholarly individuals belonging to both the genders, though it is a scientifically unproven and bogus idea established by certain misogynistic minds who refuse to accept the inherent ability of female kind to match the ability of their male counterparts both physically as well as mentally. This, in fact, is raising concerns amidst the social workers and social scientists alike, who have for a long period of time strived to educate the world audience regarding the undeniable need for gender equality to ensure a more civilized future of the human race.
With women constituting about 40 percent of the total human population on the surface of the earth, underutilization of their labour be it in physical or mental terms poses a major impediment towards the economic growth of countries towards reaching their maximum productive potential. Hence, gender equality is an imminent requirement for a society even from the economic point of view.
Though governments’ globally as well as international organizations, such as the UN, have evidently taken up the matter of gender equality seriously and have made laws and issued incentives ensuring the progress of gender equality within particular societies within their respective jurisdiction. For instance, in India female education of Bachelors’ Degree ( B.A ) level has been made free in many States like that of Assam, provided the female is a single child of their parents, that is the child has no other siblings.
In spite of such efforts by the respective governments to ensure equality within their policies many alarming issues regarding gender discrimination continue to prevail. To further promote gender equality, there is a need to envisage increased education for women, improvements in public health, more child care facilities, strict laws punishing sexual violence against both the genders and men-women equal representation in cultural, social, economic and political spheres of public life.
This would be possible only if the battle against gender discrimination is given international priority, thus ensure the progress of the human race and economy globally. A practice of which should rightfully begin at home by teaching the children to respect each member of the family despite obvious physical differences and consider others as equals in the global arena.
5th Position, The Brave Hindu Writing Contest