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Gender Injustice And Its Impact On Indian Society.

We all know that men and women are different, but the fact remains that there lie certain ambiguities about how different are they? What is the extent and nature of the difference? Sometimes it is hard to understand exactly what is meant by the term gender and how it differs from the closely related term sex. Understanding of the social construct of gender starts with ever expanding the two concepts i.e. gender and sex.

However, they bear different meanings. Sex and Gender Sex is a biological term and Gender is a psychological and cultural term. Common sense suggests that they are merely two ways of looking at same division. The concept of sex and gender have been clear therefore according to feminists Sex is concerned with biological or physical characteristics of man and women whereas gender is concerned with social, cultural dissimilarities of man and woman.

Using the definitions given for sex (biological differences between males and females) and gender (socially defined differences between men and women), sex differences therefore refer only to those differences that can be attributed solely to biological difference. At the beginning of human race man was differentiated from women on basis of biological and physical characteristics, both the bodies were having separate characteristics.

Physical phenomenon like pregnancy, child birth, lactation, menstruation, has been happening to female body. Male body on the other hand had strong body structure against fine body of women and features like beard and moustaches and stronger muscles which in fact led the foundation for differentiation, dependence and domination on female by males. Due to this separate socio cultural roles in society where set.

Gender as Social-Cultural Phenomena

Gender is considered more as a social cultural aspect of human life. Division of role on the basis of sex and body has given rise to different social roles and status for man and women. Equality and education was never established for women as she was traditionally associated with kitchen and kids, taking care of family were her sole occupation. Hence both sex and gender are similar but contradictory terms, only having separate features with respect to biological, physical and socio-cultural orientation.

We do not treat boys and girls the same way. Men and women do not get equal opportunities to participate in all social, political, economic and educational activities. Let us first understand the word discrimination with one or two examples. Let us say, in a village, the people belonging to scheduled caste are not allowed to draw water from a well while others are free to do so. Water is a basic necessity for all. Denying water from the nearby well puts the people in to a distinct disadvantage.

This is caste based discrimination. Let us take another example. Let us say there are two people, equally capable, one with a dark skin and the other with fair skin. We have to make a selection for an activity. Not selecting a person merely because of dark skin is a discriminatory practice. Discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection.

Now, let us come to gender discrimination. Gender discrimination is discrimination on the basis of sex. It is the unequal treatment of a person based solely on that person’s sex. Any unfair consideration, policy, practice or belief which treats men and women unequally and hence restricts or denies choices for members of a particular sex is gender discrimination. Providing separate toilets for boys and girls does not tantamount to discrimination.

A girl in a family wants to go to her friend’s house for doing a project. She is either not allowed or asked to come back before it is dusk. No such restrictions are placed on boys. Simply, she is not allowed to do certain things because she is a girl. We often see boys playing in the open ground with lot of sports materials. Girls on the other hand are allowed to play indoor games with hardly any play material. Sometimes they are denied opportunities to play even the indoor games. Why does this happen? Is this justified? Gender discrimination can also affect boys and men.

For instance, a boy who is injured while playing is not expected to cry. Why? This is simply because he is a boy. He is not supposed to accept defeat in anything. A man cannot become a home maker. This is also gender discrimination. However, the discrimination as of today is largely loaded against women and girls. This is why we are paying attention on the issue of discrimination against girls and women.

Sources of Gender discrimination

You as a teacher may think that it is better to have a boy as class leader, and select a boy rather than a girl. This is direct discrimination. Dismissing worker on grounds of pregnancy is direct discrimination. Indirect discrimination occurs when there are provisions and practices which put girls and women at a disadvantage.
  1. Family and parents
  2. Government Policies
  3. Educational Opportunities
  4. Nutrition Health and leisure
  5. Laws and Rules
  6. Education
  7. Property and control over
  8. Appointment, Promotion, placement.


Gender discrimination begins before the birth of a girl child. This is underscored by large instances of female foeticide despite laws against this practice. Preference of parents’ society for boy babies is too well known. Girls are largely neglected in the family while the boys get special treatment. The nutritional and health requirements of girls are generally neglected. This results in higher mortality of girl children. Denial of opportunity to education, discouraging girls to take up courses of their choice, discouraging girls from pursuing higher education are quite common even now. In the employment sector, men usually get priority over women.

There are often basic inequalities in gender relations within the family. These inequalities can take many different forms. For instance, inequalities may exist in sharing the burden of household work and child care putting a huge burden on women and girls. This will have its impact on girls and women in areas of education, employment and promotion. It can also limit their understanding of the outside world. There are many instances where girls are taken out of the schools on attaining puberty. Women are harassed for not bearing a male child. More girl children die due to malnutrition. There are instances of female babies either discarded or killed by parents themselves. These are some of the well recognized instances of gender discrimination.

When it comes to the choice of courses to be studied, gender discrimination operates in a subtle way. Girls are discouraged from taking up certain courses especially if she has to move away from parents. Many people think that a course in mechanical engineering is not suitable for girls! Jobs like clerical, teaching, nursing and housekeeping are unjustifiably considered more appropriate for girls. The tradition and religious texts shape the way people think and act. Many religions place women below men, and thus create an unequal society. Discriminatory injunctions imposed by the religion are practiced by the followers often without any questioning. Almost all religions have their personal laws and all such laws confer fewer rights to women.

Gender Discrimination And Equality

Gender Discrimination refers to the practice of granting or denying rights or privileges to a person based on their gender. In some societies, this practice is longstanding and acceptable to both genders. Certain religious groups embrace gender discrimination as part of their dogma. However, in most industrialized nations, it is either illegal or generally considered inappropriate. Attitudes toward gender discrimination can normally be traced back to the roots of certain segments of society.

Much of the discrimination is attributed to stories such as a woman being made from man’s and societal practices such as dowries paid to fathers by prospective husbands to purchase their daughters to be wives. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was intended to end that discrepancy. The law stated that "no employer shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees. The Equal Pay Act officially gives women protection under the law in regards to equal pay for equal work, but inequities still exist in almost every employment sector.

What does gender equality mean?

Gender equality is the aim of Gender and Development. It does not simply or necessarily mean equal numbers of women and men(girls and boys) in development activities, nor does it necessarily mean treating women and men (girls and boys) exactly the same. The aim is not that women and men become the same, but that their opportunities and life chances become and remain equal. Gender equality includes women and men to equally contribute to designing the society they want. Gender Equality means that women and men enjoy the same status within a society. It does not mean that men and women are the same but rather these similarities and differences are recognized.

Gender Injustice

Bread and Roses: Indian History and mythology have given place of pride to women. Sita, Savitri and Draupadi are the women whose name strike the mind immediately. Over the year of first half of 20 century, the struggle continued and women coined the phrase “Bread and Roses”. The reference to Bread is freedom from hunger and Roses is the satisfaction of the wants.
Subordinate positions: Gender injustice is not a recent phenomenon. Crimes against women have committed since ancient times. Any tradition and custom places women in subordinate positions within society or in the family. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said that you can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women

Women are superior not equal to men: Nature treated the women in different ways and made them biologically different. Some person calls the women as inferior but it is not so. The history says women were called Shakti. Shakti means power; woman is the power of man.

Gender injustice is global issue: The women who constitute half of the world’s population and who work two third of world working hours should earn just one tenth of the world’s property and also should remain victim of inequalities and injustice.

Sex and Gender: The term sex is applied to those distinctions between man and women. In short sex difference is natural but gender difference are creative difference on the basis of sex.

Gender Injustice in India:

  1. Pre-natal sex-selective Abortion: The most extreme expression of the preference for sons is female infanticide and sex selective abortion.A study in a Bombay hospital found that 96% of female were aborted.
  2. Sexual Harassment at work places: is a harassment of a sexual nature, typically in the work place. Sexual harassment is considered a form of illegal discrimination. Sexual harassment at work place is not an isolated phenomenon but a mainfestaion of the larger gender discrimination in society.
  3. Female are malnourished: India has exceptionally high rate of child malnutrition, because tradition in India requires that women eat last and least throughout their lives, even when pregnant.
  4. Women are uneducated: Families are far less likely to educate girls than boys and far more likely to pull them out of school, either to help out at home or from fear of violence. So women and girls receive far less education than men both due to social norms and fears of violence.
  5. Women are in Poor health: Females receive less health care than males. Many women die in childbirth. The practice of breast feeding female children for shorter periods of time reflects the strong desire for sons.
  6. Women are overworked: Women work longer hours and their work is more than the men (agricultural Work).
  7. Women are Unskilled: Women have unequal access to resources.
  8. Injustice Policy of Reservation in Public office: The women occupy 46% of the Indian population but reservation is given for only 33% where reserved.
  9. Women are mistreated: In recent year there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India in term s of rapes, assaults and dowry related murders.
  10. Women are Powerless: While women are guaranteed equality under the constitution. But due to lack of power to decide who they will marry and are often married off as children.


Conclusion:

Gender injustice means injustice on the basis of sex. But in practice the story is different in the case of injustice to women; it is women only except the rape cases. In kinds of injustice as domestic violence, forced abortion, sex detection and dowry death. Behind this there are more role of women than men.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_inequality
  2. https://www.cry.org/issues-views/gender-inequality
  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01330/full

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