WOMEN & GENDER IN THE MODERN WORLD 6
Women& Gender in the Modern World
Women& Gender in the Modern World
Issuespertaining to gender have always been controversial not only in thecontemporary society but also the traditional human society. Indeed,it has been well acknowledged that different tasks are assigned todifferent genders not on the basis of merit but rather thestereotypical ideas pertaining to the roles that certain sexes shouldplay. It is often the case that there is an element of genderseparation in the society, including societies that are assumed to bemuch more advanced and civilized. This is seen in the fact that womenare considered to have limited mental acuity or rather intellectualaptitude, in which case they may be incapable of functioningappropriately in certain fields. Typical employment areas for ladiesinclude teachers, secretaries, nurses, cleaners, domestic workers,waitresses and catering assistants. Indeed, women often dominateroutine jobs while their male counterparts are over-represented intechnical, supervisory and managerial jobs.
Whilethere may be varying opinions, it is evident that gender separationhas negative results on both men and women and the society at large.First, gender separation reinforces the negative stereotypes thateliminate the possibility for equality of sexes. It is acknowledgedthat gender separation is based on the notion that certain sexes arebest suited for certain jobs simply because of their gender (Neft &Levine, 1998 52). Essentially, it reinforces the notion that someindividuals are less intellectually competent to accomplish certaintasks even when the same has yet to be determined. This would limitthe progress of women to pursuing their dreams, likes and preferencesas far as career choices are concerned.
Inaddition, gender separation may result in violence against women. Itgoes without saying that the concept of gender separation is basedprimarily on the need for a particular gender to seek dominance overthe other (Neft & Levine, 1998 54). The reinforcement of thestereotypes creates the notion that the later deserves less than theother or is entitled to less than the other, which makes it more orless okay for violence and discrimination to be meted on it.
Moreoften than not, gender separation also occurs in regard to the ritesof passage through which individuals go. In the western culture, itis well acknowledged that there may not be distinctive rites ofpassage that mark the transition between adolescence to adulthood forwomen or girls. Usually, girls attend camps and events organized bycertain groups where they are advised on varied aspects of adulthood.The events usually focus on healthy relationships both outside andinside their homes, thereby allowing for the establishment of safetyso that the girls can develop positive connections with adult women,as well as their peers. In addition, girls in the society areconsidered adults in instances where they get married. This may takeplace any time after teenage and it is expected that they are wellcapable of handling their issues as adults.
Thisis entirely different from their male counterparts who, apart frombeing subjected to the same advice, may need to undergo circumcision.Essentially, parts of their genitalia would be cut off so as to markthe transition from childhood or adolescence to adulthood.
Nevertheless,there are some similarities in the things that they eventually get todo. For instance, the transition to adulthood may be marked by theacquisition of the rights to participate in the community life. Theacquisition of formal identification card that allows an individualto join other institutions such as the military or even becomeemployed, or even move from one state to another for varied“independent” reasons may be considered rites of passage in thecontemporary human society. It may be acknowledged that the is nodistinction in the ages within which women and men can acquire thisidentification, rather the standard age is the same for both sexes.
Therites of passage are extremely different from those of other regionsacross the globe particularly in the case of women. Indeed, othersocieties have pretty distinctive rites of passage that mark thetransition of a girl to womanhood, a large proportion of which isseen as detrimental to their health. In a large proportion of Africancountries or societies, girls also undergo circumcision or ratherfemale genital mutilation. This is an extremely destructive operationthat is often carried out in the villages using knives and razorblades. In this operation, the female genitalia would be entirely orpartly injured or removed usually to lower or inhibit the sexualfeelings of the woman (Morgan, 2004 37). It is often believed thatthe clitoris increases the sexual feelings of a woman and may resultin sexual promiscuity, in which case the “problem” is rectifiedby having it removed. There are varied theories pertaining to theorigin, genesis or basis of this theory but the devastating effectson the sexuality and reproductive health of women are wellacknowledged. In other societies, this is complemented by having thegirl married, usually by a man of the parents’ choice as it isclearly indicated that she has become a woman.
Inthe case of men, it is often the case that they are considered to becapable of withstanding considerably more pain, in which case theyare subjected to more intensive rites of passage. For instance, boyswould not only have to undergo circumcision so to mark the transitionto adulthood, rather they may also be required to hunt dangerousanimals, kill them and take home their heads as a sign of theirvictory (Ward & Edelstein, 2009 49). Indeed, this is in linewith the notion that men must demonstrate certain elements ofagility, courage and masculinity. This is the only way that theywould demonstrate that they have the capacity to protect their femalecompanions and their families.
Insome societies, the rituals of circumcision take on an entirely weirdlevel. For instance, the aborigines not only cut the foreskin of theboy but also require him to swallow it without chewing as anindication that he has swallowed his own boyhood, which is expectedto grow inside him and make him strong and powerful.
Inconclusion, gender separation often takes on a negative aspect whereit is assumed that certain genders are more capable of accomplishingcertain tasks based on some deep-rooted stereotypes. Usually, womenare on the receiving end with the main assumption being that they donot have sufficient intellectual aptitude to accomplish certain tasksor take on certain roles. In essence, they are usually restricted toroutine jobs, while their male counterparts are allowed to take uptechnical, supervisory and managerial jobs.
Morgan,J (2004). LaboringWomen: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery,New York: University of Penn. Press
Neft,N & Levine, A (1998). WhereWomen Stand: An International Report on the Status of Women.New York: Random House
Ward,M & Edelstein, M. A (2009). World Full ofWomen(6th edition). New York: Pearson