“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”
— Gloria Steinem
Gender Biasness in society is not new. For centuries, women are oppressed and treated as inferiors in each and every social structure. There is a difference in the rules and roles of the genders. In the last few decades, many people have raised their voices against this evil. People are putting their efforts to bring equality, yet there are miles to go before we reach an unbiased world. But, the constant failures in bringing this utopia have raised one brings many questions, biggest being where our efforts lack. Here is my effort to answer his question.
The ‘Wrong’ Goal?
Our constant efforts are to bring equality between the two genders. But, while doing so, we tend to ignore the fact that there exist differences between them. They are not identical to each other but are two separate entities. People think that how can two things be equal which are different. What is important is that we stop comparing them and referring one as superior, and others as inferior. Also, there exists a difference between equity and equality. Equality believes in treating everyone the same regardless of need, while equity means treating people differently dependent on need.
“If equality is the end goal, equity is the means to get there.”
So, it is a question you need to ask yourself that you want equity or equality.
Gender Roles or Gender Stereotypes?
A scientific study has revealed that even a 9-month-old baby understands the differences in the genders and the roles associated with them. But what these gender roles do? They are the representation of expected behavior from a specific gender. That is the root of the problem. From a very young age, we are taught the activities and thoughts we should have. Although people are starting to accept the cross-gender roles, there is still a stigma that the behavior is not normal, or different at least.
“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
― Gloria Steinem
This is high time that the concept of these gender roles should be discarded from the roots. Every human should behave they like, not because they are expected to. I believe achieving this is half the battle won.
The Role of Unconscious
Not all biasness is conscious. Many times, we do certain things as a symbol of care, respect, courtesy, protection, or love for a specific gender, but what it eventually results is creating a boundary itself. The patriarchy and gender roles are in so many roots of our existence that we often behave in a way just because probably, we do not know any other way. We refer to men as ‘brave’ and women as ‘protective’. So, it is the duty of the males of the house to protect the females in every possible way. They do it, out of love and care, but we are unable to accept that women can protect themselves. Surely, if some do, it is great, but this number is too small. And we are not trying to increase, but rather protecting them.
“If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.”
― Plato, The Republic
Effect on Society
Well, we have lived our lives in patriarchy for so long that now it is hard to imagine when and how it actually started. Traditionalist has raised their voice against the utopia we just talked about. So, now the question is why is it necessary? Let me try in a simple way. All of us are human beings. So, how is it justified that one specific gender is making rules for both of them, on how to behave. Gender neutrality will not only overcome a thousand evils of the society, which have existed for years, but it will also make this world a better place, where there will be bliss and peace and joy and respect.
Any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity of its women is at a huge disadvantage in the modern world.
– Tian Wai
Mental Health of Women
She was born wild and curious. A cage is no place for someone like that. ‘I play with the fire of my own truth,’ she told me, ‘I will burn for the things I love.’
Gender biases have a severe impact on the mental health of women, mainly because they are the primary and direct victims of it. Rather than mental health, it carves the personality is such a way that they slowly imbibe a passive role in their whole lives. But, according to statistics, women are more affected by almost all mental health issues. Let’s look at some facts.
- Depressive disorders are twice more common in women than men. It is more persistent in women as well. They account for 41.9% of the disability from neuropsychiatric disorders among women compared to 29.3% among men.
- Due to the high prevalence of sexual violence among women, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is more frequent in women. At least one in five women suffer rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
- An estimated 80% of 50 million people affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacement are women and children.
- Women are twice as likely as men to experience generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
Data Provided By APA based on a sample
As we can see, the prevalence of mental health disorders is higher in women in almost every major disorder.
A world where everyone thrives
“A world full of empowered women isn’t one where men are marginalized. It’s a world where everyone thrives.”
― Purnima Mane, President, and CEO of Pathfinder International
At last, I want to say a few lines.
I imagine a world where everyone thrives. They grow, they glow with lives full of life.
I imagine a world for a toddler full of choice. They are taught their freedom and to raise their voice.
I imagine a world where no girl cry. They are given the wings to fly up high.
I imagine a world where you can be yourself. People care for each other and are there for help.