How can we discriminate between men and women on the basis of gender?

Courtesy to Google Images

 

Gender roles have been described as society’s shared beliefs that apply to individuals on the basis of their socially identified sex. Stereotypes can be conceptualized as the descriptive aspects of gender roles, as they depict the attributes that an individual ascribes to a group of people. Agency is often cited as the defining characteristic of the male stereotype, and communality as the defining characteristic of the female stereotype Whereas men are thought to be more agentic (i.e., independent, assertive, decisive), women are thought to be more communal (i.e., unselfish, friendly, concerned with others). Values (Halstead & Reiss, 2003) as, “ the principles and fundamental convictions which act as general guides to behavior, enduring beliefs about what is worthwhile; ideals for which one strives; broad standards by which particular beliefs and actions are judged to be good, right, desirable or worthy of respect”. Taken together the concepts of gender roles, stereotypes, and values, we can synthesise the concept of gender stereotypes, especially in Muslim, Latin American, and Black African societies, as being the product of religious and cultural patterns often are transferred from one generation to another through values and beliefs which underlie attitudes, behaviors, and norms

 

PAKISTAN was placed at 148thout of 149 countries in gender inequality index, as per the World Economic Forum report, 2018. Gender role discrimination is quite evident in the pictorial form of textbooks assigned to primary schools in Pakistan in which women are seen as helpers to men while doing various house hold chores, field works, or supporting their men while working at home (Agha, Syed, & Mirani, 2018). The main thing is that they are not doing something out of their will and desire rather give service to the men in their family. ALSO, a wide gap in general mobility between genders where women are half as mobile as men has been observed by the researchers (Adeel & Zhang, 2017). Additionally a severe gender disparity has been observed in children enrolment rates that are not significantly related to household income which implies that overall boys are preferred for higher education than girls irrespective of the economic status of parents (Quayes & Ramsey, 2015). In the same context, women are not generally encouraged to pursue a career, and their income related needs are hardly met by their own efforts ( Shah, & Baporikar, 2013).

 

Pakistan is a country where we celebrate sorrow feelings (like the custom of rukhsati in marriages), pains, and sufferings of the other vulnerable people. Pakistan is a country where we enjoy taking part in others helplessness, selflessness, and dependency. We provide opportunities to feel embarrassed (by teasing them physically in supermarkets), we provide sentiments to feel shame, to feel guilty and to feel harassed. Pakistan is a country where we love to kiss someone even at the cost of her dignity, willingness and approval. We are basically pathetic minded people and we don’t react upon others emotions appropriately- a kind of schizophrenic or in other words mentally sick people!

Usually, parents show the way to their kids and tell them, say

         Don’t don it, it is not appropriate to your sex

          Girls should stay at home

Boys should play with boys

Girls should know how to do house chores

Boys should look strong and resilient

Girls should help their mother in the kitchen

Boys don’t need to learn knitting or sewing

Boys don’t shout

Girls should behave nicely

Boys don’t play with dolls

Girls don’t play outside

Girls don’t complain

daughters are guest in their parental home

and much more alike

It is so simple! when something is not appropriate due to gender identity – it is not appropriate actually. Our way to analyse it should be appropriate. We should tell our kids a different reason to do something or not to do something. We should not focus on gender in any way.

When we see the broad picture, societal pressures, parental attitudes, religious themes, and overall cultural settings combine to depict the sorry picture of gender discrimination in the society of Pakistan. It is not one single person’s fault, or duty to bring a change. It is each one of us if we are live, and if we can think, we are liable for thinking so. We need to be punished for thinking so- when we go for it by choice!

I request the parents of our society to deal with your kids fairly and equally. You are not allowed to discriminate among them on the basis of their sex except choosing color blue for boys and pink for girls. You can still choose various outfits to identify your daughter and son distinctively; you can still choose a haircut for girls and another for boys; however you should not go beyond it. Gender discrimination is not harmful in any way– but according to UNO guidelines of human rights it will become harmful when it will limit them from gaining personal abilities, restrict them from pursuing professional careers, limits the access of equality education and health, prevents them from making choices about their lives, results in violation of human rights, restricts them from enjoying fundamental freedom of movement with peace and security, and when these discriminatory beliefs underlie sorrow and grief in day to day family life.

Freedom, independence, powerful acts of decision making, free mobility, and strong ego could also be the ornaments of the women, as well as men. Women can exert their true will and make choices based on their own desire rather than to the sake of the family, culture, honor or any other fake idea or belief. In other words, women can decide what they want to do in their life, till how long they want to stay with their parents, when they want to get married, to whom they want to get married, to whom they want to get married a second or third time. In total, they can decide about their life freely and without having any social pressure in an ideal situation.

Traditions and customs should not be practised on someone’s freedom and right to live fairly. When you say, someone, to be quiet on having pain, to be patient and do sacrifice, you are not follower/preserver of a tradition (nice women sacrifice for their family), you are not making her a true legend; rather you are a perpetrator and exercising a devil. In other words, you are making their life miserable and torturous- that is a crime in itself.  

For the women who usually feel guilty, and miserable, it is not easy to make them understand that they need to change their reaction from feeling guilty to feeling aggressive, annoyed on the apparent mis justification and mistreatment. Though it is unlikely that we change our mindset in an hour or so; however, we need to speak, think and reflect until neurons in our brains start working on such communicatory pathways and take information at the conscious level to act physically. This is the first step and it is the most crucial one in certain cultures like PAKISTAN.

Harmful gender stereotypes, rigid constructions of femininity and masculinity and stereotyped gender roles are a root cause of gender-based violence against women and put them at risk for various kinds of psychological and mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and stress. To eliminate gender-based violence against women, it would be crucial to transforming discriminatory gender norms and stereotypes into fair and equity-based traditions and norms that promote non-violent, respectful and equal gender relations between men, women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

References

Rhoodie, Eschel, M. (1989). Discrimination against women a global survey of the economic, educational, social, and political status of women. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.

Mirza, I., & Jenkins, R. (2004). Risk factors, prevalence, and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in Pakistan: Systematic review. British Medical Journal, 328(7443), 794. https://www.bmj.com/content/328/7443/794.full

Khan, M. M., & Reza, H. (2010). Gender differences in nonfatal suicidal behavior in Pakistan: Significance of sociocultural factors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 28(1), 62–68. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1943-278X.1998.tb00626.x

Ali, N. S., Azam, I. S., Ali, B. S., Tabbusum, G., Moin, S. S. (2012). Frequency and associated factors for anxiety and depression in pregnant women: A hospital-based cross-sectional study. The Scientific World Journal, 2012. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2012/653098/abs/

Khan K.S., Rafique G., Bawani S.A.A., Hasan F., Haroon A. (2015). Social and Societal Context of Women’s Mental Health, What Women Want, What They Get: Gap Analysis in Pakistan of Mental Health Services, Polices and Research. In: Khanlou N., Pilkington F. (eds) Women’s Mental Health. Advances in Mental Health and Addiction. Springer, Cham

Agha, N., Syed, G. K., Mirani, D.A. (2018). Women’s Studies International Forum. 66. Pp. 17-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2017.11.009

Quayes, S., & Ramsey, R. D. (2015). Gender disparity in education enrolment in pakistan. Asian Economic and Financial Review, 5(3), 407-417. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1678797188?accountid=14116

Halstead, J Mark & Reiss, Michael J. (2003). Values in sex education. London and N.Y. : Routledge Falmer.

Shah, I. A., & Baporikar, N. (2013). Gender Discrimination: Who is Responsible? Evidence from Pakistan. Women’s Studies, 42(1), 78–95. https://doi.org/10.1080/00497878.2013.736284

Tazeen S. Ali, Gunilla Krantz, Raisa Gul, Nargis Asad, Eva Johansson & Ingrid Mogren (2011) Gender roles and their influence on life prospects for women in urban Karachi, Pak0istan: a qualitative study, Global Health Action, 4:1,DOI10.3402/gha.v4i0.7448

Pakistan second worst in gender equality: WEF. (2018, December 19). United News of India (UNI) [New Delhi, India]. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A566261610/STND?u=ustrath&sid=STND&xid=e61f3084

Eagly,A.H.(2009). The his and hers of prosocial behavior: An examination of the social psychology of gender. American Psychologist, 64(8), 644-658. 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.64.8.644

Eagly, A. H., & Mladinic, A. (1989). Gender Stereotypes and Attitudes Toward Women and Men. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 15(4), 543–558. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167289154008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little_girls_and_Judo.jpg

When a girl is born in the UK, her parents welcome the child with flowers of love, care, and unconditional affection. Girl daughters feel very proud of being a daughter and start their life with great confidence and motivation. They are pleasantly taught about the rules of life in which they are expected to be educated as much as possible, to achieve a career to their satisfaction, and to live a happy life ever after. They are taught about the freedom they will enjoy in their life; they are taught about their rights ( right to move, right to dress-up, right to marry, right to re-marry, right to divorce, right to have kids’ custody, right to speak about their love and interests, right to save their life, right to leave a bad person’s company, right to live alone, right to speak for their rights, right to call police in time of danger, right to excel, right to live as per their wish). Girls are always their parent’s daughters like sons: no discrimination at all. Girls enjoy the same lifestyle as their brothers keep rather they are more valued and honored. Parents spend more on little girls and let them enjoy the games like judo, karate, gymnastic, swimming, boxing, and other skills even when they are 3 or 4 years old. Usually, girls show more energy and flexibility in these games! They are never given any message in which they would be fearful about their future husband, future home or future in-laws! They are never given any idea of ‘leaving home after marriage’, rather they can live forever with their parents if they would like. Girls are more protected in a sense they can live alone after they are grown up. They can choose their partner and get a divorce without having any ‘honor killing’ syndrome. They can very easily shut the door to their husband if he is harassing them or abusing them in any form.  They  are not mentally prepared for the house hold work in future ( for the husband and his family). They are not waiting for the prince to take them to his palace to protect them ( an imaginary theme). They are free to move anywhere in the world with peace of mind and happiness. They are free to choose any profession, any vehicle to travel, and any identity to own. They enjoy the support of their parents, culture, society and the government in each and every field of life. They are very much pampered and loved. 

    It does not mean there is no rape, no sexual or emotional abuse, no threat and no killing in this society. There are still some cases to report and to feel scared; however, they are not as much in quantity as much we ( in Pakistan) could note and publish. In each home of Pakistan, gender discrimination, gender differences, physical and emotional abuses, parental control ( negative )and female child neglect is very much prevalent. A female child starts her life with lots of mixed messages about her female role at home, in society and in her married life. She is supposed to adopt that role in her adult life irrespective of her education or career choices. She is very much forced to think in that particular way in which she is a female, a responsibility to parents, a subject of fear, a figure of special respect, a source of honor, a guest in her parents home, a person who will be living the life of her husband, a person who will leave her parental home for her husband’s home, a person who cannot live alone with respect and honor, a person who is less powerful than a man, a person who would always need a man to protect her, a person who is vulnerable to various traumas, a person who should be caring, loving and serving to others, a weak person and a weak decision maker. 

   

4cd9ec87-5f43-4eb4-bbb9-1a56f35ad541_w987_r1_s=

Thus girls, even from educated and well-established families suffer a lot. They do not enjoy their life as they would if they were born in the UK ( or any other liberal society). They are very much oppressed and suppressed due to societal norms, traditions and customs. They even like those traditions and beliefs as the change would disturb their comfort zone. However, this is not what should continue as many of them are suffering a lot due to these discriminatory acts and thoughts,painful beliefs, cruel customs, horrible traditions, bizarre irregularities, injustices, emotional, physical and sexual abuses. Mostly women who suffer from such traumas in their childhood, are  very much vulnerable to anxieties, depression, and post traumatic stress disorders in their adulthood. So much so, suicidal thoughts are very common among such victims.

    Therefore, I request you ( if you are a parent) to please negate the beliefs that create any discrimination among your kids; ( if you are a girl) fight for your own rights or at least never accept any negative belief; (if you are a victim) speak about it on any forum you could and if you are in any capacity to protect someone you know- please go ahead and bring a change in society.

Thanks

courtesy to Google images

Rukhsati (part 2): a source of emotional and psychological abuse!

Rukhsai is a concept which means a girl is not supposed to live with her parents after marriage and should live with her husband and his family forever. This or the similar meanings exist almost in every home of Pakistan and India. When a girl is born, she is usually blessed with some statements like,” God bless her with great luck and destiny” which means that god give her a good husband and in-laws in future (otherwise her luck is bad luck and there is no future for her anymore). People focus upon girls husband more than the girl itself. Education of the husband is more important than the education of the daughter; job of the husband is more important; home of the husband is more important and family of the husband is more important than family of the girl (where the girl was born). When our daughters listen to such mixed messages, they start dreaming of their future in terms of their hubby and in-laws (in some cases). They do not dream about their own future in terms of their education, profession or own home. They deny owning/upgrading their parents home as it is like a guest house where they are living for a short period. They even have little right in making decisions about their own life and future as it is the property of their future husband! In many cases girls are forced to marry as it is good for their brothers coming marriages.  

What about a girl who wants to feel like a boy in her home ? She regrets why she is born in a female body. She simply does not like the idea of leaving home or leaving home for hubby.In this case, there is no solution. She has no choice – either go for a marriage or face the curses of family members! She will never be appreciated or encouraged by doing so, rather people will blame her for increasing problems for her parents. 

Given the fact that a girl is very much protected by this way; it is a continuous pain in some of the little hearts ( aged 0 to 16). Toddler girls are unable to understand the hidden message and take it the other way round. They feel they are less loved, less welcome, and less motivated in return. They start feeling that they are not like boys or boys have many privileges in society  that they lack. They appreciate their parents for being there for them always in spite of the fact they are not staying with them forever. They feel reluctant to choose difficult professions, difficult subjects, or difficult lines in life as it will increase burden on their parents shoulder. They feel they are unable to return their parents’ blessings in shape of living together, helping them and supporting them. They feel home sickness in the very young age; lack of security; fear of unknown; and absence of parents even in the company of parents. This is the biggest reason for being inactive, aggressive (in some cases), shy, moody, agitated, depress, anxious, worried, and self-centred or non-social. These problems would lead to further cognitive and  personality disorders.

rukhsati

There are countless reasons for not giving such concepts to a female child. A child, boy or girl has equal rights upon parents even in case of conceptual background. Female child should not be discriminated against male child on the ground of living together with parents. Female child needs unconditional love as much as male child; female child should feel secure and completely loved like male child in every situation of life; female child should not be treated as she is lacking something as compared to male child in terms of rights and responsibilities; and most of all female child should be given the same space in the home as the male child throughout their life span! 

Note:

This article is written while keeping in view the Pakistani culture and customs.

What is your equation of Happiness?

2 +2 = 4

1+1+1+1= 4

3+1 + 4

5- 1 + 4

And many other equations would result into a 4 .  The number ‘4’ stands for what? Suppose it stands for your happiness; then which equation will suit you? If I write the same equations in another form, will it be better understood- Let’s see

Wealth + rich relationship = happiness

Spending + Income + parents+ friends = happiness

Sound, wealthy, rich background + health = happiness

(Educated, rich, healthy, liberal family with some abuses) – abuses = happiness

Your equation of ‘happiness’ might be one of the above equations, or it could be completely different from what I have suggested.

Not only this, you might give different weight to different aspects that would eventually define your happiness. For example,

50% wealth + 50% rich relationship = 100% happiness

30%spending+ 30%income+ 20%parents+ 20%friends = happiness

70% sound wealthy rich background + 30% friends = happiness

10 % educated wealthy rich liberal family without  90% abuses = happiness

Thus it depends on you how much weight or importance you give to your ingredients that form a full picture of happiness for you.

Never the less, it also depends on the right time. You get all well when it is according to the right situation; otherwise it will not be equal to true happiness. Astonishingly, for most of the time, we are not aware of our true equation of happiness; rather we only know when we are happy and when we aren’t. We cannot define our feelings and justify them properly.

If the above is true, you could well imagine how similar you and your friends definitions of the concepts ( HAPPINESS, LOVE, PEACE, HEALTH, WEALTH, COMFORT, CRAZY, FRIENDS, SOUL MATE, SELFISH, HELPFUL, NICE, ROMANTIC, PLEASANT, ANNOYING, IRRITATING, HATERED, STUPIDITY, SHARING, CARING, ETC.) could be!

Do You Feel Compelled To Do That?

What if you feel compelled to do something you don’t like?

What if you are bound to act in a certain way- you don’t want to?

What if you feel like to stop but can’t do it due to your circumstances?

What if you are not free to wear what you like to?

What if you can’t eat what you want to?

What if you can’t enjoy something you passionately want to?

There are countless things like the above that create depressive symptoms among us when we simply do not want to do that and we have to do that due to our so called limitations and circumstances. In such cases, psychologists have no option except to change your belief system. They would try to motivate you to see other angles of the problem rather than that you do not want to. However, it is not as simple as it seems- it deserves a hard work on your part to recreate a new building on the old remnants.

Suppose your spouse or boss likes you to wear red color in the party and you do not feel confident in doing so. Your perception of red color is not so good. You think it will look odd, funny and hot! You think this is not a better choice in any case. Your image would be spoiled among the public if you try it. So whatever is the reason; you are not willing to wear it to feel good, confident and attractive in the party. Now you have the following options to follow:

1.   Wear the red color as dictated by your boss and feel ashamed all the time.

2.   Do not wear the red color at all and make the boss angry.

3.    Wear something like half red and half blue or any other combination

4.    Wear red with confidence, pride, and pleasant feelings.

Suppose you choose option no 1.

It will make you vulnerable to depression, anxiety and stress symptoms afterwards.

Suppose you choose option no 2.

It will make your boss angry and you might get a challenging situation ahead. However, this option will make you strong, energetic and persistent in your choice and help you in dealing with similar situations in future.

Suppose you choose option no 3.

It will neither satisfy you nor your boss fully. However, there are chances that you too will pass the required time with great patience and will not disturb each other. However, this choice is the middle way that most of us adopt to lead our lives with caution and intellect.

Suppose you choose option no 4.

For the last and fourth choice, you must acknowledge the fact that your perception is wrong and you have to change it to see the desired results; otherwise you will have to make a compromise (that you do not want at all).

Now to change the perception of the red color is in itself a great deal. You have to remind yourself about the new, positive, and great impressions of the red color. For example:

1. Red is a color of life

2.Red is a color of luck in many countries of the world like china.

3.Red is a color of passion and love in psychology

4. Red is a color of energy and passion

If you are convinced about the new meanings of the color red; you will be the first person to choose red at first choice given to you. It will change your mindset, perception, and belief about the red color forever.

This technique is not limited to only ‘red-color’ ; rather it includes almost all the belief-based mental structures that provide great hindrances in our way towards the progress in work and psychological well being overall.

However, some beliefs or concepts, particularly those, based on religious teachings and cultural settings are too rigid to replace with other beliefs. And in most of the cases, we personally do not want to change them at any cost. In that case, it is more advisable to leave the situation that puts you in trouble of guilt and misery. We can fight with all kinds of troubles, hardships and mind-sets except a totally contradictory and challenging perceptual world.

Thanks

What We Perceive In Happy Mood?

We all have different kinds of aspirations, perceptions and beliefs. There are many theories about how we form them, modify and re-establish them for our purposes. Among several theories one is that we make them instantly, indirectly, and unconsciously while experiencing a unique situation or event.  This kind of concept usually becomes the base for other future concepts that would be added into it step by step from time to time. Now consider the following concrete examples for clarity purposes:

  1.   Suppose you are happy and in uplifted mood. On the way back to your home, you see a grand parent coming across your way. You smile for a while and he replies with warmth and a nice gesture. You are again on your way to home.
  2. Suppose you are happy and in great unusual spirit due to some reason. Meanwhile, your friends invite you to join to watch a movie in cinema. You go with them and watch the movie (otherwise a boring stuff for you). You come back with the same mood indeed.
  3. Suppose you are incredibly happy and in a pleasant mood. You go for a walk and do little shopping. You enter a shop and the sales person smiles at you with warmth and welcoming gestures. You roam about and come back.

In the first example, the person who came across an old man in the happiest mood ever, would never be able to forget that man in his life. Whenever he would meet someone resembling like him, he would feel a strange kind feelings and love for him. He might have forgotten the reason for that!

In the second example, the person who watched a boring movie in a real great mood, would never be able to forget that movie.  He is more likely to remember all details with good impressions than criticizing and forgetting. Those impressions are now part of that person and he is less likely to believe in the real cause of liking that movie!

In the third example, the person who meets another person while feeling great pleasant emotions would never be able to dislike that specific person. Rather he would go to that shop repeatedly unconsciously. He would love the sales persons of that shop and environment of that shop overall while ignoring the real cause of his liking.

In all of the above examples, things that convey no meanings in it self become specific and significant due to our unconscious emotional life pace. We are likely to behave better in a better mood, and we usually receive all good in return that become part of our personality eventually. So the circle of happy feelings continue to flourish and grow.

With our happy moods, negative experiences are also likely to depress and dim in degree. We usually do not pay much attention to negative people, negative circumstances or negative environment in our happiest ever moments. In rare times, negative events spoil all our happy taste, but that means that negative event has much more potential to destroy our mood than happy ones.

Mind Your Beliefs

Tensions and worries are of dissimilar varieties. Some are based on relationships, some are financial and others are conceptual. We live in a variety of cultures, thus experiences are too complex and ambiguous at a large level. Notwithstanding, our many of the troubles could be solved through a simple cognitive therapy or a therapy of belief change. When you meet with any such thing; believe me, it could be solved with a thrust button. Let me give you some more examples:

 People call me……………… and I simply do not like this word.

  1. I like to have some………..Instead of doing something about this………………..
  2. This confinement is too much, I am not ready to have it………
  3. Why he said this word…………… to me
  4. I do not like my subject……………. And prefer……………
  5. I behave not wish this color………… would like to exchange it for this color…………
  6. I suppose I should not do this in…………. Way
  7. I do not like this chore………..I would do instead…………. Chore

Belief can be replaced by another belief-similar in nature, with similar argument and convincing thought. When your anxiety provoking belief is creating a substantial injury in your emotional life; you need to replace it. This is a little tricky process, merely after holding it fixed you will be out of trouble forever.

When you suppose you prefer this to that and what you prefer is not within your reach, you necessitate to alter your mindset or feeling. As there is no other way left to deal with such a problem. Normally you are not ready to leave your principle, belief, concept or prospect; as that is your identity, passion and ego. Realistically, you have to deal with it: either work to attain what you want or leave it forever with a convincing idea. For the second strategy, you demand to convince yourself that your opinion is wrong indeed.

To convince yourself that your opinion is faulty or ineffective; you have to struggle with finding another comparative belief with the power to supersede the senior one. It should be more convincing in terms of impact and more overpowering in terms of settling in the brain. Allow me to present you some lessons of genuine change:

When my son is crazy for one specific toy, I try to shift his attention by replacing the belief with some other similar but cheap options. If he is asking for a car (expensive one); I will show him another car (not expensive) but with some distinguish feature. I will not show him the cat, hen, or plane to change his concept.

You do not like something for some special reason in your mind; that specific thing can also be adored for some exceptional reason (you do not know by chance). Try to find that special thing that could convince you to change your mindset. When you do not like someone for some reason; you could like him/her too for another reason (if you try to find that).

To conclude, we need to convince ourselves positively that we are blessed in the best possible way. We can see many reasons for being happy and satisfied instead of feeling regret or resented. The things we do not like, can become our passion and people we do not want to face, can become our best allies. Though it requires a hard work from our side from going through a long and persistent process of seeking, researching and establishing new relevant concepts, to replacing them with the previous ones instantly.  Have you ever tried that? No, do it with me any time.