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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rukhsati: A Tragedy Of The Women Of Pakistan

rukhsati

source : retrieved from Google images. Just search ‘rukhsati’ on google, or on you tube; you will get it all what it means to Parents of Pakistan.

Parents who are symbol of love, care, blessing and happiness for the children are sometimes perceived as strangers, caretakers, and home owners. Parents who should give unconditional love to their children, in some parts of the world, extend their love to their children if they belong to a specific gender-male. For girls, their love is temporary, conditional and very much hypocritical. In almost each and every part of Pakistan:

  1. Daughters are taken as guests in the parent’s home until they are married.
  2. Girls are supposed to leave their parental home forever on wedding day (a tradition called Rukhsati)
  3. Sons are expected to live with their parents and take care of them.
  4. Daughters are expected not to visit their parents often after marriage
  5. Son is usually discouraged to see his in-laws often
  6. Daughters are supposed to do house chores and obey their husbands /in-laws
  7. Most parents think it is a matter of their great honor ( in the most negative way) or they will kill their daughters if:
    • Their daughter gets a divorce and come back due to any reason
    • Their daughter is raped or abused
    • Their daughter comes back due to facing brutality and cruelty of in-laws
    • Their daughter comes back due to having husbands rude, unfair and constantly demanding attitude
    • Their daughter is simply not ready to get married
    • Their daughter is having an affair  or on date
    • their daughter wants to live independently and alone
    • their daughter wants to live with her parents forever

In short, parents that are the only hope of children in this cruel world to welcome them, comfort them and console them in time of need and grief; in Pakistan girls are very much deprived of that ever lasting shadow of pure and powerful loving background. Girls, to some extent, receive their share of love and care from almost all kinds of parents; however that love is not enough to provide them with the energy to fight for their rights and live happily ever after. In life love is not the solution of every practical problem; rather we need to enforce some laws, rules, regulations to administer the social evils wisely. The traditions that cause discrimination, feelings of helplessness and flourish injustice, abuse and cruelty/atrocity among society members at a large scale, must be banned. We are not born to follow traditions blindly; rather traditions are established to comfort and facilitate us in a better way. Hope,  people and especially parents would think twice before saying their girls a guest in their homes.

When  A Long Abusive Relationship Starts Flourishing!

Calamities are of different kinds: bad health, bad relationship, bad weather, bad results, bad luck and many more. We are always prone to divert our attention to them more than our fortunes: good health, good relationship, good weather, good results, good luck and many other goods. This is our nature. Being a human, we should save ourselves first from bad episodes of life, then should think about our good things. Safety always comes first . So do not worry about it.

When it comes to dealing with bad episodes, we need to think more. It is not always a quick fix when it comes to relationship puzzles. We for most of the time, cannot understand the other person from his/her behavior/gesture or attitude visible to naked eyes. We become such a fool that we even could not recognize our fault of misperception for years.

The question is why? Why the time comes when you start feeling regret? Why you waste your time in assessing your partner’s gestures and could not reach a better conclusion soon? Why you permit yourself to be indulged into a fake and critical relationship? Why you close your eyes? Why not, you take a step immediately, right after smelling something wrong?

In the third world countries, we know the answer. We respect our traditions more than our lives. We try to keep our customs alive than keeping our relationship healthy. We are bound to follow a path we are destined for. We, especially the women, are not economically independent and are not safe at all so we have no other choice except to accept all whether it is wrong or right. Women crush their wills, desires, wishes, wants, needs and spend a life that was designed for them either by their fathers, brothers or so called husbands. They do not play dead rather they are dead!

For the girls who want to learn something about the relationship, my advice is that, ‘ be alert’.  When you feel you are being cheated, stop there. When your sixth sense advises you not to go to the date- do not go. You should not try to become over empathetic when the other person ignores you for whatever the reason is. The abuse is abuse irrespective of its nature or deep reasons. The other person who is intentionally ignoring you, is not something to ignore. Believe me things either settle down at the time they are happening or they never settle down. Giving time to your abuser is equal to prolonging your disease with its worse side effects!

You know cancer is such a horrible word that nobody wants to hear about it. The relationship that we could not fix in time, will develop into a cancer in your heart and that cancer will never be re routed successfully. Unfortunately, you will have no time left to fix it  or It will be too late for you to decide about your relationship.

Therefore, If you are in the beginning and you feel that your partner is not behaving as per he/she should – stop there. Do not waste your time in judging and judging and judging. When you start living in your comfort zone, it is next to impossible to leave that. You become selfish, scary, hesitant, and passive with the passing time. Like a slowly effecting poison, you are taking your life day by day!

I do not mean that you do not compromise- rather I mean to compromise with vigilance and with full acknowledgment that you are doing it consciously.  We have doctors who warn us about upcoming diseases and possible precautions, we remember all healthy tips by heart to stay healthy, we take medicines to fight with side effects but when it comes to relationships, we listen to our heart and close our brain-eyes. We want to live in dreams and those dreams do not let us live according to our will. Therefore, it is worth keeping track of all your decisions and get tips from the professionals in time to save your future and its related happiness.

Cheers!