Concept of Gender : Prof. Vibhuti Patel

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Concept of Gender:

1 Concept of Gender Dr. Vibhuti Patel, DIRECTOR, P.G.S. R. Professor and Head, Post Graduate Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University, Smt. Nathibai Thakersey Road, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020 Tel  91) (22) 22052970 Mobile-9321040048 E mail:


2 Gender refers to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships between women and men and girls and boys, as well as the relations b 2 2 etween women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialization processes. They are context/ time-specific and changeable

Difference between Sex and Gender: ‘Sex’ Versus ‘Gender’:

3 Difference between Sex and Gender : ‘Sex’ Versus ‘Gender’ Sex is a biological term and gender refers to the sex of the individual after socialization. Sex refers to biological difference between men and women. Gender is a social construct that defines social relationship between men and women. Women belong to the feminine gender because during the process of growing up, certain culturally constructed feminine traits are inculcated into them, right from the birth .

Gender Differentiation:

4 Gender Differentiation Unequal treatment Unequal opportunities Unequal chances of upward mobility Biased evaluation Differential attributes for same contribution End Result: Gender discrimination

Gender equality: :

5 Gender equality: Equality between women and men refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men.

Gender Equity :

6 Gender Equity the process of being fair to men and women. To ensure fairness, measures must often be put in place to compensate for the historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from operating on a level playing field. Equity is a means. Equality is the result. Gender equity denotes an element of interpretation of social justice, usually based on tradition, custom, religion or culture, which is most often to the detriment to women

Empowerment of Women :

7 Empowerment of Women concerns women gaining power and control over their own lives. It involves awareness-raising, building self-confidence, expansion of choices, increased access to and control over resources and actions to transform the structures and institutions which reinforce and perpetuate gender discrimination and inequality. The process of empowerment is as important as the goal. Empowerment comes from within; women empower themselves. Inputs to promote the empowerment of women should facilitate women’s articulation of their needs and priorities and a more active role in promoting these interests and needs.


8 Empowerment is about people -both women and men- taking control over their lives: setting their own agendas, gaining skills, building self-confidence, solving problems and developing self-reliance. No one can empower another: only the individual can empower herself or himself to make choices or to speak out. However, institutions including international cooperation agencies can support processes that can nurture self-empowerment of individuals or groups.

Oppression and Exploitation:

9 Oppression and Exploitation Any form of dehumnisation and degradation, violence and injustice, terrorization and humiliation, intimidation and threat, subordination and discrimination is considered as ‘OPPRESSION’, while ‘Exploitation’ has an economic connotation. In a Marxian sense, it is an extraction of ‘surplus labour’ (that generates profit) over and above ‘necessary labour’ that an individual does for his/her subsistence.


10 Socialisation is defined as the process through which the self acquires the rules, social recipes, conceptions of appropriate conduct and knowledge that allows them to act in their socio-cultural-political world. It is a mechanism of cultural transmission. Gender socialization means the process by which the individual is taught to internalize socially determined values of appropriate masculine traits and feminine traits.

Social Construction:

11 Social Construction They are the analytical tools to examine individual’s unfolding capacity to complex forms of behaviour and direct those capacities to new ethos/values to create new personalities. In gender analysis, these analytical tools are used to bring a change from ‘gender biased’ or ‘gender neutral’ attitude to ‘gender aware’ and ‘gender sensitive’ attitude.


12 Patriarchy Patriarchy is an institution that perpetuates male domination and female subordination. It sustains power relations that discriminate against girls and women in the households and in the economy. It attributes ‘private’ realm to women and ‘public’ domain to men. Pillars of patriarchy are family, kinship network, state, religion and media- PANCH MAHABHOOTA. In a patriarchal society, the line of inheritance passes from father to son known as Patrilineage. The patriarchal order is Patrilocal i.e after marriage, the bride is expected to go to the groom’s residence.


13 Matriarchy Matriarchal institutions are mother centered. In this system, the line of inheritance is from mother to daughter, known as Matrilineage. After marriage, groom goes to brides house termed as Matrilocal.

Gender Based Division of labour :

14 Gender Based Division of labour has existed in all societies for thousands of years. In India, it is based on the ideology of male dominance, caste and social norms of ‘purity and pollution’. It is also based upon the notion that women are physically weaker than men and are not suited for physically arduous tasks. Women’s biological tasks of monthly menstruation and pregnancy, confined them to subsistence economy such as lowly paid agricultural work, handicrafts and also household work.

 Gender and the Process of Economic Development:

15 Gender and the Process of Economic Development The incorporation of subsistence economies into ‘modern’ market economies has brought into question the traditional gender-based division of labour as an organizing principle in the rural and urban sector because of the basic injustice it perpetuates. Women end up doing the least skilled work and are underpaid or are expected to contribute to survival needs of the family without any corresponding benefits. Esther Boserup in her pioneering work brought to fore African women’s crucial contribution towards food security and explained the political economy of polygamy in Africa that allowed men to concentrate and centralize economic resources thro’ unpaid and backbreaking labour of women and children in the subsistence economy that did not have much animal resources for cultivation of land.

Gender mainstreaming :

16 Gender mainstreaming Gender mainstreaming is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. The calls for increased gender mainstreaming are not only for increased gender balance within the institutions but for increased attention to gender perspectives and the goal of gender equality in their work. Gender mainstreaming does not entail developing separate women’s projects within work programmes, or even women’s components within existing activities in the work programmes. It requires that attention is given to gender perspectives as an integral part of all activities across all programmes. This involves making gender perspectives – what women and men do and the resources and decision-making processes they have access to – more central to all policy development, research, advocacy, development, implementation and monitoring of norms and standards, and planning, implementation and monitoring of projects

Gender Analysis :

17 Gender Analysis is the collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated information. Men and women both perform different roles. This leads to women and men having different experience, knowledge, talents and needs. Gender analysis explores these differences so policies, programmes and projects can identify and meet the different needs of men and women. Gender analysis also facilitates the strategic use of distinct knowledge and skills possessed by women and men.

Sex-Disaggregated Data :

18 Sex-Disaggregated Data Data that is collected and presented separately on men and women. UN INSTRAW The Planning commission of India National Sample survey Sample Registration System Census of India

Origin of gender mainstreaming strategy :

19 Origin of gender mainstreaming strategy Efforts in the 1970s shifted instead to integrating attention to women into all activities rather than keeping women on the sidelines of development. However the gains made through the integration strategy were limited by the fact that most efforts were undertaken too late in processes when all important decisions on goals, strategies and resources had already been taken.

The Platform for Action (Beijing Conference, 1995 :

20 The Platform for Action (Beijing Conference, 1995 made it very clear that gender analysis is the first essential step in the mainstreaming strategy. Before any decisions are taken in any area of societal development an analysis should be made of the current responsibilities and contributions of both women and men and the potential impact of planned processes and activities on women and men respectively.

Agency for gender mainstreaming :

21 Agency for gender mainstreaming Gender specialists should, however, have new roles – catalysing, advising and supporting the efforts of others rather than doing mainstreaming themselves. Effective roles for gender specialists requires adequate allocation of resources, clear mandates and strategic location within organizations. Specialists require the strong support of, and direct access to, senior management levels.

Process of gender mainstreaming:

22 Process of gender mainstreaming The first step required is an assessment of the linkages between gender equality and the issue or sector being worked on, that is, to identify the gender implications of working on, for example, environment, poverty elimination, health development, and all other areas of development. This involves understanding why promotion of gender equality is important for securing human rights / social justice for both women and men, as well as for achievement of development goals.

Gender Mainstreaming:

23 Gender Mainstreaming Secondly the opportunities for introducing gender perspectives need to be identified in the work tasks undertaken. These opportunities or entry-points can be found in research and analysis, policy development, use of statistics, training events and workshops/conferences, as well as in planning and implementing projects and programmes.

Gender Mainstreaming:

24 Gender Mainstreaming Thirdly an approach or methodology has to be identified for successfully incorporating gender perspectives into these work tasks in a manner which facilitates influencing goals, strategies, resource allocation and outcomes. This could include, for example, giving attention to gender perspectives and the goal of gender equality in terms or reference and job descriptions. Institutional development , in terms of developing guidelines, utilizing gender specialists, providing competence development for all personnel, etc., is also required to support gender mainstreaming.

Thank You:

25 Thank You

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