The What, Why and How of Gender Inequality
In the eyes of society, gender has a rather significant role to play. From birth to death, our gender heavily influences our choices - how we dress, where we go, what we study, what careers we choose. In a way, gender unites but divides too. It is this division that gives rise to inequality and gender discrimination.
A lot has changed over the years. Bulky handhelds have become sleek sophisticated smartphones. Horse-drawn carriages have become electric cars. Handwritten notes and letters have become emails and WhatsApp messages. But as far as gender roles are concerned, there isn't a lot that has changed. But why?
The Why of Gender Inequality
They say the past informs the present and in the case of gender inequality, this holds particularly true. The sad reality is that gender inequality has been around forever. Literally. There are multiple reasons for this. Let's take a look at some of them!
Biological and Psychological Differences Between Men and Women
If we look at the prehistoric man, it becomes clearer. Men, being physically stronger were the primary food gatherers (thereby being directly responsible for protecting their tribe and family) while the women took care of the children. Fast forward to now and this is all still the same. Men are supposed to be the primary earners while women look after the family and do household chores. Women are often even expected to give up their careers for a family.
Even in terms of psychology, men are predisposed to being more aggressive and risk-takers. This is again largely because of all those years of genetic tuning. We're, in a way, hardwired to behave in certain manners and possess certain traits. Women are, on average, more empathetic and milder than men. This is a huge contributing factor to gender inequality and differences.
While there are certain characteristics and behaviours, we show because of the reasons mentioned above, a large part of why gender inequality and gender roles exist is because of the rampant stereotyping. The sad part is that we're exposed to these stereotypes from a very early age and now it all seems to be a part of us. How many times have you heard people joke about women being terrible drivers or men being emotional? How often do you come across someone remarking that pink is a colour for girls? Why do we all assume that women are poor at math while men can't paint? All these sexist jokes have gone on to create these stereotypes.
Gender Pay Gap
Gender inequality and unequal pay are interrelated, with one leading to the other and vice versa. There's this preconceived notion in our heads that women are less competent than men. This has been a contributing factor to the unequal pay. If a man and a woman are doing the same job, there should be no reason why they both should not be paid the same. Yet, incomes differ and this is wrong. Individuals should be assessed on their quality of work and education instead of gender.
Women Against Women
An unfortunate reality is that women don't support each other. If one woman is rising up the corporate ladder, how often will she find support in another woman? How often do we hear news about busted prostitution rings where women exploit other women? As women and as humans, we must stand together and put the snideness and insecurities at bay.
The Challenges of Being a Woman or a Man
Women tend to face double the challenges as men. As a woman, you're supposed to give time to your children, in-laws, husband, cooking, cleaning, working and a lot many other things. More often than not, for a woman, the cost of having a family and children is a career. There's this crazy notion in our minds that a woman needs someone - be it a husband or children. Why? Why can't a woman be enough on her own, as an individual?
Men face different challenges. There are all these expectations - 'real' men don't cry. Men don't have moments of weakness. It's not manly to be afraid. It's not manly to show emotions. Why? Are men not humans? We all have thoughts, feelings and emotions? Why is it that men have to be serious all the time and women can't talk about serious issues? Why do we tie ourselves down with all these age-old expectations and beliefs?
At Myra Veda, we are strong believers of gender equality. We believe gender equality is key to truly prospering as a society. We believe in uplifting women which is why we share profits with the Nanhi Kali Foundation that supports girl child education. Be it a girl or boy, every human matters and everyone deserves equal opportunities. So let us unite in eradicating gender inequality and work towards a truly progressive society!