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Gender is the wide set of characteristics that are seen to distinguish between female and male members of
a species, in most animals including humans as well as many plants. It can extend from biological sex to, in
humans and some other animals, a social role or gender identity. As a word, it has more than one valid
definition. In ordinary speech, it is used interchangeably with "sex" to denote the condition of being male or
female. In the social sciences, however, it refers specifically to socially constructed and institutionalized
differences such as gender roles. The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, uses "gender" to
refer to "the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers
appropriate for men and women. Some cultures have distinct gender-related social roles that are distinct
from male and female, such as the hijra of India and Pakistan.

While the social sciences and gender studies approach gender as a social construct, the natural sciences,
regard biological and behavioral differences in females and males as influencing the development of gender
in humans; both inform debate about how far biological differences influence gender identity formation.
Biologist and feminist academic Anne Fausto-Sterling rejects the discourse of biological versus social
determinism and advocates a deeper analysis of how interactions between the biological being and the
social environment influence individuals' capacities.

The word gender comes from the Middle English gendre, a loanword from Norman-conquest-era Old
French. This, in turn, came from Latin genus. Both words mean 'kind', 'type', or 'sort'. They derive ultimately
from a widely attested Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root gen-, which is also the source of kin, kind, king, and
many other English words. It appears in Modern French in the word genre (type, kind, also genre sexuel)
and is related to the Greek root gen- (to produce), appearing in gene, genesis, and oxygen. As a verb, it
means breed in the King James Bible:

Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind

Leviticus 19:19, 1616

Most uses of the root gen- in Indo-European languages refer either directly to what pertains to birth (for
example pre-gn-ant) or, by extension, to natural, innate qualities and their consequent social distinctions (for
example gentry, generation, gentile, genocide and eugenics). The first edition of the Oxford English
Dictionary (OED1, Volume 4, 1900) notes the original meaning of gender as 'kind' had already become

"Femininity" and "masculinity"

The use of gender to refer to masculinity and femininity as types is attested throughout the history of Modern
English (from about the 14th century).


No mo genders been there but masculine, and femynyne, all the remnaunte been no genders but of grace,
in facultie of grammar Thomas Usk, The Testament of Love II iii (Walter William Skeat) 13.

c. 1460

Has thou oght written there of the femynyn gendere? Towneley Mystery Plays xxx 161 Act One.

Here's a woman! The soul of Hercules has got into her. She has a spirit, is more masculine Than the first
gender Shackerley Marmion, Holland's Leaguer III iv.


The Psyche, or soul, of Tiresias is of the masculine gender Thomas Browne, Hydriotaphia.


Of the fair sex ... my only consolation for being of that gender has been the assurance it gave me of never
being married to any one among them Mary Wortley Montagu, Letters to Mrs Wortley lxvi 108.


I may add the gender too of the person I am to govern Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey Through
France and Italy.


Black divinities of the feminine gender Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.


It is exactly as if there were a sex in mountains, and their contours and curves and complexions were here
all of the feminine gender Henry James, 'A Chain of Italian Cities', The Atlantic Monthly 33 (February, p.


She was uncertain as to his gender Robert Grant, 'Reflections of a Married Man', Scribner's Magazine 11
(March, p. 376.)


As to one's success in the work one does, surely that is not a question of gender either Daily News 17

c. 1900

Our most lively impression is that the sun is there assumed to be of the feminine gender Henry James,
Essays on Literature.

According to Aristotle, the Greek philosopher Protagoras used the terms "masculine," "feminine," and
"neuter" to classify nouns, introducing the concept of grammatical gender.

The classes (gen) of the nouns are males, females and things.

Aristotle, The Technique of Rhetoric III

The words for this concept are not related to gen- in all Indo-European languages (for example, rod in Slavic

The usage of gender in the context of grammatical distinctions is a specific and technical usage.

However, in English, the word became attested more widely in the context of grammar, than in making
sexual distinctions.

This was noted in OED1, prompting Henry Watson Fowler to recommend this usage as the primary and
preferable meaning of gender in English.

"Gender...is a grammatical term only. To talk of persons...of the masculine or feminine g[ender], meaning of
the male or female sex, is either a jocularity (permissible or not according to context) or a blunder.

The sense of this can be felt by analogy with a modern expression like "persons of the female persuasion." It
should be noted, however, that this was a recommendation, neither the Daily News nor Henry James
citations (above) are "jocular" nor "blunders." Additionally, patterns of usage of gender have substantially
changed since Fowler's day (noun class above, and sexual stereotype below).

Sociological gender
Gender identity is the gender a person self-identifies as. The concept of being a woman is considered to
have more challenges, due to society not only viewing women as a social category but also as a felt sense
of self, a culturally conditioned or constructed subjective identity. The term "woman" has chronically been
used as a reference to and for the female body; this usage has been viewed as controversial by feminists, in
the definement of "woman". There are qualitative analyses that explore and present the representations of
gender; feminists challenge the dominant ideologies concerning gender roles and sex. Social identity refers
to the common identification with a collectivity or social category which creates a common culture among
participants concerned. According to social identity theory, an important component of the self-concept is
derived from memberships in social groups and categories; this is demonstrated by group processes and
how inter-group relationships impact significantly on individuals' self perception and behaviors. The groups
to which people belong will therefore provide their members with the definition of who they are and how they
should behave in the social sphere.

Categorizing males and females into social roles creates binaries, in which individuals feel they have to be
at one end of a linear spectrum and must identify themselves as man or woman. Globally, communities
interpret biological differences between men and women to create a set of social expectations that define
the behaviors that are "appropriate" for men and women and determine womens and mens different access
to rights, resources, and power in society. Although the specific nature and degree of these differences vary
from one society to the next, they typically favor men, creating an imbalance in power and gender
inequalities in all countries.

Western philosopher Michel Foucault claimed that as sexual subjects, humans are the object of power,
which is not a institution or structure, rather it is signifier or name attributed to "complex strategical situation".
Because of this, "power" is what determines individual attributes, behaviors, etc. and people are a part of an
ontologically and epistemologically constructed set of names and labels. Such as, being female
characterizes one as a woman, and being a woman signifies one as weak, emotional, and irrational, and is
incapable of actions attributed to a "man". Judith Butler said gender and sex are more like verbs than nouns.
She reasoned that her actions are limited. "I am not permitted to construct my gender and sex willy-nilly,"
she said. "[This] is so because gender is politically and therefore socially controlled. Rather than 'woman'
being something one is, it is something one does. There are more recent criticisms of Judith Butler's theories
which critique her writing for reinforcing the very conventional dichotomies of gender.

Gender Discrimination History of America

During the early years of this country, women were not entitled to the same rights and privileges as men.
Women were not allowed to vote and were usually required to surrender control of their property to their
husband upon marriage. Moreover, their educational and occupational opportunities were severely limited. It
was commonly believed that a woman's place was in the home, raising children and tending to domestic

The first real efforts to achieve equality for women occurred in the 1800s. During the early part of that
century, coeducational studies at the university level were offered for the first time. State laws were passed
which allowed women to retain their property after marriage. Also, the first women's rights convention was
held. Many who supported women's rights became active in the abolitionist movement during the Civil War
era. Some even became well-known public orators, an uncommon occupation for women at the time.

The quest for equality continued after the Civil War. In 1869, the Wyoming Territory passed a law which
allowed women to vote and serve on juries. Several other western territories and states subsequently
granted women the right to vote. Women's rights advocates were outraged that the Fifteenth Amendment,
which was ratified in 1870, prohibited the states from denying voting rights on the ground of race, but not on
the basis of sex. In 1878, Congress considered a Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.
Although the amendment failed, it was revitalized every year for a period of 40 years. The movement for
women's suffrage was led, among others, by Susan B. Anthony, who was arrested for voting in a
presidential election, and by Lucy Stone, who was one of the first American women to retain her maiden
name after marriage. In 1920, women were finally given the constitutional right to vote in the Nineteenth
Amendment, which provided that "[t]he right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

The women's rights movement lost its impetus after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. It was not
until the 1960s that it regained its momentum. With more women rejecting the traditional role of housewife
and entering the work force, there was an increased demand for equal rights and opportunities. In response,
Congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits employers from discriminating against
employees on the ground of sex with respect to the terms of compensation. The following year, Congress
enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination in employment on the basis of
sex, among other grounds. Males, as well as females, have been granted protection against sex
discrimination under both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.

In 1972, Congress submitted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the states for ratification. Basically, the
ERA barred all discrimination on the ground of sex. However, the ERA suffered defeat after the necessary
number of states failed to ratify it within the mandatory ten-year deadline. To date, women are still struggling
with the issue of equality in their personal and professional relationships. Thirty-five years after the passage
of the Equal Pay Act, women have still not achieved equality in wages.

Discrimination is treating someone unfairly or less favorably because of a personal characteristic. In Victoria
it is against the law to discriminate against someone because of their actual or assumed gender identity. For
example, requiring women and men to use separate restrooms does not constitute sex discrimination. But it
is sex discrimination to provide different working conditions, salaries, hiring, promotion or bonus criteria to
women and men.
Prejudice and discrimination have been prevalent throughout human history. Prejudice has to do with the
inflexible and irrational attitudes and opinions held by members of one group about another, while
discrimination refers to behaviors directed against another group. Being prejudiced usually means having
preconceived beliefs about groups of people or cultural practices. Prejudices can either be positive or
negativeboth forms are usually preconceived and difficult to alter. The negative form of prejudice can lead
to discrimination, although it is possible to be prejudiced and not act upon the attitudes. Those who practice
discrimination do so to protect opportunities for themselves by denying access to those whom they believe
do not deserve the same treatment as everyone else. Gender discrimination can involve a whole gamut of
issues, from unequal pay to women being portrayed as sexual objects in the media to wives being beaten up
by their spouses. While in theory gender discrimination can affect both men and women, however, it is
women who have been at the receiving end through the ages and across cultures, since most cultures in the
world are patriarchal, or male dominated. The major determinants of gender discrimination include the social
setup, culture, religion, geographical conditions, economic setup, moral standards and education level of the
society. All these factors individually or in combination make up the face of gender discrimination.

Social scientists have also identified some common social factors that may contribute to the presence of
prejudice and discrimination:

1.Socialization. Many prejudices seem to be passed along from parents to children. The media
including television, movies, and advertisingalso perpetuate demeaning images and stereotypes about
assorted groups, such as ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians, the disabled, and the elderly.

2.Conforming behaviors. Prejudices may bring support from significant others, so rejecting prejudices
may lead to losing social support. The pressures to conform to the views of families, friends, and associates
can be formidable.

3.Economic benefits. Social studies have confirmed that prejudice especially rises when groups are in
direct competition for jobs. This may help to explain why prejudice increases dramatically during times of
economic and social stress.

4.Authoritarian personality. In response to early socialization, some people are especially prone to
stereotypical thinking and projection based on unconscious fears. People with an authoritarian personality
rigidly conform, submit without question to their superiors, reject those they consider to be inferiors, and
express intolerant sexual and religious opinions. The authoritarian personality may have its roots in parents
who are unloving and aloof disciplinarians. The child then learns to control his or her anxieties via rigid

5.Ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the tendency to evaluate others' cultures by one's own cultural
norms and values. It also includes a suspicion of outsiders. Most cultures have their ethnocentric
tendencies, which usually involve stereotypical thinking.

6.Group closure. Group closure is the process whereby groups keep clear boundaries between
themselves and others. Refusing to marry outside an ethnic group is an example of how group closure is

7.Conflict theory. Under conflict theory, in order to hold onto their distinctive social status, power, and
possessions, privileged groups are invested in seeing that no competition for resources arises from minority
groups. The powerful may even be ready to resort to extreme acts of violence against others to protect their
interests. As a result, members of underprivileged groups may retaliate with violence in an attempt to
improve their circumstances.
Discrimination, in its sociological meaning, involves highly complex social processes. The term derives from
the Latin discrimination, which means to perceive distinctions among phenomena or to be selective in one's
judgment. Cognitive psychology retains the first of these meanings, popular usage the second. Individual
behavior that limits the opportunities of a particular group is encompassed in many sociological
considerations of discrimination. But exclusively individualistic approaches are too narrow for robust
sociological treatment. Instead, sociologists understand discrimination not as isolated individual acts, but as
a complex system of social relations that produces intergroup inequities in social outcomes.

This definitional expansion transforms "discrimination" into a truly sociological concept. But in its breadth,
the sociological definition leaves room for ambiguity and controversy. Obstacles to consensus on what
constitutes discrimination stem from two sourcesone empirical, the other ideological and political. First,
deficiencies in analysis and evidence limit our ability to trace thoroughly the dynamic web of effects
produced by discrimination. Second, because social discrimination is contrary to professed national values
and law, a judgment that unequal outcomes reflect discrimination is a call for costly remedies. Variable
willingness to bear those social costs contributes to dissension about the extent of discrimination.

The broadest sociological definitions of discrimination assume that racial minorities, women, and other
historical target groups have no inherent characteristics that warrant inferior social outcomes.

Types of gender discrimination:-

Sexism in the Workplace: A unique form of sex discrimination is sexual harassment. Women and
men have the right to secure and perform their jobs free of unwanted demands for romantic or sexual
relationships, or unwanted communications or behaviors of a sexual nature that interfere with their ability to
work. From being sexually harassed by male colleagues to women getting paid less for the same jobs to
preferential treatment given by male bosses to more compliant women, whom they dont consider a threat,
to stronger female colleagues being undercut for openly challenging the conventional gender roles they are
supposed to conform to, to discussing female colleagues or making jokes about them in a denigrating
manner, gender discrimination exists to some degree in most workplaces.

According to the United Nations, there is not a single society where women are not discriminated against, or
have equal opportunities as men. Even in countries in the West where womens emancipation has bettered
the lives of countless women, they still experience the unfairness of the glass ceiling, wherein women just
do not get promoted beyond a certain level. According to the Glass Ceiling Commission in the U.S., about
95-97% of the senior managerial posts in countrys largest corporations are held by men.

The United Nations had concluded that women often experience a "glass ceiling" and that there are no
societies in which women enjoy the same opportunities as men. The term "glass ceiling" is used to describe
a perceived barrier to advancement in employment based on discrimination, especially sex discrimination.

In the United States in 1995, the Glass Ceiling Commission, a government-funded group, stated: "Over half
of all Masters degrees are now awarded to women, yet 95% of senior-level managers, of the top Fortune
1000 industrial and 500 service companies are men. Of them, 97% are white." In its report, it recommended
affirmative action, which is the consideration of an employee's gender and race in hiring and promotion
decisions, as a means to end this form of discrimination. In 2008, women accounted for 51% of all workers
in the high-paying management, professional, and related occupations. They outnumbered men in such
occupations as public relations managers; financial managers; and human resource managers.

The China's leading headhunter, Chinahr.com, reported in 2007 that the average salary for white-collar men
was 44,000 yuan ($6,441), compared with 28,700 yuan ($4,201) for women.
The PwC research found that among FTSE 350 companies in the United Kingdom in 2002 almost 40% of
senior management posts were occupied by women. When that research was repeated in 2007, the number
of senior management posts held by women had fallen to 22%.

Gender Discrimination and Religion: Practically all religions in the world are male
dominated, and most gender discrimination have their roots in these religions, with women being relegated
to a much lower level than men. She is regarded as unclean when she menstruates, she becomes
untouchable after childbirth until she undergoes a ritual cleansing, she is described as a temptress or a
whore in the scriptures, she has to cover herself from head to foot in order not to weaken the mans purity of
resolve, she is supposed to have been created by God from Adams rib, and that too as an afterthought, and
God is a man of course! From being burnt at the stake accused of being witches to honor killings that still
continue in places like India, Pakistan, and other Islamic countries, to undergoing fasts for the well-being of
her husband all religions have always discriminated against women and continue to do so.

Gender Discrimination in Developing Countries: If women in the emancipated West are

still continuing for justice and equal rights for women, the girl-child and woman in developing countries have
a plethora of discriminatory practices which continue to keep them trammeled. From being sold into the sex-
trafficking trade, to rape, to child abuse, to sex-selective abortion, to infanticide, to neglect, to dowry deaths
and honor killings, discrimination against females is a stark reality that affects large portions of the society
across these countries.

Women the world over are still regarded as passive or weak or sexual objects. There is still a long way to go
to attain gender parity. Women continue to fight for respect, justice, and equality. Gender discrimination has
to be resisted wherever it exists. Whereas in the developing world it can be achieved by widespread
education and economic independence, in the developed world, women must continue to break all the glass
ceiling barriers, to achieve equal parity with men in every field, while continuing to sensitize men about the
issues of sexism and gender discrimination.

Gender difference in Pakistan

Women in Pakistan, to the social and cultural conditions, are more disadvantaged than the women in
modern western democratic societies. Educated and professional women in urban areas who are from
upper class of the society, enjoy much better status and rights than illiterate women in rural areas. In rural
areas, women are discouraged in attaining higher education just for the sake of avoiding the time when
women can lead man while in urban areas, women are encouraged to get educated, so girls energetically
join the technical courses but after getting technically or professionally qualified they are not granted
permission to work, this is the reason we don't find girls at offices as much as we find men.

This is a major drawback as it leads a nation towards economic disaster as half the nation in the form of girls
if won't participate then economic will diminish. They are not allowed to participate in economic activities and
hence their professional qualification goes in the bin. The story of social and economic injustice with
reference to gender discrimination is very long. As it exists in almost all the societies. Girls excel in
academics so more girls avail admissions in medical colleges. After getting qualified as M.B.B.S, majority
girls do not practice due to our social factors.

In villages, girls are usually not asked whom do they want to marry; parents just fix wedding dates of their
daughters to the groom of their choice. Such injustice discourage females at higher level. This is a point of
sorry. Male should accept the existence of females and should help them to work like them.

Gender Discrimination
The News, Opinion - July 27, 2002
Rasul Bakhsh Rais
No other issue is so contentious and well-debated in the politics of contemporary societies as the question of
gender and politics. Women activists all over the world have begun to question political inequality among the
sexes. They have raised fundamental questions about the essence of male-dominated democratic system in
which women find themselves formally or informally excluded from political power. In recent decades, they
have focused on the vital issues of empowerment, rights, social and political equality and discrimination in its
all forms. The feminist movement even in a male dominated, socially conservative society like Pakistan has
brought into sharp focus more or less the same issues about the social status of the women and their
inadequate representation in the political power and participation in politics.

The feminist movement around the world reach startlingly the same conclusions on the issue of gender and
political power. Although women in different parts of the world face different problems and confront different
challenges and the feminist movement has many shades and strands, all of them, irrespective of the nature
of societies they live in, strike a common tone: a) All modern societies are governed by males; b) Women in
all societies have subordinate roles; c) Male dominance is not a natural but cultural phenomenon that must

Change in gender relationships, self-empowerment of women and getting the first principle of democracy
and equality accepted are some of the themes that are at the centre of women's political movement.
Pakistan is no exception. But the women in Pakistan mainly due to the social and cultural conditions are
more disadvantaged than the women in modern western democratic societies. Their struggle, perhaps as
old as the country itself, has not evoked the same responses and has not achieved the same results either.

What is heartening is that women in Pakistan are getting more organised, with their activists highly
educated, skilled and articulate. And all women groups have a clear vision and a convincing agenda of more
forward-looking politics than that of the males in the Pakistani society. Yet, they have to travel a long
distance before they get equal rights or increase their share in different professions or in political power.
What holds the women in Pakistan back? Why very few women compared to their substantial numbers,
roughly fifty percent of the population, exercise or seek to exercise political power?

Educated and professional women in urban areas and from upper classes of the society enjoy much better
status and rights than illiterate women in rural areas. Women in tribal areas of Balochistan, Frontier province
and remote areas of southern Punjab and interior Sindh live in more adverse social conditions than women
in other parts of the country. Although honour killings, domestic violence and discrimination by the male
members of the families are too common in these areas, they are not confined there alone.

The Indian experience of gender discrimination

India represents a picture of contrasts when it comes to education and employment opportunities for girls.
Cultural, social and economic factors still prevent girls from getting education opportunities so the question
of equality is still a mirage.

However, the rural and the urban areas present a contrast.

In the rural areas the girl child is made to perform household and agricultural chores. This is one of the
many factors limiting girls education. Cleaning the house, preparing the food, looking after their siblings, the
elderly and the sick, grazing the cattle and collecting firewood are some of the key tasks they have to
perform. Households are therefore reluctant to spare them for schooling. Physical safety of the girls,
especially when they have to travel a long distance to school and fear of sexual harassment are other
reasons that impede girls' education.

In the urban areas, however, there is a discernible difference in the opportunities that girls get for education
and employment. Though the figures for girls would still be low as compared to boys, what is heartening to
see is that whenever given the opportunity, girls have excelled more than boys.

Harvard librarian sues university claiming

race & gender discrimination
A Harvard University library worker at the Design School's Frances Loeb Library in Cambridge, MA, has filed
a suit against the university claiming race and gender bias.

Desiree Goodwin, a 39-year-old Cornell graduate with two master's degrees, claims in her lawsuit filed in
Middlesex Superior Court that less experienced and less qualified White men and women were promoted
instead of her. She also alleges that her female supervisor saw her work attire as being "too sexy."

"When my boss commented that I was 'too sexy,' I was shocked," Goodwin tells JET. "It was said in the
context of saying that I had no future at Harvard and that other librarians would not hire me and did not
respect me."

Goodwin, who is responsible for circulation and reference, has worked at Harvard for nine years. She says
she is suing because, "I would like to advance in my career or get a settlement that will enable me to start
another career."

Goodwin's claims have already been dismissed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), which found no proof of racial or
gender stereotyping.

Richard D. Clarey, Goodwin's lawyer, said the dismissal was unfair based on procedural issues and
interference by Harvard officials.

Gender discrimination throughout a lifetime

Foeticide and infanticide

UNICEF notes that Where there is a clear economic or cultural preference for sons, the misuse of
[pregnancy diagnostic tools] can facilitate female foeticide.

The middle years

A principal focus of the middle years of childhood and adolescence is ensuring access to, and completion
of, quality primary and secondary education. With a few exceptions, it is mostly girls who suffer from
educational disadvantage.


Among the greatest threats to adolescent development are abuse, exploitation and violence, and the lack of
vital knowledge about sexual and reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS. Specific areas that UNICEF
highlighted were female genital mutilation/cutting; child marriage and premature parenthood; sexual abuse,
exploitation and trafficking; sexual and reproductive health; and HIV/AIDS.
Motherhood and old age

These are two key periods in many womens lives when the pernicious effects of both poverty and
inequality can combine. Shockingly, It is estimated that each year more than half a million womenroughly
one woman every minutedie as a result of pregnancy complications and childbirth, 99% of which occur in
developing countries. Yet many of these womens lives could be saved if they had access to basic health
care services. In addition, elderly women may face double discrimination on the basis of both gender and
age. Many older women are plunged into poverty at a time of life when they are very vulnerable. However,
childrens rights are advanced when programmes that seek to benefit children and families also include
elderly women.

Gender Inequality
Man and woman are both equal and both plays a vital role in the creation and development of their families
in a particular and the society in general. Indeed, the struggle for legal equality has been one of the major
concerns of the womens movement all over the world. In India, since long back, women were considered as
an oppressed section of the society and they were neglected for centuries. During the national struggle for
independence, Gandhi gave a call of emancipation of women. He wrote :I am uncompromising in the
matter of womens rights. The difference in sex and physical form denotes no difference in status. Woman is
the complement of man, and not inferior. Thus, the first task in post-independent India was to provide a
constitution to the people, which would not make any distinctions on the basis of sex. The preamble of
constitution promises to secure to all its citizens- Justice- economical, social, and political

The constitution declares that the equality before the law and the equal protection of laws shall be available
for all . Similarly, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the ground of sex . Article 15(1)
guarantees equalities of opportunities for all citizens in matters of employment. Article 15(3) provides that
the state can make any special provisions for women and children. Besides, directive principle of state policy
which concern women directly and have a special bearing on their status directly and have a special bearing
on their status include Article 39(a) right to an adequate means of livelihood; (d) equal pay for equal wok
both men and women, (e) protection of health and strength of workers men, women, children and Article 42
provides for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.

It is really important to note that though the Constitution of India is working since more than fifty-seven years
the raising of the status of women to one of equality, freedom and dignity is still a question mark

In India, since independence, a number of laws have been enacted in order to provide protection to women.
For instance the Dowry prohibition Act 1961, The Equal Remuneration Act 1986, The Hindu Marriage Act
1956, The Hindu Succession Act 1956, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, the
commission of Sati (prevention) Act 1987, Protection of the Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, etc.
But, the laws have hardly implemented in their letter and spirit.

The sense of insecurity, humiliation and helplessness always keep a women mum. Our whole socialisation
is such that for any unsuccessful marriage which results in such violence or divorce, it is always the woman,
who is held responsible. Cultural beliefs and traditions that discriminate against women may be officially
discredited but they continue to flourish at the grass root levels. Family relations in India are governed by
personal laws. The four major religious communities are Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Parsi each have
their separate personal laws. They are governed by their respective personal laws in matters of marriage,
divorce, succession, adoption, guardianship and maintenance. In the laws of all the communities, women
have fewer rights than that of man in corresponding situations. It is really that women of the minority
communities in India continue to have unequal legal rights and even the women of the majority community
have yet to gain complete formal equality in all aspects of family life. This is basically the problem of gender
inequality. But what is this problem and how this can be solved.
Gender Inequalities refers to the obvious or hidden disparities among individuals based on the performance
of gender. This problem in simple term is known as Gender Bias which in simple terms means the gender
stratification or making difference between a girl and a boy i.e. a male or a female. In making biasness
among the gender India has 10th rank out of 128 countries all over the world which is shameful for us . But
this problem is increasing although government has banned the pre-natal sex examination. In India (in the
older times) this problem is mainly seen in the rural areas because many rural people think that the girl child
is burden on them. But now this is also being seen in the urban areas i.e. in offices, institutions, schools and
in society. The afflicted world in which we live is characterised by deeply unequal sharing of the burden of
adversities between women and men. Gender Inequality exists in most part of the world, from Japan to
Morocco, or from Uzbekistan to United States of America (as stated earlier).

The question on how gender inequality shapes peoples' life chances is one that has been echoing widely
through minds of modern society in the recent decades. Historically sociologists have suggested, amongst
various other reasons, that biological differences between men and women constitute as one of the main
reasons for males having better job opportunities. Thus males were always branded the breadwinners of the
family whilst a female's place was at home (Joanne Naiman 1997: 250-51). However, during the latter half of
the 20th century these views began to slowly change but still stained with the ideologies from the past they
still exist at the brink of the 21st century. Nevertheless, this is in a more subtle form and it is culturally
reasoned to be normal and acceptable.

Examining this from the root one can see that historically males have shaped the society in which we live.
The policy-makers have almost always been male and therefore it is not surprising that our society mirrors
those ideas, which exist as a result of this male-domination. For example in Joanne Naiman's book, there is
an excerpt from Gustave Le Bonne, a Parisian in 1879, in which he openly compared most of the female
brains with that of gorillas and stated " the inferiority (of women) is so obvious that no one can contest it for
the moment; only its degree is worth discussing." (quoted in Joanne Naiman 1997: 250)

Another instance closer to recent times is from Carol Travis' book titled "The Mismeasurement Of Woman".
She states that in the beginning the left hemisphere of the brain was considered to deal with intellect and
reason, while the right side dealt with passion, sex, irrationality and similar concepts -- thus males were
considered to have a superior left brain. However in the 1960's and 70's scientists found that right brain was
intellectually superior and was the source of genius, inspiration, creativity, imagination, mysticism and
mathematical brilliance hence conveniently males now had a more developed right brain (Carol Tavris

Both these citations clearly show historically how society regarded for the females as a species and how
they were not considered smart enough to do jobs that entailed thinking or decision making. Furthermore,
they were always under the supervision of their male counter parts.

Ergo, even in more recent times, when the line between job opportunities amongst the genders is ever
fading, a secretary or nurse or most of any other job which required supervision is still engraved into society
as a females role. An example of this is from the "case story" (Mustapha Koc 1999) where Mary was given
the responsibility of being the secretary, accountant and packaging department of the family business while
her husband was the boss. This showed that even though they were husband and wife and could have
shared all responsibilities equally, Mary was content to play the role society had outlined for her. Mary also
became a housewife and quit her job at the bank without much debate when her children were born. This is
because of the norms society had laid down.

A female is expected to take care of the household and look after the children. This is clearly seen in every
day life. Even at an early stage in life girls tend play with dolls -- nursing and looking after them as if they
were their children. In schools girls are given extra curricular activities like home-sciences and cheerleading,
where they learn about cooking and household activities. And even most household products advertised are
geared towards a female audience. Thus delicately dictating the gender roles in life.

Society has made it such that even if a woman wanted to against the norms and get a job in the work force
she would not get very far. About 75 percent of the jobs in the well paying professions are held by men and
even if women are able to get equal jobs as men they still get paid considerably less (David Bender and
Bruno Leone 1989: 75). So it has just become more practical for the man in the household to work and allow
the woman to do the household chores. A recent instant of differences in salaries between the genders is
when the Communication Energy and Paperwork of Canada (CEP) and Canadian Telephone Employer
Association were sued by their respective unions because of the pay difference determined by the
employees sex. The Unionist wanted their companies to ratify this and have a pay equity (Toronto Star :29
October 1999).

Another example of how women are manipulated into getting only jobs of a certain caliber is when
companies do not give maternal leave or subsidized child care for working mothers. 60 percent of working
mothers in the United Sates have no rights for maternal leave (David Bender and Bruno Leone 1989: 74).
And if a mother were to leave the workforce to bear her child and come back after, she faced the risk of
falling behind and being deprived of perks such as bonuses and promotions. This makes it hard for a woman
to get back up in the job ladder. This again was described in the "case story" when Mary wanted to return to
work after her youngest child was five.

Some jobs are made in such a way that only certain genders are easily able to fill the positions. To be a
fireman for instance, you have to be of a certain height and weight -- which generally narrows the choices
down to most males. This although is beneficial to the fire department is not a necessity. With a couple of
adjustments the fire department can easily accommodate a shorter and lighter person, which would then
include both genders.

Many movements are trying to get rid of gender inequality and the nineties have progressed drastically
compared to the beginning of the century. Today there is an increasing number of women in the army and
similar jobs that used to primarily consist of men. But society has shown us the downfall of such happenings
-- by the increase in rapes, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the work force. This once more makes
women think twice before wanting to join these gender-secluded jobs.

Religiously and culturally also female roles have been defined to be different to that of men, and mankind
has been taught that men are superior to women ( Babara Kantowitz 1986) This is shown in various
religious scriptures. Hence teaching gender differences to the masses at a very early stage It has also lead
people to believe that males are better than females and so deserve much better job opportunities.

There clearly is a gender inequality and right throughout life it has been able to dictate our life chances. The
degree to which it enables us to determine this has however has broadened over the years and given
females a wider range of job opportunities and future prospects. Nevertheless such boundaries will always
exist, it will only get lighter and further a part as years go on.

Types Of Gender Inequalities

There are many kinds of gender inequality or gender disparity which are as follows:
1. Natality inequality: In this type of inequality a preference is given for boys over girls that many male-
dominated societies have, gender inequality can manifest itself in the form of the parents wanting the
newborn to be a boy rather than a girl. There was a time when this could be no more than a wish (a
daydream or a nightmare, depending on one's perspective), but with the availability of modern techniques to
determine the gender of the foetus, sex-selective abortion has become common in many countries. It is
particularly prevalent in East Asia, in China and South Korea in particular, but also in Singapore and Taiwan,
and it is beginning to emerge as a statistically significant phenomenon in India and South Asia as well.

2. Professional or Employment inequality: In terms of employment as well as promotion in work

and occupation, women often face greater handicap than men. A country like Japan and India may be quite
egalitarian in matters of demography or basic facilities, and even, to a great extent, in higher education, and
yet progress to elevated levels of employment and occupation seems to be much more problematic for
women than for men. The example of employment inequality can be explained by saying that men get
priority in seeking job than women.

3. Ownership inequality: In many societies the ownership of property can also be very unequal. Even
basic assets such as homes and land may be very asymmetrically shared. The absence of claims to
property can not only reduce the voice of women, but also make it harder for women to enter and flourish in
commercial, economic and even some social activities. This type of inequality has existed in most parts of
the world, though there are also local variations. For example, even though traditional property rights have
favoured men in the bulk of India.

4. Household inequality: There are often enough, basic inequalities in gender relations within the
family or the household, which can take many different forms. Even in cases in which there are no overt
signs of anti-female bias in, say, survival or son-preference or education, or even in promotion to higher
executive positions, the family arrangements can be quite unequal in terms of sharing the burden of
housework and child care. It is, for example, quite common in many societies to take it for granted that while
men will naturally work outside the home, women could do it if and only if they could combine it with various
inescapable and unequally shared household duties. This is sometimes called "division of labour," though
women could be forgiven for seeing it as "accumulation of labour." The reach of this inequality includes not
only unequal relations within the family, but also derivative inequalities in employment and recognition in the
outside world. Also, the established fixity of this type of "division" or "accumulation" of labour can also have
far-reaching effects on the knowledge and understanding of different types of work in professional circles.

5. Special opportunity inequality: Even when there is relatively little difference in basic facilities
including schooling, the opportunities of higher education may be far fewer for young women than for young
men. Indeed, gender bias in higher education and professional training can be observed even in some of the
richest countries in the world, in India too. Sometimes this type of division has been based on the
superficially innocuous idea that the respective "provinces" of men and women are just different.

Steps Taken By Employers to End Gender

What we need today are trends where girls are able not only to break out of the culturally
determined patterns of employment but also to offer advise about career possibilities that look
beyond the traditional pale of jobs.

To prevent gender discrimination or sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace, more and more
employers are adopting a zero tolerance policy towards all acts of discrimination. This usually includes the
creation of an official written policy against discrimination that is circulated to all employees, as well as
education and training courses for all managers (and often for all employees). In addition, the companies
have to show that they are serious about implementing and enforcing the new policy by creating disciplinary
standards for violations of the policy.

Another step employers can take is to conduct a thorough investigation every time a claim of discrimination
or harassment is lodged. If a company identifies a situation where it believes discrimination has occurred
and the company is going to be held liable, it can ease the amount of punishment handed down if it
conducts a thorough in-house investigation that culminates in appropriate action taken against the person
who committed the discrimination, up to and including dismissal of that employee.

When managers are trained to recognize instances of sexual discrimination or harassment, they should be
told one thing above all othersnot to try to handle the complaint by themselves. Instead, they should
always immediately notify the human resources department that an incidence of discrimination or
harassment has been reported and needs to be investigated. If the training is also provided to all
employees, primary efforts should be spent on teaching employees what is and is not considered to be
appropriate behavior and on helping employees understand each other better so that they can work together
more effectively.

The Current State of Gender Discrimination

While almost all cases of sexual discrimination or harassment involve men victimizing women, there is a
new backlash that has seen allegations of reverse sexual discrimination. A male cosmetics counter
employee at a Dillard's department store in Florida became angry when his suit was stained by the make-up
he was selling. When he asked the store for a uniform of some sort, which the female employees who
worked at the make-up counter at another store in the same mall wore, he was ignored by store
management. The man also alleged that he was passed over for promotions and was ineligible to win store
sales contests because all of the prizes were for women. The employee filed a sexual discrimination claim
with the EEOC and later filed a lawsuit against the store.