Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Friday, 7 August 2015

“Gender” From a Public Health Perspective


Gender as both a term and an aspect of socio-bio-culture, is like a vehicle.  Both women and men can drive it. To drive a vehicle one needs a permit. To get a permit or license one needs to attend driving lessons and pass testing after. Gender is such a tool too. It can be studied, analysed, synthesized and thematized.

Gender is a systematic progress towards actualization for both women and men. It should be a means to give both men and women a means to learn to negotiate with each other and explore each side's uniqueness with both given an unbiased start. It must be a socialization that highlights the unique contributions of women and men. It has to show how inequality can be addressed. Gender to be relevant to both women and men, it has to improve on accessibility, affordability, sustainability, negotiation, conservation and accountability as far as resource use goes. Gender must the desire to steer the dialogue towards how inequality can be addressed. Gender must be a means to show that all sexes can be productive and all that is required are spaces where that can be allowed to take place. Gender must allow for skills transfer to next generations both horizontally and vertically.  By horizontal means is meant the passage of skills from one generation to another. Vertical skills transfer is when it happens across sex, gender and cultural diversities. Gender is not simply an euphemism for anything to do with women. It should not be dismissed as feminization, emasculation. It is the broad sweep in which seas, mountains, forests, rivers and valleys are the vista that greets ones view.

Women have performed well in positions and roles that have been thought to be a reserve for men. Granted there are roles that women alone can do by virtue of anatomy such as gestation, lactation and nursing. On top of these, women can engage productively in roles that men have been engaged. There has to be an infrastructural mechanism to allow this to happen. Many have used such mechanisms like: feminism, pro-active inclusion, education of the girl-child, women movement building to name but a few. True, we may need reminders, in form of women or men to sharpen our focus on the usefulness of gender as a tool. But, it should not mean men will be served after all women have. Gender is about institutionalizing mechanisms through with women and men are able to fully actualize. 

Women have proved they too can be as productive as men and contribute to the general well-being of society. This can be seen across many cultures during meal times. Women contribute so much time to feeding the world. It was a woman who is credited to have invented a first computer. During the Beijing 1995 Women Forum, Robin Abrams a senior woman leader and innovator gave an in-depth presentation on the roles women played in early years as well as now, to design products and provide tools that elicit the best in people. She was referring to a computer. But there are other examples from Architecture, Medicine and Physics (e.g, Madam Curie). So, it would be so Jurassic Age-like to even start a debate that tends to cast women as weak! The thing to do should be how we institutionalize gender to serve all sexes.


Imagine a consistent effort to make amends, re-educate ourselves and equip our minds with an ability to think towards institutions. Gender can be a systematic progress towards actualization for both women and men. Right from childhood certain stereotypes that promote denigrating power roles can be challenged. In her blog on challenging traditional gender roles, Marsha R. (2012) shows how through the gifts given to girls and boys or women and men on Mother’s and Father’s Day each May and June of every year as an example of “countless ways we perpetuate the stereotypes and biases about what women and men are supposed to like and be like.” In it she continues to say “ our media, marketing, language, and culture about these expectations and assumptions filter down to the youngest of us.”


Gender must be a socialization that highlights the unique contributions of women and men. It is this attitude and paradigm shift that is critical to cause a much needed change among men and women. This change according to Sara Delamont (2001) will provide a structure that allows for detailed exposition of studies about gender differences and for a cumulative argument about the significance of changing social institutions.

Whenever the word gender is mentioned it should trigger the desire to steer the dialogue towards how inequality can be addressed. Gender to be relevant to both women and men, it has to throw light on accessibility, affordability, sustainability, negotiation, conservation and accountability that benefits all.  Gender must be a means to show that all sexes can be productive. Gender must allow for skills transfer to next generations both horizontally and vertically.  By horizontal means is meant the passage of skills from one generation to another. Vertical skills transfer is when it happens across sex, gender and cultural diversities.


REFERENCES:
1. Linda Lee Lindsey, 2014 December 11. Gender Roles: A sociological Perspective. Routledge
2. Marsha Rakestraw, 2012 June 11. 12 Children’s Picture books that challenge traditional gender roles. Retrieved from Institute for Humane Education website
3. Robin Abrams, 1995. Looking at technology through women’s eyes. Retrieved from http://gos.sbc.edu/a/abrams.html.
4. Sara Delamont, 2001. Open University Press.

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