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Understanding social construction of gender and role of families in creating and perpetuating gender inequity
The use of the word 'gender' has become common these days and we need to understand it conceptually. Gender is a social construct while sex is a biological function of a person.

Being a social construct, the dominant groups in society divided male and female genders by assigning different social roles leading to sex-stereotyping and gender discrimination which have become social issues since they get manifested at various levels and reinforced by various societal structures.

Social construction is seen as a process through which a given family, clan or dominant groups in society or community assigns, institutionalises and legitimises gender roles. Because of this the structural gender discrimination and inequality exists in most of our societies which had been patriarchal by and large.

According to the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), gender is a concept that is widely used and perceived in many quarters to mean "women's issues". In reality, gender refers to socially determined roles and relations between males and females.

From the wider picture, the term "gender" refers to a socio-cultural classification of women and men. This classification is based on societal norms and values that define the roles men and women should play in society.

FAWE further explains the existence of gender discrimination that is seen at various levels. At the household level, mostly girls and boys are assigned different roles, rights and benefits. This type of thought-shaping begins when children are small, and persists through issues of privileges, concessions, succession and inheritance which are further reinforced by the powerful community groups by positioning women in a subordinate and lower status.

Therefore, for bringing about gender equity one would to start from the family level and make it a part of the life skills education at the school level. However, gender equity should not be equated with role reversal of girls rather empowering them through equal participation in decision making processes, I think.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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