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Although lately the campaign for gender equality is in full swing, the disparity between male and female is still prevalent in the modern society. Gender roles are seen as the greatest culprits for perpetuating gender inequality. Besides, they have effect in shaping gender identity from childhood, passing into family life and work environment. The massive disparity in the society has led some scholars to assert that it is impossible to achieve sex equality and that proponents of it are fighting a losing battle. This essay argues for possibility to establish gender equality by debunking the underlying arguments against it.
Mary Green states that it is not probable to achieve the equality between sexes because gender disparity is inherited from our parents who play an important role in shaping the gender identity of children. They use blue for a boy and pink for a girl as a way of differentiating masculinity and femininity through color. The toys given to kids are also called to associate their identity with roles the children are expected to hold in the society. For example, boys are given action figures, tanks and gun-toys while girls are introduced to dream cars and cooking stations. These roles are engrained from a young age so that the children may support them. As such, we subconsciously conform to traditional gender roles ascribed to us (Green, 2013).
Mary Green’s argument is based on the Cognitive theories that suggest that children between 5 and 6 years start to develop a sense of gender identity. They begin to understand their difference despite showing similar behavior. For example, a boy may play with dolls meant for girls but will not stop liking play things meant for boys such as robots. As children become self-aware, they associate various behaviors to people of certain sex. As a result, kids transform their characters and attitudes to reflect the gender they identify with.
Gender roles continue to be evident during parenting. For instance, the society expects others to be less likely to abandon a child compared to fathers. Women are also more diligent in taking roles of cleaning and childcare than men. Proponents of gender inequality, such as Green, point at this sex disparity acceptance by the society to justify their philosophy against gender equality.
There are other bases used to justify gender inequality. Diina points at the argument that equality between men and women is based on biological and physical differences between the sexes. It is true that men are taller and better-built than women. The sexual organs and physical differences suggest that men are stronger and have more corporal capabilities than women. The question is, however, if these abilities can be developed until they are equal (Diina, 2010).
Males are often thought to be more intelligent than females because they have a bigger brain size. However, a scientific proof shows that although women’s brain is smaller in size, it contains many neurons that help it function the same way as that of men. Science, consequently, does not point at any differences in the male and female IQ performances. So it is correct to say that there is no ground for discriminating men and women according to their intelligence levels.
In her essay “We are equals”, Carlie tried to dispel gender inequality based on religious beliefs. She tried to oppose those who argue that gender roles are designed by God. As such, they are religiously valid. Her major objection for this argument is the case for atheists and antireligious people who still have gender equality issues (Carlie, 2015).
Moreover, Carlie points at the rate in which gender roles are changing rapidly, especially in Western countries. This evolution in society, as well as economic shifts have altered gender roles. In America, for example, more women have entered the workforce, probably because of the perception that traditional social structures were inequitable. However, it is not uncommon to hear the statementt suggesting that females should not be in certain ‘male’ professions.
All three authors believe that gender inequality is based on tradition. Many people still argue that gender roles have been in existence since time immemorial. Therefore, it makes no sense to try and dismiss them now. Traditions encompass the social values and beliefs passed from one generation to another and should, hence, be respected. However, I believe that grounding gender roles on traditions is not justified. If we can examine some traditions, such as altruism in politics, we will discover that all of them have come to pass with time. Some practices are considered outdated by society and are no longer applied. The tradition argument for gender inequality is then not justified. While it is true that many gender roles are learned from the society, people’s attitudes and practices keep changing. Old notions on gender perception continue to dominate in people’s way of thinking about equality between male and female and have been passed over to children.
The writers also view gender socialization as a way of social control that defines and sections people’s behavior and attitude towards gender. Masculinity or femininity divides society according to established norms, which restrict people’s understanding of what it means to be male or female in a certain culture. Caution must be taken not to force people do they do not want to, since the pressure to conform to traditional perceptions about gender roles has negative consequences for both men and women in the American society.
It may seem impossible to stop the initiation of young boys and girls into values that create perception of acceptable social roles because gender identity is a part of socialization process. However, the evidence from the American society shows that men and women are finding a way of expanding their roles, with women entering the spheres used to be male dominated roles and men finding ways to fit in and function as a family unit.