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[NOTES ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT] December 15, 2016

SEX and GENDER

GENDER ROLES

Sex is what youre born with.


Gender is what happens afterwards.

Gender roles are learned behaviors in a given


society/community or other social group that
condition
which
activities,
tasks
and
responsibilities are perceived as male or female.

Sex refers to the biological characteristics that


categorize someone as either female or male;
whereas gender refers to the socially determined
ideas and practices of what it is to be female or
male.
Whilst often used interchangeably, sex and
gender are in fact distinct terms.

Gender roles vary considerably across settings


and also change over time. The following factors
can shape and change gender roles: age, class,
race, ethnicity, religion and other ideologies,
geographical
environment,
economic
environment and political environment.
Types of gender roles. The concept of gender
roles has been developed from the work of
Caroline Moser. She explains this concept as
follows:
Gender planning recognizes that in most societies
low-income women have a triple role: women
undertake
reproductive,
productive,
and
community managing activities, while men
primarily undertake productive and community
politics activities.2

Sex: a persons sex is biologically determined as


female or male according to certain identifiable
physical features which are fixed.

Reproductive role

Childbearing/rearing
responsibilities,
and
domestic tasks done by
women,
required
to
guarantee the maintenance
and reproduction of the
labor force. It includes not
only biological reproduction
but also the care and
maintenance of the work
force (male partner and
working children) and the
future work force (infants
and school-going children).

Productive role

Work done by both men and


women for pay in cash or
kind. It includes both market
production
with
an
exchange-value,
and
subsistence/home
production with actual usevalue, and also potential
exchange-value. For women
in agricultural production,
this
includes
work
as
independent
farmers,
peasant wives and wage
workers.

Womens marginalization has often been seen as


natural and a fact of their biology. However these
biological differences cannot explain why women
have less access to power and lower status than
men. To understand and challenge the cultural
value placed on someones biological sex, and
unequal power hierarchies, we need the
relational concept of gender.
Gender: how a persons biology is culturally
valued and interpreted into locally accepted ideas
of what it is to be a woman or man. Gender and
the hierarchical power relations between women
and men based on this are socially constructed,
and not derived directly from biology. Gender
identities and associated expectations of roles
and responsibilities are therefore changeable
between and within cultures. Gendered power
relations permeate social institutions so that
gender is never absent. 1
2
1

Reeves, H. and Baden, S. (2000) Gender and


Development: Concepts and Definitions.
Bridge (development-Gender), Institute of
Development Studies, University of Sussex,

Brighton BN1 9RE, UK. Retrieved from


http://www.bridge.ids.ac.uk/sites/bridge.id
s.ac.uk/files/reports/re55.pdf
on
15
December 2016.
ILO/SEAPAT's Online Gender Learning &
Information Module. (1998) Retrieved at
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/a
sro/mdtmanila/training/unit1/groles.htm
on 15 December 2016.

by | ATTY. ODESSA GRACE E. GONZAGA

[NOTES ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT] December 15, 2016

Communitymanaging roles

Community
Politics role

Activities
undertaken
primarily by women at the
community level, as an
extension
of
their
reproductive role, to ensure
the
provision
and
maintenance
of
scarce
resources
of
collective
consumption, such as water,
health care and education.
This is voluntary unpaid
work, undertaken in 'free'
time.
Activities
undertaken
primarily by men at the
community level, organising
at the formal political level,
often within the framework
of national politics. This is
usually paid work, either
directly or indirectly, through
status or power. 3

Gender roles result in gender biases. In


turn, manifestations of gender biases include:
Marginalization, subordination, multiple burden,
gender stereotyping, and violence.
Gender Marginalization. Gender categorizing
or gender marginalization refers to society's
tendency to place genders into their own
SPECIFIC categories that are identified by
specific traits.
For instance, when it comes to toy, most tend to
choose pink and purple for girls, blue for boys;
Barbie dolls for girls, trucks and action figures for
boys.
For clothes, frilly and sparkly for girls, jeans and
sporty for boys.

Multiple Burden is a term used to describe the


situation of women who perform paid work
outside the domestic sphere as well as
homemaking and child-care work inside the
home.
Gender Stereotype. A gender stereotype is a
generalized view or preconception about
attributes or characteristics that are or ought to
be possessed by, or the roles that are or should
be performed by women and men. A gender
stereotype is harmful when it limits womens and
mens capacity to develop their personal abilities,
pursue their professional careers and make
choices about their lives and life plans. Harmful
stereotypes can be both hostile/negative (e.g.,
women are irrational) or seemingly benign (e.g.,
women are nurturing). It is for example based on
the stereotype that women are more nurturing
that child rearing responsibilities often fall
exclusively on them.
Gender stereotyping refers to the practice of
ascribing to an individual woman or man specific
attributes, characteristics, or roles by reason only
of her or his membership in the social group of
women or men. Gender stereotyping is wrongful
when it results in a violation or violations of
human rights and fundamental freedoms. An
example of this, is the failure to criminalize
marital rape based on societal perception of
women as the sexual property of men.
Compounded gender stereotypes can have a
disproportionate negative impact on certain
groups of women, such women in custody and
conflict with the law, women from minority or
indigenous groups, women with disabilities,
women from lower caste groups or with lower
economic status, migrant women, etc.5

For children's activities, hockey, baseball,


football, martial arts for boys and dancing,
gymnastics, crafts for girls.
(Women) subordination.
The term womens subordination refers to the
inferior position of women, their lack of access to
resources and decision making etc. and to the
patriarchal domination that women are subjected
to in most societies. So, women subordination
means the inferior position of women to men.
The feeling of powerlessness, discrimination and
experience of limited self-esteem and selfconfidence jointly contribute to the subordination
of women. Thus, women subordination is a
situation, where a power relationship exists and
men dominate women. The subordination of
women is a central feature of all structures of
interpersonal domination, but feminists choose
different locations and causes of subordination. 4

3
4

Ibid.
SULTANA, A. Patriarchy and Women's
Subordination: A theoretical Analysis.
Retrieved
from
http://www.bdresearch.org/home/attachm

ents/article/nArt/A5_12929-47213-1-PB.pdf
on 15 December 2016
United Nations Human Rights website:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/
WRGS/Pages/GenderStereotypes.aspx.
Retrieved on 15 December 2016.

by | ATTY. ODESSA GRACE E. GONZAGA

[NOTES ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT] December 15, 2016

GENDER in SOCIAL CONSTRUCT


The idea that gender difference is socially
constructed is a view present in many
philosophical and sociological theories about
gender. According to this view, society and
culture create gender roles, and these roles are
prescribed as ideal or appropriate behavior for a
person of that specific gender. Some argue that
the differences in behavior between men and
women are entirely social conventions, whereas
others believe that behavior is influenced by
universal biological factors to varying degrees of
extent, with social conventions having a major
effect on gendered behavior instead of vice
versa.
Gender, according to West and Zimmerman,6 is
not a personal trait; it is an emergent feature of
social situations: both as an outcome of and a
rationale for various social arrangements, and as
a means of legitimating one of the most
fundamental divisions of society.
Historically, the term gender was adopted as
means of distinguishing between biological sex
and socialized aspects of femininity and
masculinity. Moreover, gender was considered
achieved and more or less stable after it is
acquired in early childhood. Contemporary
constructionist perspective proposes treating
gender as an activity of utilizing normative
prescriptions and beliefs about sex categories
based on situational variables.
These "gender activities" constitute our belonging
to a sex as based on the socially accepted
dichotomy of "women" and "men". It is noted,
however, that these activities are not always
perceived (by the audience) as being either
"masculine" or "feminine", they are at constant
risk of being assessed as more or less "womanly"
or "manly"; ultimately, any behavior may be
judged based upon its "manly" or "womanly"
nature. "Doing gender" is in fact based on these
interactions that are constituted of ongoing
assessments in various situations. This in turn
points to the situational nature of gender rather
than its inherent, essentialist and individual
nature.
Social Institutions that can influence/construct
gender difference:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Family
Education
Mass media
Religion
State

the basis on sex. However up until the late


1960s the focus was on womens reproductive
roles, as women were seen as wives and mothers
and their main issues were supposed to be
obtaining access to food, contraceptives,
nutrition and health care.
The 70s and 80s marked a new phase in which
the debate moved beyond womens equality and
the domestic sphere of womens role as wives
and mothers onto the global stage where the role
of women was promoted as an aid for economic
development. The important events such as the
First World Conference for Women held in Mexico
1974, the UN decade for women 76-85 and the
promotion of the Women In Development (WID)
approach emphasized womens right to
development, recognition of womens economic
role in national economies and, most
significantly, gave a voice to women in
developing countries.
Some of the shortcoming of the approaches such
as the WID applied in the 70s were that they fell
short of improving unequal relationships, and a
significant number of projects were unsustainable
as development projects failed to consider the
multiple roles carried out by women, leading to a
development
model
that
in
the
end
disadvantaged women.
In the late 80s the Gender and Development
(GAD) approach was developed with the idea of
improving the development model by removing
disparities in social, economic, and political
balances between women and men as a precondition
for
achieving
people-centered
development.7
GAD is a theoretical approach in women
development, which focuses on the socially
constructed differences between men and
women and the need to challenge existing
gender roles and relations.
The GAD approach seeks to correct systems and
mechanisms that produce gender inequality by
focusing not only on women, but also by
assessing the social status of both women and
men. It also emphasizes the role of men in
resolving
gender
inequality,
and
places
importance on the empowerment of women, who
are placed in a socially and economically weaker
position than men.8

GENDER & DEVELOPMENT


The United Nations Charter of 1945 and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948
established the first official worldwide recognition
of womens equality and non-discrimination on
6

West, C. & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987).


"Doing gender" (PDF). Gender and Society.

Gender and Development - Historical


Background.
Retrieved
from
http://www.aquaknow.net/en/genderwater-and-development/15666
on
15
DEcember 2016.
Trends and Approaches in Gender and
Development (2007) Gender Equality Tem,
Planning and Coordination Department.
Retrieved
from
https://www.jica.go.jp/english/our_work/t
hematic_issues/gender/background/pdf/re
port4.pdf on 15 DEcember 2016.

by | ATTY. ODESSA GRACE E. GONZAGA

[NOTES ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT] December 15, 2016

GENDER MAINSTREAMING
Gender mainstreaming was established as a
major global strategy for the promotion of
gender equality in the Beijing Platform for Action
from the Fourth United Nations World Conference
on Women in Beijing in 1995.9
Gender Mainstreaming is an organizational
strategy to bring a gender perspective to all
aspects of an institutions policy and activities,
through
building
gender
capacity
and
accountability.
The 1970s strategies of integrating women into
development by establishing separate womens
units or programs within state and development
institutions had made slow progress by the mid1980s.
In light of this, the need was identified for
broader institutional change if pervasive male
advantage was to be challenged. Adding womenspecific activities at the margin was no longer
seen as sufficient. Most major development
organizations and many governments have now
embraced gender mainstreaming as a strategy
for moving towards gender equality.
With a mainstreaming strategy, gender concerns
are seen as important to all aspects of
development; for all sectors and areas of activity,
and a fundamental part of the planning process.
Responsibility for the implementation of gender
policy is diffused across the organizational
structure, rather than concentrated in a small
central unit. 10

10

Gender Mainstreaming: An Overview.


(2002). United Nations Women Watch.
Retrieved
from
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/pdf
/e65237.pdf on 15 December 2016.
Reeves, supra.

by | ATTY. ODESSA GRACE E. GONZAGA