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Introduction to Gender

Duration: 3 Weeks

Course Objectives
To help students identify why and in what ways African societies are gendered To examine the impacts of gender relations and inequalities on development To critically examine state and civil society responses to gender inequalities.

Learning Objectives
By the end of the session you should:
Distinguish the difference between gender and sex Be familiar with key gender concepts Be able to identify gender issues in everyday life Provide a gender analysis of major social problems in Africa Become familiar with state and civil society efforts to address gender inequalities.

Week 1: Understanding Gendered Society

At the end of todays class, you should be able to:
Gain a better understanding of what is meant by gender and the factors that contribute to making a society gendered Be familiar with the concept of patriarchy Be familiar with some of the discriminatory cultural practices that perpetuate gender inequality Be familiar with some of the key arguments and justifications for dealing with gender inequality

Outline of Week 1
o Definitions o Why gender inequality is a problem o Why is gender an issue in African societies o Elements of Gender Relations o Justifications for dealing with gender inequalities o Promotion of gender equitable cultures o summary

Definition 1: Gender Vs. Sex

Unlike sex, which is a biological concept, gender is a social construct specifying the socially and culturally prescribed ideas about the behaviour, actions, and roles a particular sex performs and follows ollows Gender is the costume, a mask, a straitjacket in which men and women dance their unequal dance Gerda Lerner

Definition 2: Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organisation and where fathers hold authority over women, children and property.

Definition 3: Culture
The complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by [a person] as a member of society" (Tylor 1958 [1871]

Why gender inequality is a problem

Planning and decision-making Human rights and social justice sustainable people-centred development Development processes

Why is gender an issue in African societies

Social construction of society Importance of social relations Social relations determine roles, positions, privileges and power. Gender relations are reinforced by socialisation. Socialisation institutions


Elements of Gender Relations

Division of labour Productive and reproductive roles Male roles and responsibilities valued more than womens Women roles and responsibilities undervalued Control of resources (land, power, labour, education, training, etc.)

Justifications for dealing with gender inequalities Development imperatives Citizenship rights and the constitution Gender equitable cultures


Promotion of gender equitable cultures Discriminatory cultural practices

Marriage Family and community life Reproductive health Inheritance


Societies are gendered Gender is socially constructed Gender relations are power relations and privilege as well as disadvantage differently Three reasons to deal with gender disparities
To promote equitable and sustainable development To promote full citizenship for all To transform our cultures to be just and equitable

Week 2: State and Civil Society Responses to Gender Inequalities

At the end of todays class, you should be able to:
Be familiar with the history of the feminist movement Be familiar with arguments for affirmative action and the forms affirmative action takes Identify the efforts that have been made globally, regionally and locally to deal with gender inequalities

Outline of week 2
Definitions History of efforts to address inequalities UN Processes International Development Approaches National Level Processes Progress and stagnation summary

Definition 1: What is Affirmative Action?

A set of temporary measures adopted by governments, public and private institutions such as political parties, educational establishments, corporations and companies to address a history of systemic discrimination and exclusion of particular social groups

Definition 2: Civil Society Action

Civil Society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state.


History of efforts to address gender inequalities

Many efforts to deal with gender inequalities over many centuries First Wave Feminism
Women get the vote after long struggle by suffragettes in U.S .and U.K.

Second Wave Feminism

Struggle for reproductive rights Right to work Equal pay for equal work

UN Processes
Influence of second wave feminism on UN
-Four world conferences Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi, Beijing Outcomes of world conferences CEDAW Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): Halving Poverty (MDG 1) Promote gender equality and empower women (MDG 3) Improve Maternal Health (MDG 5)

International Development Approaches

Different approaches to addressing the impact of development initiatives on women Women in Development (WID) Women and Development, (WAD) Gender and Development (GAD ) Gender mainstreaming Instruments of WID, WAD, GAD Income generation projects Technology transfer

National Level Processes

Historical context to interventions in Ghana State policies and actions - Legal reform - Policy reform - Affirmative action (Definition) Civil society actions (Definition) Group agency Individual agency

Progress and Stagnation

Successes Remaining problems Why progress is slow


We have examined the various responses to gender inequality : Historical responses getting women the vote Global response UN initiatives, conferences
From WID, WAD, GAD to gender mainstreaming

State responses legal and policy reform; affirmative action


Summary, Ctd.
Civil society actions Group actions to empower and to support rights Individual actions e.g. Court actions, etc. We have examined progress and stagnation and assigned reasons why


Consciousness-Raising Activity
Identify a positive action toward women and/or men that you may not have done before this course Describe a liberating act that is positive and consciousness raising that could help change the quality of peoples lives Your action must be non-violent and legal


Week 3: Film

The Witches of Gambaga


Questions Following Film

What gender issues did the film illustrate for you? What sections of the constitution or international conventions will be relevant in addressing the problem posed by the witches camp? Take a position and provide a rationale for why the camps should be disbanded or continue to exist?