Why does humanity need to get past gender and start focusing on development for individuals?
Society’s differing expectations of men and women have become the norm over time and are quite evident in the roles different genders are expected to play. Gender roles are established by the society itself based on the sex of a person; they contribute to creating personal, social, and organizational limitations that tend to boost the opportunities and status of men more than women.
Even though people are starting to be aware of these differences, and are trying to change this reality, it is obvious that there is a powerful disparity between men and women in many areas, from education and domestic tasks to the working world.
Stereotypically, women are perceived to be more caring compared to men. Based on this, the image of women has been developed throughout time as people who are in charge of administering household tasks, looking after the children, supporting the family, and spending most of the time at home instead of starting a career that could offer job satisfaction or give them the chance to become economically independent. In contrast, men have traditionally been considered the head of the family because they provide financially for the household. The economic dependence on men automatically increases their power and status in the family – often putting them at the forefront of decision-making. Gender roles are not only family-related but also have a substantial impact in other areas such as work. For example, men are preferentially chosen for certain types of jobs that involve the use of strength. Customarily, they have also been prioritised for high-powered job positions such as managers or bosses that require a lot of responsibility. Women are dominant in other sectors such as education, in roles like teachers, nursery nurses, etc. Based on this, people grow up with the erroneous idea that they are suitable for certain tasks or that they can only perform specific duties. This happens because individuals tend to be judged by inaccurate or exaggerated gender stereotypes.
The aim in bringing attention to gender expectations is to highlight the fact that society should empower individuals regardless of their gender, allowing them to be self-reliant. It should be noted that due to the change in the value of marriage, and immature attitudes of individuals within couples, instability in relationships is increasing. Because of this, individuals face difficult times being forced to live in situations that have a great impact on their lives emotionally and financially. For these reasons, it is necessary to give proper value to everyone based on their abilities and skills, and not rely on excessive generalisations. Therefore, a big change in society is required to lead the institutions – family, schools, and universities – to roll out a process of growth and development for individuals. Once students get their high school diploma, or they graduate, they should be supported by the institutions themselves, and directed towards remunerated internships. This would give them a kickstart in the job market, as well as an opportunity to enhance their skills, and put into practice what they learned during their education. In this way, they would be able to become independent, increasing their financial stability. By being trusted and redirected, young people have the chance to build their own future, especially women who can be liberated from the exaggerated biases of a patriarchal society, both of which can limit their work success. The presence of women in the world of work expresses values like equality and independence which bring about change not only in their lives because of being more respected but also in society.
Credits – Nuvola Massignan, Francesca Meynell