Discuss About The American Academy Of Adolescent Psychiatry.
“In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world.”
The above quoted lines of Nicholas D. Kristof from his famous work “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” clearly outlines the significance of the problem of gender bias which the world is facing at the present moment. Gender Bias can be defined as the bias which the individuals face because of their gender (Constantino 51: 756-758). It is significant to note that this is one of the most common problems which the world has been facing since the ancient times (Herlitz 21: 1306-1336). It is a reflection of this that even in the 21st century there is a gap between the two genders in terms of not only the level of education which they get but also in terms of the job prospects, lifestyle, marriage and other common precepts of life (Constantino 51: 756-758). This paper will provide an overview of the concept of gender bias and the impact which it is wielding in the 21st century.
In the words of the famous Afghani authors Khaled Hosseini from his famous novel “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, “Learn this now and learn it well. Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam”. This statement from the novel is a pertinent account of the gender bias which the female fraternity had to face ever since the traditional times. It is significant to note that even in the traditional times the entire power and the positions of importance of respect were attributed to the men folks irrespective of their capabilities (Herlitz 21: 1306-1336). The female folks were pushed to the background and were required to look after the household. As a matter of fact, in most of the nations of the world until recently the women folks were treated no more than the personal belongings of the men folks (Hoyt 48: 86-96). It is only after the “Women Suffragist Movement” of the 20th century that the women folks gained a bit of freedom as well as independence in the world which belonged solely to men (Hoyt 48: 86-96). It a reflection of this, that in the ancient times as well as in the present times all the warriors, heroes, scholars and other people of repute and honor are individuals belonging to the male gender (Ibarra 9:60-66).
Gender Bias: A Traditional Social Construct
In the opinion of Judith Butler articulated in her famous work “Gender Trouble”, “gender is a performance, a social construct, which has been constructed to maintain the power balance in the society” (Butler 4-81). Thus, the present society as well as the societies of the past has tried to maintain the power balance in the society by means of the construct of gender. It is a reflection of this that concept of gender bias has gained prominence. The concept of gender bias becomes more prominent when the present day world is taken into consideration. It is significant to note that the people in the present times talk of women empowerment, the emancipation of the women folks and other concepts yet the menace of gender bias or more particularly the female bias forms the core concept of our society (Connell 5-61). It is a reflection of the gender bias faced by the women in the society as well as in the workplace that only 24% women hold positions of power in the various business organizations across the globe in comparison to the 76% position held by the men folks (Forbes Welcome). Furthermore, another interesting fact to note is that the “women’s perceived competency drops by 35% and their perceived worth falls by $15,088 when they are judged as being forceful or “assertive” (Evershed). Thus, in this particular context the various myths of the present day society like the celebration of the “International Women's Day” totally becomes a façade.
It is a common perception of many people that only women folks are the victims of the menace of gender bias. However, it is seen that in the present times the men folks are also subjected to the menace of gender bias. It is a reflection of this that in many of the business organizations across the globe men are not even hired. According to a source, “men are 20 times more likely to have a fatal injury at work than women”. Furthermore, as per the same source, “in 2011 the housing charity Crisis found that 84% of the hidden homeless were male. And the latest CHAIN figures suggest that 9 out of 10 people sleeping rough are male” (Amadiume 21-99). Thus, it becomes evident that women are not the sole victims of the evil machinery of gender bias.
In the opinion of John Steinbeck articulated in his famous work “Travels with Charley: In Search of America”, “And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus”. This statement of Steinbeck is a pertinent account of the success achieved by the women folks in the present times. For example, in the field of the world Literature in the 20th and 21st century the world saw the emergence of many talented women writers like Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Dickinson, Emily Bronte, Tony Morrison and others (Nicholson 21-97). This particular phenomenon becomes apparent even when the current business world is taken into consideration. For example, the position of CEO of the second largest beverage company of the world is currently held by a woman named Indra Nooyi (Nicholson 21-97). Other examples are the company HPE’s current CEO Meg Whitman, PG&E’s chief Geisha Williams and others (Nicholson 21-97). These women are seriously challenging the concept of gender and have emerged above this particular menace despite all odds. The opinion of Maya Angelou is significant to note in this particular context when she says “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes”.
Impact of Gender Bias in the 21st Century
The comment of Leila Aboulela articulated in her famous work “Minaret” calling for gender neutrality becomes important to note in this particular context “All through life there were distinctions - toilets for men, toilets for women; clothes for men, clothes for women - then, at the end, the graves are identical”. Thus, the emphasis of the present society should be on the eradication of this social evil. However, it is significant to note that the empowered of one particular gender should not come at the cost of the other one. Thus, it is often seen that in the present day the concept of feminism or the empowered is often confused with the concept of man-hating as articulated in the famous work “The Opposite of Indifference: A Collection of Commentaries” of Aysha Taryam “The word feminism has become synonymous with man-hating when in fact it has more to do with women than men”. Therefore, the best thing which the present day society should do is to consider the two genders as equal and strive for the empowerment of both the genders (Nicholson 21-97). The opinion of Winston Churchill is pertinent to observe in this particular context “Blowing out other people’s candle is not going to make your candle burn brighter or any longer”. Thus, the world needs to aim for the eradication of the social evil of gender bias.
To conclude, from the above discussion it becomes clear that gender bias is one of the most common evils which the world is facing at the moment. It is significant to note that the concept of gender bias is a very traditional one and is used commonly by the society for the promotion of one gender over the other. Therefore, the society as well as the various entities of the world should come together for the resolution of this particular menace which the world is facing at large. Furthermore, the empowerment of one particular gender should not be at the cost of the other one and care should be taken that for the empowered of one particular gender the other one is not suppressed. It is a common misperception of the world that only women are the victims of the institution of gender bias however in the present times it is seen that even the men are the victims of the social evil of gender bias. Moreover, care should be taken from the grass root level so that the problem is resolved. For example, the children right from their childhood should be taught to see the two genders as equal.
Amadiume, Ifi. Male daughters, female husbands: Gender and sex in an African society. Zed Books Ltd., 2015.
Butler, Judith. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. routledge, 2011.
Connell, Raewyn W. Gender and power: Society, the person and sexual politics. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Constantino, John N., and Tony Charman. "Gender bias, female resilience, and the sex ratio in autism." Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 51.8 (2012): 756-758.
Evershed, Nick. "Statistics Show The Gender Gap Between Male And Female Pay Is At 20-Year High." the Guardian. N.p., 2018. Web. 10 Apr. 2018.
Forbes Welcome." Forbes.com. N.p., 2018. Web. 10 Apr. 2018.
Herlitz, Agneta, and Johanna Lovén. "Sex differences and the own-gender bias in face recognition: a meta-analytic review." Visual Cognition 21.9-10 (2013): 1306-1336.
Hoyt, Crystal L. "Gender bias in employment contexts: A closer examination of the role incongruity principle." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48.1 (2012): 86-96.
Ibarra, Herminia, Robin Ely, and Deborah Kolb. "Women rising: The unseen barriers." Harvard Business Review 91.9 (2013): 60-66.
Nicholson, Linda, ed. Feminism/postmodernism. Routledge, 2013.
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