In our society, sex outlines gender roles. For example, the job description of women is different, from that of males. Women are generally responsible for household work; where-in men handle outside activities. This discrimination is prevailing in education, at the workplace and is a significant factor in determining the division of labour. We may understand Gender Discrimination from four perspectives, namely:
- Functionalist perspective
- Conflict perspective
- Interaction perspective
- Feminist perspective
The functionalist perspective of gender discrimination was best explained in the 1940s and 1950s and developed by Talcott Parsons’ model of the nuclear family. This theory infers that gender inequalities were a vital factor in creating the division of labour. The division of labour defined the gender roles for men or women. In most societies, women used to take care of homes, where-in men went outside to work and provided for food. However, today, discrimination has lessened to some extent; where-in women are embracing positions at par with men. They are working shoulder to shoulder in many sectors and are holding influential posts in the workplace. We must point out that men are also assisting in household tasks to support the women in their ambitions.
This theory argues that the reason to create gender discrimination was to obtain power and control. This argument refers to methods based on sexism and discrimination. We can explain sexism as the widespread norm where-in the gender determines job allocation. Men used to, and some still have, this assumption of entitlement to higher and more powerful positions. They believed in having the right or power to themselves; Simply because women didn’t have enough physical strength due to biological variations. Hence, men started dominating and treating women differently within society. This unfairness is prevalent in various aspects of daily life; where-in preference of males is higher over females, for positions with greater responsibility. Another point of gender discrimination is commonplace in remuneration; Where-in, there have been cases of women getting lesser wages for the same job when compared to men.
However, we must take note, that as of today, things are gradually changing for the better. The Government of India is focussing on female child development. They have come up with slogans like “Beti Bachao Beti Padao”. This scheme is an attempt to ensure that every girl is educated and can make her own decisions. We are lucky to be in a society that is changing for the better. Especially in urban areas, people have started treating women at par with men. Yet there are many such regions in the world, where educating the girl child is not allowed. This activity is an attempt by the male section of the society to keep dominating the opposite gender.
Symbolic Interaction perspective:
in Sociology, interactionism is a logical view that explains standard methods (such as conflict, cooperation, identity formation). People communicate with each other based on their mission. Here-in we will examine crucial functions based on communication. We must take note of masculinity and feminine perspectives during interactions. Over time we have seen these features building up culturally; Where-in, they developed and established themselves during our day to day interactions. We will demonstrate this by taking up the example of children. We usually find the boys playing rougher sports. Where-in, the girls, play with rounded and soft toys. Now, these qualities are reflected in our day to day interactions too.
To explain this better, let us take the example of numerous unrequested calls we receive daily. The reaction while receiving a phone call from a female caller is often different from that from a male caller. While in receiving a request from a Lady, people in usually answer politely, however, the same behaviour is not guaranteed for a Gentleman caller. Thus, during communications, there is a remarkable difference based on gender.
Feminist theory is a continuation of feminism into academic or thoughtful dialogue. Its primary goal is to explain gender discrimination. Where-in it tries to tell women’s social roles and interests. It concentrates on the study of gender discrimination and communication of women concerns.
Feminist-sociological Kimberle Crenshaw first highlighted this sociological theory. This theory of intersectionality suggests that various biological, social and cultural categories, including gender, race, class and ethnicity, mix and participate towards systematic social discrimination”.
To understand this theory, we will take the example of Black Women in predominantly white societies. To achieve par success in such an environment, they have to work harder than their peers. The effort has to be harder than women belonging to the majority segment too. Where-in, it is clear that in such an environment, women are facing multiple sections of discrimination. And these factors are intersecting each other.
Hence, we deduce that multiple forms of gender, race, and class are interrelated. And we may conclude that domination of female rights is not in isolation. Indeed there is a direct relationship with other forms of gender discrimination. Where-in the educated society is acting aggressively to address these issues to realise the idea of Gender Equality.