We are facing many social issues that are affecting our lives. Gender inequality is one of them. It has always been a major issue in our society. Discrimination against women begins before her birth and in every phase of her life. Now, men and women both face this issue where they are not treated equally in society. It is experienced differently across different cultures in our nation. Today, I am shedding some light on this sensitive topic of gender and its sensitization. It will help to change the current harassment scenario.
Gender sensitization refers to the act of changing behavior by raising awareness of gender equality. Gender sensitization is the combination of two words Gender and sensitizes. Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women, and men while sensitizing is to make someone familiar with the issue. First, let us ask the question, what is gender inequality?
Gender inequality is a social issue that affects both men and women in the social context of India. People in our society experience inequality in every part of their life, in the workplace, at home, cultural norms in the justice system, and many more. According to the studies across family, career, personality, education, and interests, it is found that people experience gender equality across many domains.
Causes of Gender Inequality in India
- The main factors responsible for gender inequality in India are illiteracy, poverty, social customs and unemployment.
- Illiteracy is the leading cause of gender inequality. It is found that approximately 960 million illiterate adults, among whom two-thirds are women. The progress towards the education of women is very low when compared to men. That is why they are not getting more power in their life.
- According to the reports, two-thirds of people in India live in poverty. The poverty rate for women was estimated to be 12% in 2020. It is equivalent to around 13.4 million women. Women, even in the twenty-first century do not have economic independence as they do not have the freedom to work. The economic independence from the male counterpart is a solid basis of gender inequality. As a result, the burden of poverty weighs down the identity of women in our society.
- Unemployment stands at the root of gender inequality in our patriarchal society. Men are considered as the major providers of a family, but people judge them according to their rate of income. In our culture, people give respect according to their status irrespective of their gender. Also, it is found that women of rural areas are being dominated by men in society because they are not economically self-sufficient due to unemployment. Their dependence on men is a real cause of gender inequality.
Effects of gender inequality
- Gender inequality has a significant impact on our social and mental health. It affects everyone in our society, men, women, transgender, children, and families. According to a new study, it is found that there is an average of 239,000 deaths per year, or 2.4 million in a decade due to gender bias.
- Studies have found women experience higher rates of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
- As the World Health Organization (WHO), 30% of women have experienced physical violence at some point that leads to a mental health condition.
- Gender inequality affects not only women but men as well. Most people still see gender issues as women issues, but it is found that men are more likely to take unhealthy risks and less likely to share their problems that affect their mental and physical state.
Gender sensitization and its objectives for the wellness of our society
Gender sensitization is a program that helps to understand the sensitive needs of a particular gender. For the development of an individual, sensitization is required. Following are the objectives of gender sensitization that needs to be developed:
- Raise awareness in both men and women towards gender issues.
- To educate people about this social issue.
- To help people understand the real meaning of gender sensitization.
- To educate people that gender issues are related not only to women but also men.
- To make bonds between gender and other forms of inequality.
- To provide an integrated approach for understanding the social and cultural aspects of gender in our society.
- Sensitizing people to a world of equals.
- To highlight the contribution of both genders in the development of a well-managed society.
Gender inequality is a stereotypical gender binary for ages in our society. It is our responsibility to sensitize this social prejudice. Various programs, schemes, training centers, workshops, and campaigns are conducted by the government of India to raise awareness of gender inequality.
But then, where are we lagging? In my opinion, every citizen needs to get a proper education and a well-planned approach to learn about this sensitive topic. The government should also work in various participative and interactive sessions on ‘Gender Sensitization’ at various locations in our country. Also, there is a need to provide better knowledge of gender-based prejudice at all levels of society such as theatres, social campaigns, documentaries, and other communicational activities that could raise awareness. The most powerful way to eliminate this issue is by coming forward and taking a stand together. Both genders need to stand together to support and promote the wellness of their life. The opposite gender needs to overcome any sort of inequality.
As Gloria Steinem says, “A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ doesn’t exist: where everyone can be themselves”.
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