Gender and Development

Wissenschaftlicher Aufsatz, 2011

28 Seiten



1.0 Introduction

2.0. Description
2.1 Similarities between males and females
2.2 Gender stereo types
2.3 What men think about men
2.4 What men think about women
2.5 What women think of men
2.6 What women think about women

3.3 Gender roles and responsibilities
3.1 Reproductive roles
3.2 Productive roles
3.3 Patriarchy
3.3.1 What is patriarchy?
3.3.2 Is patriacrchy the same everywhere?
3.3.3 What men control in patriarchy system
3.3.4 Educational and knowledge systems Primary Enrolment by gender and age Are women completely powerless in the patriarchial societies? Do all men benefit from patriarchial . 14 3.4 Why is gender a development issue?
3.5 Feminism
3.6 Gender violence
3.7 Gender discrimination
3.8 Gender division of labour

4.0 General recommendations

5.0 Conclusion





Gender and development continues to be one of the major concerns of our time. It requires respective governments and community leaders to embrace gender and development for the good of our communities. Women have generally been put aside in the areas of planning, allocation of resources and decision making which have deprived society of a potential human capital.

Ever since historical times, men and women have not walked at the same strides. This is evidenced in the areas of commerce, politics, social and economic spheres. They have not lived in the required harmony, yet they are meant to live beside each other to achieve the best out of the natural resources. They should play a complementally role of combining other factors of production for their own benefit. Men have however taken a lead in arenas that benefit him and left what he feels is invariably of less value to the woman. Society has put man in an advantaged position that creates his superiority over the woman through their roles and responsibilities they perform.

1.1 Purpose of the study.

The course will enable students to explore some of the practices of gender and their influence on development.


By definition gender refers to the social construction of males and females. Gender also means the biological construction/natural construction. Social construction of females or male which is un-natural and how a person’s biology is culturally valued and interpreted into locally accepted ideas of what it is to be a woman or man. ‘Gender’ and the hierarchical power relations between women and men based on this are socially constructed, and not derived directly from biology.(Hazel Reeves and Sally Badens 2000).

Gender and development is relevant to men’s and Women’s roles, responsibilities, challenges, needs, interests, expectations, problems, beliefs, perceptions, value systems in today’s social arrangements.

Gender and development integrates men’s and women’s issues in an interdisciplinary way by relating gender and society, specifically and realistically. There is need to understand the ideological practical social, political, economical and cultural frame work in which men and women relate and define development options that suit their needs.

Gender in development is comprehensive and offers a holistic approach to realistic development of men and women in society. Gender in development puts a human face to the development challenge in all aspects of life by addressing men and women’s issues and concerns in education, health, agriculture, industry, management, business, politics, legal systems, employment, environment, population, migration among other issues.

All other human development and management issues involving access and control of life’s option and processes must therefore be gendered.

God made male and female because he was gender sensitive. Because of this gender complementally role, God made Eve after Adam that is, creating female after male to mean that males cannot live without females. In my own experience I have found out that my wife plays a big complementally role in my welfare and development of the family at large. This is seen in the way she contributes economically, socially, morally and generally the companionship towards my own life. There are many areas of her strength that have proved to my areas of weaknesses for instance; being there for our children despite her busy schedules. On my part I try to love these children but for this lady, she reaches deeper to understanding their problems. She must spare time to think about and possibly play for each member of the family which I admittedly am not able to do. These are among the many things that my wife greatly contributes and which I have observed most men are unable to perform.

The above gender differences can be observed at:


Child hood.



Old age.


Males have been perceived by the society as the advantaged, privileged, and preferred but in reality it is not.

1-At birth: death, abandoned, abortion, unwanted.
2-childhood. Neglect, deprivation, disease, death, death malnutrition, child sacrifice, child labor, humiliation, homelessness, poor parenting, voiceless, discrimination, oppression ,vulnerability, loneliness, lack of social care, defilement, rape etc.
3-Adolesence: sexual harassment, unwanted pregnancies, early marriages, stigma, AIDS, diseases, unemployment, peer pressure, forced marriages, poverty, school drop out.
4- Adult hood: poverty, unemployment, disease, death, divorce and separation, domestic violence, psychological torture, barrenness, not getting married, single parenting.
5- Old age- aging, infirmity, neglect, disease, death, discrimination, poverty, memory failure, loneliness, sexual harassment.

For all stages from birth to death, there is segregation, exploitation, stigma, lack of basic needs among other weaknesses.


Biological systems

- Digestive system
- Circulatory system
- Respiration system
- Excretion system
- Reproduction system
- Nervous system


When dealing with gender one has avoid stereotyping (broad generalization or categorization of men and women.)

2.2 What men think about men.

a. They distrust each other about their spouses.
b. They are aggressive towards each other.
c. They respect each other.
d. They are leaders.
e. They always defend each other.

2.3 What men think about women.

a. They are “detoothers”- that they always need assistance from men.
b. They are weaker sex.
c. They gossip a lot.
d. They are emotional.
e. They are easily missed.
f. They easily accept practical sex.
g. They suffer from a dependence syndrome.
h. They are always suspicious.
i. They are always nagging.
j. They do not prioritize.
k. They do not accept their levels in terms of age and position.
l. They believe in their power.

2.5 What women think of men.

a. They are slow thinkers.
b. They are womanizers.
c. They are dictators.
d. They think women are sex objects.
e. They think women are property.
f. They think women are irresponsible.
g. That men in groups think and talk about sex, power and war.
h. They think women cannot do better than men.
i. Women think men are liars.
j. They feel insecure when women are powerful.
k. They don not like being corrected.

2.6. What women think about women.

a. They are kind, loving. This could be explained by the way keep their families even when their husbands decide to abandon their wives and become polygamous. Women keep with that attachment to the abandoned children.
b. They are gossiping. This could be misinterpreted by the way women can be easily gathered for some development programs.
c. They have competition among themselves. This can be interpreted as their ability to copy and implement ideas for the good of their families.
d. They like looking great.
e. They are builders and peace lovers.
f. They think they are secure marriage.
g. They can be trouble causers.
h. They are generous and suspicious.
i. They are critical women leaders.
j. They appreciate one another.
k. They are responsible and selfless.
l. They always strive for the best for the family.
m. They are innovative, honest, easily adaptable.
n. They under rate themselves.
o. They are look up to men for favors and provisions.
p. They are tools for community development.

All this information is reflected in what people say and general norms of society.


3.1 Reproductive roles

are tasks and responsibilities assigned to females by

society and they vary from one culture to another.

The assumption is, that while men and women exist in society together, there roles that should be expected strictly for females, they include:-

3.1.1 Child bearing.
3.1.2 Family planning.
3.1.2 Child rearing.
3.1.3 Child upbringing.
3.1.3 Family care.
3.1.4 Clothing.
3.1.5 Washing.
3.1.6 Cleaning.
3.1.7 Cooking.
3.1.8 Children health and social needs.

Every female is expected to perform these although they are invisible and not measured in monitory terms. Females are burdened with multiple roles and responsibilities in the household as well as in the workspace.

Working mothers have a job to do, bills to pay, shopping to do, kids to keep and feed, clothes to wash and iron. These triple roles keep women burdened with work all the time they are awake.

3.2. Productive Roles.

Are roles assigned to males by society and they are cash based and their roles can be measured and recognized by society.

Their roles are associated with ownership and control of resources. (Land, property, children, business, finance, children, wealthy).

Their roles are valued and measured in monetary forms. If women participate in these roles, they provide support and make a contribution and some times they are the ones heavily involved in the production process especially if the productive roles are on firm. The productive roles can be on-firm or off-firm.

To recognize the men and women perform different roles in society is to appreciate that their needs, problems, challenges are different. It is therefore important to have the right attitude about men and women in regard to the roles and responsibilities they hold.

In today’s social arrangements, gender considerations have to be made in order to overcome unequal/unfair treatment of both males and females.

The question of equality and equity under lies in today’s social arrangements from the household, community, the market and the state levels.


3.3.1 What is patriarchy?

Patriarchy literally means the roles of the father or the patriarch/big chief. It also means male dominated family of a large household with females, males, slaves, juniors, servants, children etc.

Today patriarchy means male domination i.e. the power relationships by which males dominate women and subordinate them.

Subordination occurs at various levels in every day various experiences regardless of class. It is expressed in form of discrimination, disregard, insult, control, exploitation, violence, oppression etc within the family, place of work and society as a whole on the basis of gender differences.

Any one who has been subordinated knows the experience of being non-acceptable and it can be very stigmatizing no matter the age. The feeling of subordination destroys self respect and self confidence and also limits our human aspirations. This has always happened to my life in my administrative tasks. At times it is very risky to take certain decisions even when job descriptions are very clear. Some bosses want to always appear superior which jeopardizes the confidence and consequently the performance of their juniors.

Society everyday condemns any one who acts in non acceptable ways by branding them either unfeminine or un masculine especially when they step out of their socially defined gender spaces where by if they are females they are treated as inferior to men and act kind of social controls are imposed and the controls can be seen everyday in our families, social relations, religion, laws and regulations, schools, text books, in the media, factories, officers and so on.

As we experience subordination, we begin to understand that we are operating in a system that is male dominated and have strong forces that are very different to break in form of superiority and inferiority.

Gender relations are therefore power relations according to Juliet Mitchell a feminist psychologist. Gender relations are power relations operating in a system of social structures and practices which men dominate, oppress and exploit women.

The ideology that men are superior to women and that women should be controlled by men and treated as men’s property has its origin in patriarchy.

3.3.2 Is patriarchy the same every where?

No, not always.

The patriarch nature can be different in different classes in the same society. It can also be different depending on the time in history but the broad principles remain i.e. Men are in control but the nature of their control may differ depending on how different societies are structured.

Patriarchy is very close to cultural practices, but it is influenced by situations prevailing.

3.3.3 What do men control in a patriarchy system?

(i) Women’s productive and labor power

- They control women productive labor power within the household, outside and in paid work.

In the household women provide free services to their children, husbands, and other members of the family throughout their lives and there services are back breaking, endless, repetitive and not considered at all in economic development instead females are portrayed as dependants. Out side the home, men also control women’s labor power by assigning them jobs that keep them near their traditional reproductive rules for instance ;Cooking, washing, clearing, serving, typing etc because of their nimble fingers (quick).

- Society is very selective in what is paid to males and females. Males are paid highly for the same work done by females and that is why in salaried employments, women tend to be employed in low home jobs and yet they do heavy work while males occupy highly paying jobs that require conceptual skills.

So patriarchy has its roots within the social and cultural practices which can be seen in differential treatment of males and female. This keeps females exploited, over worked oppressed at home and at work.

- Man also control women reproductive power. Men have control such that females have no freedom to decide when to get married whom to get married to, how many children to have, whatever they can use contraceptives or terminate a pregnancy. Rules and regulations are laid concerning women’s reproductive capacity is defined such that women have to submit to their male counterparts in marriage.

- In some religions, family planning is prohibited even when women are not physically able to stand repeated pregnancies, this exposes females to a struggle in their reproductive capacity because of strong patriarchal control, even when governments have family planning programs and would wish to control people growth, this is implemented more by females rather than by males in real practice and yet they are the policy makers.

- The ideology of motherhood is central in women situation; they feel subjected towards the burden of mothering and nurturing by patriarchal societies and yet they have limited information concerning mothering and nurturing. They are economically deprived because the have limited knowledge, skills and opportunities. So within society we find that males are powerful over women who are powerless and this can be physically observed in the rates of rape defilement, sexual harassment, etc where by women are enslaved and ensnared by males. Women’s mobility is also controlled by males, i.e. there are restrictions to where and when women can move out of the domestic space but by contrast, male are not restricted on when and where they are to go.

- Men also control property and economic resources, what man have is passed on from are man to another usually from father to son, even where women have the legal right of inheritance there are many social sanctions in regard to what women can own and control.

There have been problems in many societies in regard to widow inheritance and this has its origin in the desire to control property and other economic assets. Many widows have been forced to get inherited and in order to have access in the property and economic assets of their deceased husbands.

- In the family , the institution of the family as the basic unit of society is the most patriarchal/male dominated. The man is considered the head of the household and as such he becomes superior and dominant. He is the one who decides on all matters pertaining to the household. If the decisions made by the household head are not gender sensitive, it leads to gender inequalities. The family becomes more like a political site and with the male head keeping order. But it is generally accepted in society that the presence of a male in a household means control. There is therefore no democracy in the family institution.

- Religion; Most modern religious are patriarchal defining male authority as supreme. Society looks at males as supernaturally ordained by God. The feminine principle of power has been weakened even as far as religion is concerned because most religions have been created, controlled and interpreted by males. It is the males who define morality ethics and behavior. It is the males who assign duties to females. It is males who determine the rights of males and females in religion, almost every religion considers females to be inferior, impure, sinful such that even domestic violence is condoned by religion especially when female behavior is considered deviant.

- In the legal system. The legal systems in most countries are also patriarchal, it gives males powers to define laws and implement them for example in regard to family formation, marriage, inheritance rights, property ownership and control etc. Society considers males to be the natural guardians of the laws that is why the judiciary, judges, lawyers have patriarchal attitude in interpreting the law.

- The economic system and institutions

With in a patriarchal system, men control the economic institutions, they own most of the property, they direct economic activities and they determine the value of different productive activities and yet most of the productive work is done by women, but their contribution is referred to as shadow work, it is completely discounted and under valued.

- Political systems and institutions

This sector is dominated by men and is interpreted by society as a fair system i.e all the political institutions in society at all levels are male dominated from village councils to parliament. There is only a handful of women in political parties and organizations to look for solutions of problems that affect their communities. In order for women to be recognized as important in political institutions, they have to be associated with a strong male figure and they have to function within the parameters defined by males.

- Media. The media is a very important tool that perpetuates gender ideologies, from films, films, television, magazines, news paper, radio etc, the portrayal of females is stereotypical and distorted. Messages about male superiority dominate the media while messages about females inferioty are repeated constantly. The media is dominated by messages of violence against women. As with other sectors. Women are highly under represented in the media.

Females are not as highly professional as the male in the media and this leaves a bias in media reporting coverage, advertising etc. In the daily monitor of 29th August 2011, it is noted that African media side line women. It says that in East Africa where Uganda lies, only 3% of female journalists are included in decision making positions, 27% reported unfair treatment on basis of gender, while 53% cited favoritism. This automatically showed that women have lagged behind in media. The survey conducted in over 25 countries in Africa aims to help set up concrete targets to advance the commitment of women and gender as contained in the Beijing Plat on form for journalists, 1995, the International Federation for Journalists, and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which among others address content of media in respect to women and their representation within the media.

3.3.4 Educational and knowledge systems.

This male domination of knowledge and experiences marginalizes that of females. Formal educational as over the years been institutionalized but still men have assured control over whole areas of knowledge, philosophy theology, law, literature, the arts, science and wear. In many cultures, women are systematically prevented from studying the scriptures and even today, there are few who are few who are allowed to interpret, religious and legal texts, this has led to divisions, oppositions, distinctions etc.

Male dominated knowledge and education has created and perpetuated patriarchal ideologies. It should be remembered that men and women behave and think differently because they have been taught to think in terms of masculinity and femininity.


Ende der Leseprobe aus 28 Seiten


Gender and Development
( Atlantic International University )
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ISBN (Buch)
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gender, development
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DOCTOR Akampurira Abraham (Autor:in), 2011, Gender and Development, München, GRIN Verlag,


  • Dr. Akampurira Abraham am 21.1.2013

    Thank you so much for making my work published. It means a lot towards my academic development.

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