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UNDERSTANDING GENDER 1.GENDER FORMATION –developing a sense of who you are as boys or girls through everyday interactions with family, friends, media,

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Presentation on theme: "UNDERSTANDING GENDER 1.GENDER FORMATION –developing a sense of who you are as boys or girls through everyday interactions with family, friends, media,"— Presentation transcript:

1 UNDERSTANDING GENDER 1.GENDER FORMATION –developing a sense of who you are as boys or girls through everyday interactions with family, friends, media, culture.

2 GENDER FORMATION CONTINUED Patterns of everyday life have changed so what your life as a girl is now, will be different to the type of life experienced by your parents and grandparents at the same age.

3 GENDER FORMATION CONT. Males and females have been seen to possess a set of opposite and unchanging characteristics e.g. male (masculine) – strong, assertive Female (feminine) – gentle and accommodating. These fixed ways have been challenged as we realise men and women are capable of a range of behaviours depending on the situation that they are in e.g. a boy who is aggressive with mates but gentle and caring with his family.

4 GENDER SMART This involves establishing and maintaining respectful relationships with the opposite sex. It can be difficult as behaviour is influenced by beliefs and practices from society and the community. These beliefs are often related to the issue of power e.g. in some societies men have power and control over women.

5 UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF GENDER Femininity and masculinity are historically and socially constructed and an integral part of social institutions e.g. schools through their practices. There is a need to understand the process of gender construction – how boys and girls prepare themselves as either male or female, so we can work towards equal educational experiences. May become active in interacting with some people but limited when dealing with others e.g. a boy who feels emotionally vulnerable will keep emotions at a distance to prevent being teased.

6 UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF GENDER CONT. Positions may be contradictory or fluid – a boy who is aggressive with mates but sensitive with his Mum. Language shapes the reality that we know and so can limit ideas and concepts available in a particular situation. It gives meaning to the way we understand things in everyday life e.g. teachers may describe a child as being nice and hard working – draws on cultural assumptions about femininity.

7 GENDER AND RELATIONS TO POWER Everyday actions of individuals are shaped by their position in relation to social structures such as the economy, government, mass media and schooling. Gender that can be expressed in terms of differences are not equally valued eg girls can be called Tomboys or boys can be called a girl. Which is more hurtful? Why? Girls may be rewarded by being given a responsibility or job within a classroom. If boys think that this is just a “girl thing”, then it is devalued in importance. Dominant masculine practices such as constant displays of physical power and aggression can place girls in the position of being controlled, powerless and silent.

8 GENDER RELATIONSHIPS OF POWER CONT. Males who do not gain status based on their masculinity eg physical development, strength, sporting ability etc may feel silenced and dominated, also thought to be female like or not man enough. Gender formation can be more apart of group rather than self identity eg the kind of behaviours they experience and engage in with their peers eg playing team sport. Power relationships can be contradictory eg in charge on a football field but abused at home (disempowerment).

9 GIRLS, BOYS AND GENDER The experiences of girls cannot mirror image experiences of boys. Pressures of gender conformity:- –BOYS – Constant tests to establish acceptable masculine self without emotional support eg sport, strong, taking it, sucking it up, macho, maleness. –GIRLS – Pressures relating to body image that can lead to anorexia, bulimia etc, whether to be more like a girl or a boy in different situations. –BOYS – tend towards Maths, Science. –GIRLS – tend towards Arts, Humanities.

10 GIRLS, BOYS AND GENDER cont. Boys create and preserve masculinity through fear of being described as female, which would mean a loss of power to them. This fear of powerlessness may increase negative attitudes / behaviour towards females eg by sexual harassment.

11 CHANGING DIVISION OF LABOUR The world of work and the family are historical concepts not necessarily what best suits the individual. Schools need to challenge students choices of traditionally gendered occupational areas and prepare them to operate efficiently in the work place. If men and women are both working, then an agreement should be reached about which unpaid domestic duties are handled by whom. On the whole women are participating more in the paid workforce but there is not an even distribution of wealth, child rearing and household duties.

12 CHANGING DIVISION OF LABOUR cont. CULTURAL ATTITUDES:- Women should do private, domestic work. Women with family responsibilities cannot pursue the same careers as men. ( see Baby Boom) Not acceptable for a woman to keep a house husband. MATERIAL COSTS:- Average women’s earnings 88% of men’s. Men’s work usually receives more allowances and benefits. Women more often employed part time. A break in service to have children often means missed promotion opportunities. More on the job training for men. Women expected to be leaders of caring industries eg nursing.

13 WORKPLACE STRUCTURES AND FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES Few occupations are available that are structured to easily balance paid work and family responsibilities. Women’s quality of life suffers – needs to balance paid and unpaid work. Over 25% of women with children in full time work. Men often become distanced from the family as they try to better their career. Men and boys need opportunities to develop skills and confidence in relation to family life / domestic work.

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