Shehzad hathi

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Published on February 27, 2014

Author: socialscribblers



This article has been written for Techkriti Blog for a Cause Contest.
The topic was:
“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the World.” Write about a particular issue concerning the position of women in today’s society.

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Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.* So let it be with their labours. The wretched plebeians hath told you that men do Martian and women do Venusian (er…a little disambiguation here – Venusian does not mean Venereal) and they are awfully conventional people (hence plebeians). Sorry, got a little carried away. The point being, there are always some roles which are considered appropriate for a particular gender in specific social, cultural or economic environments. Consider an Indian scenario in which women pull cycle rickshaws along with men (for those who don’t know what this is like, few words – certainly not typical) or women fighting battles on fronts or men cheerleading. These things are plausible, of course, but then tradition dictates otherwise; so much for emancipation and equality. Some people may like to perceive this as evils of male chauvinism in today’s society. Perhaps, it is not so straightforward. In some ways, gender roles are justified. Sometimes this may be simply because of biological reasons like a father can’t possibly substitute a mother or vice versa. Statistics show that single parent families are significantly more susceptible to poverty than couple families. [1] It is notable that three quarters of these families are those where the mother is the single parent. [2] You can interpret this the way you like – fathers are

indispensable for children or the male chauvinistic world does not provide employment to women. It would be really interesting to test these hypotheses against statistical data about homosexual parents. Such a study was indeed done and it showed that heterosexual parents may actually be better for children than homosexual parents. [3] It seems that in parenting at least gender roles rule. Conventionally, men have been the protectors of the family. In ancient times, one might have needed strength to neutralize factors perilous to the family. You can’t wave property rights documents at a sabretoothed cat. So man, owing to greater physical strength and endurance, must have been the ideal choice to take down the animal; not that sheer brawn (and no brain) can kill such a beast (and I’m notimplying anything here). Let us consider money-mindedness, which is again one of those things that men are considered better at (and it makes sense if you want to keep your family from going broke). Here I would like to quote from the book SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner: Consider a recent pair of experiments in which young men and women were recruited to take an SAT style math test with twenty questions. In one version, every participant was paid a flat rate, $5 for showing up and another $15 for completing the test. In the second version, participants were paid the $5 showup fee and another $2 for each correct answer. How’d they do? In the flat rate version, the men performed only slightly better, getting 1 more correct answer out of 20 than the women. But in the cash incentive version, the men blew away the women. The women’s performance barely budged when compared with the

flat rate version, whereas the average man scored an extra 2 correct questions out of the 20. This could be one reason why man has been the provider for the family. However saying that man is better at providing for the family would be incorrect. In the end, it might just boil down to the fact that not many women have tried doing that due to a variety of reasons. There is evidence that women have led the family at some point in time in history. The obvious example would be Amazons. Although the actual facts related to them are not quite clear but it is believed that they provided for their children, fought wars and carried out all manlyresponsibilities as well as being successful mothers to their daughters (for it is believed that they didn’t raise their male children). Their society was matriarchal or if some accounts are to be believed, female chauvinistic. They were believed to enslave men and only kept them for mating. Probably this is a direct negation of gender roles. Or perhaps the disintegration of their society proves otherwise. In fact, Catherine Gasquoine Hartley, the author of The Position of Woman in Primitive Society: A Study of the Matriarchy writes in her book: My own knowledge and study of primitive customs and ancient civilizations have made it plain to me that there has been a constant rise and fall of male and female dominance, but, I believe, that, on the whole, the superiority of women has been more frequent and more successful than that of men. While this may be a sensational claim (which she has substantiated with an entire book), it might still be considered as an indirect endorsement of gender roles because otherwise matriarchy should not have been more successful than patriarchy.

So what’s the conclusion? I am not claiming that gender roles rule but it is best not to consider them as debunked myths either. SHEHZAD HATHI TECH56894

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