Gender Inequalities

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A vivid memory I have of my co-ed primary school was when a boy in my class told me I couldn’t run as fast as him because I was a girl. Ten year old me felt disheartened and upset that a peer would say such a thing. I thought, Why would he say that? Even Though I knew I was faster than him. As I reached high school I also attended a co-ed school before moving to Kincoppal. I noticed small things like when a teacher would ask for help carrying things, girls and boys would put their hands up but the teachers would only pick the boys as they are stereotypically ‘stronger’. In Shannon L. Alder’s assertion, “Sometimes your belief system is really your fears attached to rules.”, the issue of gender inequality is highlighted. It indicates that some people’s beliefs are based upon their fears of power and dominance.


Stereotypes are ‘a mistaken idea or belief many people have about a thing or group that is based upon how they look on the outside, which may be untrue’. Stereotyping is a type of prejudice that is very common in today’s society and before. Women were often stereotyped as “housewives” or “useless” whereas men were often stereotyped as “powerful” and “strong”. However in today’s society these stereotypes still take place, such as in the workforce where women are generally stereotyped to be in ‘people-oriented services’ rather than ‘competitive’ occupations where men have traditionally occupied. These gender stereotypes can strongly discourage an adolescent’s self confidence at a young age. For example boys are to be considered as “tough and girls, “caring”. These gender stereotypes can be destructive for young people as boys are taught that it’s not “masculine” to cry. Stereotypes like these can cause serious mental problems in the future. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a US politician, is a strong activist for women and represents the fact that gender stereotypes are untrue. She is a strong, intelligent and powerful leader in US politics and is in inspiration to many girls and women like me around the world. After Donald Trump, US president, made a speech, Ocasio-Cortez refused to stand up for a standing ovation. This represents that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a woman, stands up for what she believes in against a ‘powerful’ man, therefore challenging gender stereotypes. Many people use gender stereotypes to make it seem like they have dominance and power as they are scared of not having those things, therefore relating to the assertion: “Sometimes your belief system is really your fears attached to rules”.

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Gender Based Violence

Gender based violence is “the term used to denote harm inflicted upon individuals and groups that is connected to normative understandings of their gender”. Gender based violence affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime. The violence could be in a number of ways, physically, mentally or verbally. Gender based violence can affect anyone, any gender, any social background or any economic background but affects mostly women. For example Pakistan is the 6th most dangerous country in the world for women. With continually rising numbers of gender based violence like domestic violence, forced marriage and rape cases. Pakistani women’s rights activists like Mukhtaran Mai say it’s a systemic problem. Facilities like police stations and hospitals are located in cities rather than rural areas where most of this violence occurs. The facilities that are in rural areas however view women as ‘commodities’. ‘No government has ever tried to put an end to this mindset,’ Mai said. Activists blame society’s patriarchal attitudes for the problem. Gender Based Violence can happen as the abuser wants to feel dominance and power and can be fearful that violence and making others fear them is the only way they can achieve that.

In the end I raced the boy who said I wouldn’t be as fast as him. I won. I showed him that even though I’m a girl I’m as good as a runner as him. I showed him that stereotypes mean nothing and that he shouldn’t judge me just because I’m a girl. Therefore in Shannon L. Alder’s assertion, “Sometimes your belief system is really your fears attached to rules.”, the issue of gender inequality is highlighted as it indicates that some people’s beliefs are based upon their fears of power and dominance. 


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