Gender Studies: Introduction and Basic Concepts

Do you know Gender Studies originated in the field of women’s studies, concerning women, feminism, gender, and politics? Here you will find a detailed introduction to gender studies and the basic concepts of this subject.

Introduction and Basic Concepts of Gender Studies

The field now overlaps with queer studies and men’s studies. Men and women are two essential characters of human life. The creation of Adam was not considered complete till the emergence of eve. The literature is filled with clichés and proverbs which emphasize the significance of both partners in life.

It is interesting that this significance is interpreted differently by different groups of thoughts. Some groups want to believe that women and men have hierarchical positions, men being superior. The other extreme group wants to believe that men and women are absolutely equal, and this equality is misinterpreted as sameness.

One may be a very staunch advocate of the equality of men and women in society. However, a strong belief that men and women should be equally treated does not indicate that they are identical.

Rather, it means that they should have equal rights, equal opportunities, equal significance, equal benefits, and equal share of responsibilities. One should not forget that equality is not synonymous with sameness.

Men and women are different biologically, and also to some extent socially and emotionally.

Biological factors determine the physical differences between men and women, whereas, social, cultural, and environmental factors give rise to personality differences, temperamental differences, and the differences in the roles and expectations of the members of both sexes.

Think of the activities that take place in an average household during the course of a day. Food is cooked; cleaning is done – sweeping, mopping, and dusting. Groceries and other household items are purchased. Clothes are washed, dried, and ironed. Sometimes household repairs are carried out.

Garbage is discarded. Also, the people who live in the house need to be looked after. Sometimes they may have special needs-for example babies need constant supervision.

These are some of the things that are required to be done to keep homes functioning. These activities take a lot of time, and many are to be done on a daily basis. The people who do them expend a lot of energy and may be exhausted when they are finished. Most of the time, women perform these tasks.

Put together, these tasks are called housework. Given this name, it may be surprising to learn that housework is not considered to work in economic or social terms.

It is seen as a set of tasks that is naturally performed by the women of a household. It is not, for example, calculated as part of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

This is in spite of the fact that if the women of the house are unable or unwilling to do these tasks, other people will do them- but only if they are paid to do so. Housework is not the only area in which women’s work is not recognized as work. But according to the prevalent statistics, only a tiny fraction of women are in the workforce.

The question that is to be raised, then, is why is the economic contribution of so many women seen as being trivial.

Gender studies recognize that gender has to be taken seriously. It is also a field that recognizes that often, within academic disciplines and also other spheres of society, the perspective that has been applied has been that of the most powerful people in society and that this is often at the expense of less powerful people.

Gender studies then exist as an important means of correcting such imbalances.

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