Gender Discrimination: Meaning & Consequences

Inappropriate treatment of children based on gender may occur in many different areas of school life, including but not limited to scholastics, extracurricular, classroom organization, student enrollment & punishment, grading, and physical education. In every major developed nation except India, female infants have a better chance of surviving, are much more likely to have normally been developing, and are equally likely to attend preschool. It is also more common for girls to quit school.

What does Gender Discrimination Define?

Males and females are the primary divisions of people based on biological distinctions into sexes. The social roles given to men and women based on their sexes are referred to as gender. The distinction between a person's sex and gender is that although the former is based on biology, the latter is established by societal definitions of roles and behavior. An illustration will highlight the distinction between sex and gender. Given that she delivers the kid due to her biology, a woman is seen to play a sex role when she gives birth to a child.

Because she is acting in a way customarily associated with women in her society when she cares for the kid in the capacity of a mother, we refer to her as playing a gender role. According to George Peter Murdock, the sexual division of labor in society is legitimately based on the biological differences between men and women. Talcott Parsons asserts that a woman's primary responsibility in the traditional family is to raise the children in a loving and nurturing environment. Men played the primary position of breadwinners in these homes. In an ideal world, men and women play complementary roles.

Gender Disparity issues in India− What Makes It Happen?

There is a widespread problem with gender inequality in India, negatively affecting Indian women and girls. Inequality between the sexes has various root causes, but a few of the most prevalent are−

  • Social Inequality − Despite its recent rise to fame and impressive record of economic growth, India remains one of the best world's poorest nations, which is a major contributor to gender disparity. One of the major drawbacks is that even if schools may be found in remote regions, parents often send their sons rather than their daughters.

  • Our Patriarchal Indian Heritage − Asia has been a highly patriarchal culture for a long time. As a result of the patriarchal system in place, women in India are treated as second-class citizens. Because they were not considered citizens in their own right, women had no voice in the neighborhood or national politics.

  • Disregard for Education or Literacy − It is well-known that there is a gender gap in India's literacy rates. The discrepancy between certain regional states and others is larger than in others. The issue is not a shortage of educated women in India but a failure to use their rights.

  • Teaching Females to the Issue − Lack of knowledge about women's rights and how they might advance contributes to gender inequity. A common cause of this blind spot is the pervasive societal and cultural standards that insist women should be subordinate to males. Eliminating these obstacles and educating women on their rights is crucial if they are to demand equality.

  • Habits, Ideas, and Activities of a Society − Social norms, cultural traditions, and the patriarchal structure of Indian society all contribute to the marginalization of women and the denial of chances that are more often given to males.

Biological Theory of Sex Roles

According to George Peter Murdock, the basis for the social system of sexual labor division is the biological distinctions between men and women. Men tend to fill positions that call for physical strength since they are physically stronger than women. Women are connected with activities relevant to raising a family since they can bear children. However, according to Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox, cultural differences, biological elements, and human behavior may exist.

They refer to it as "human biogrammer," and men's and women's biogrammers differ somewhat. According to Talcott Parsons, women play an "expressive" role in the family, providing the warmth and emotional support needed for the kid to develop social skills. As the primary provider for the family and society, males have an "instrumental" role. The functions of the expressive and instrumental parts are both crucial and complementary.

Sociological Theory of Sex Roles

According to British sociologist Ann Oakley, gender is a cultural concept, whereas sex is a biological concept. The term "gender" describes a person's sex after socialization. The division of labor is not always present, according to Oakley. She does not concur with Murdock. The idea that women are physiologically unable to perform the strenuous job is false in her eyes. She also mentioned that working women do not harm their children's development.

She claims that the purpose of the "expressive role" of women and the "instrumental function" of males is for the convenience of men. One of the pioneers of sociology, Emile Durkheim, claimed that in prehistoric civilizations, men and women were about equal in terms of brain and power. Only when civilization advanced new laws emerged that forbade women from working outside the house. As a result, they lost strength and intelligence. The socialization process starts the minute a person is born. Sex roles are acquired behaviors when kids are socialized into them. As a result, the division of sex roles is a social phenomenon and learned behavior. Women have been indoctrinated into submissive positions for ages.

Challenges of Global Gender Discrimination

Despite some progress, the global gender education gap persists. Nearly a quarter of young women ages 15 to 24 do not complete elementary school, and 58% of the population does not have that level of education. Two-thirds of the world's illiterate population is female. Women's futures and chances are profoundly impacted when they are not afforded the same educational options as men. Women only have the same legal rights in the workplace as males in six nations worldwide. It is true that in most economies, women have just 3/4 of the rights that men have. Creating a level playing field for women in the workplace has been shown to have a beneficial impact in other areas where discrimination against women is prevalent.

Inadequate Legal Safeguards

Data from the World Economic Forum shows that over a billion women worldwide do not have legal protection from sexual or economic abuse at home. Both greatly affect how successful and liberated women can be. There is a dearth of legal safeguards for victims of workplace, school, and public harassment in many nations. As a result, women in these settings become vulnerable and, without adequate safety measures, are more likely to make choices that hinder their progress.

There are still many places in the globe where women lack autonomy, including in matters of the body and motherhood. Having easy access to contraception is often a major challenge. According to World Health Organization, about 200 million women who do not want to have children are not using contraception. Reasons for this include restrictive access, cultural and religious hostility, and a dearth of available alternatives. About 40 percent of pregnancies worldwide are unintended, with 50% culminating in abortion and 38% leading to live births. Most of the time, these moms lose their independence when they have to rely on other sources of income, such as family or the government.


A culture's thinking plays a major role in shaping gender roles in society. In every field, from the workplace to the courtroom to the hospital, how society defines men and women and their relative worth is front and center. Even though legislation and structural changes may help bring about change, there is sometimes resistance after periods of significant success due to entrenched beliefs around gender. Also, when there is progress, like more women in positions of power, it is usual for everyone to forget about other forms of gender discrimination. Gender inequality is maintained, and this way of thinking slows progress.

Updated on: 05-Apr-2023


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