Gender Economy Essay

Pages: 7 (2174 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

¶ … articles by Julie Nelson, Gabrielle Meagher, and Marilyn Warning. These will need to be finished in the reference section as well as in the in text citations.


Gender Economy

According to Mead, "gender is a social construct specifying the socially and culturally prescribed roles that men and women are to follow." In other words, how men and women are supposed to act in determined in how gender roles are defined by society. These gender roles determine the roles that people are supposed to follow. Women have always had lower status than men within society, but the extent of the gap between the sexes often varies across cultures and time. "In 1980, the United Nations summed up the burden of this inequality: Women, who comprise half the world's population, do two thirds of the world's work, earn one tenth of the world's income and own one hundredth of the world's property" (Mead, n.d.).

Gender can take on either of two distinct meanings. The first, and most obvious, is the biological. In that sense, sender is just the description of female or male. The second is the social construction of the concept referring to associations, serotypes and social patterns concerning the differences between women and men. It is becoming more the norm to refer to biological differences as sex, and to use the word gender to encompass the social and cultural constructions based upon differences between the sexes (Burnett, 1999).

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An individual's specific definition of self is usually based on that person's understanding of what it means to be a man or woman. It also consists of conforming to sanctions and expectations that are considered gender appropriate behaviour. The socialization process tends to controls people in several ways:

Gives us a definition of ourselves

Defines the external world and our place in it

Provides our definition of others, our relationships

Encourages and discourages acquisition of certain skills by gender

Refers to the complex social, political, economic, and psychological relations between men and women in society

Essay on Gender Economy Assignment

Gender is part of the social structure.

Gender speaks of unequal power relations between men and women (Understanding Gender, n.d.).

The differences between men and women can often be seen in what is called economic sex. "Economic sex is the duality that stretches toward the illusory goal of economic, political, legal and social equality" (Illich, 1990). In this design, males and females are neutered economic agents, stripped of any quality other than the functions of consumer and worker (Illich, 1990).

Power relations between different actors are greatly influenced by gender, class and ethnicity. In many countries, women are particularly disadvantaged, with limited ownership and access rights to the resources. They often derive little or no benefit because of this. Often times, marginalized groups, including women, may be able to negotiate access to resources from those with more powerful access and decision-making positions. Gender issues are especially relevant. They shape not only the different roles and responsibilities of women and men, but also the relations between women and men, and how these affect access to and control over resources (Fajber, n.d.).

Research and development activities should make possible the understanding and awareness among researchers and community members alike of social and power relations in the community, and of the differences and inequities regarding the access to, control over, and benefits in regards to resources. In research and development, there is often discussion of working with the community. It is important also to remember that communities are not homogenous. Communities are made up of very diverse sets of social actors, governed by social and power relations, and various decision-making processes regarding ecosystem management and resource use. This also holds true for the level of the household, which is a unit made up of diverse individuals (Fajber, n.d.).

Gender disparities while present in most countries and groups, are typically much larger for households with lower socio-economic status. The combined effect of gender and socio-economic inequalities is often to exclude young women from poor households from attending school and getting rewarding jobs, denying them possibilities of self-expression and political voice, and exposing them to hazards that put at risk their health (Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, 2009).

Recently, development policy literature has begun to highlight the importance of governance in poverty reduction efforts. It has also been argued that poverty reduction and sustainable human development should be the goal of governance. Links have been discovered between strong political representation of women and a high incidence of female poverty, suggesting that increasing women's political representation may be instrumental to reducing women's poverty. Governance efforts will not necessarily lead to poverty reduction and it is known that poverty reduction efforts do not necessarily reduce gender inequalities. These synergies cannot be assumed. A win-win approach to gender, poverty and governance tends to murky the gender-specific mechanisms, which create the disadvantages that women have (Baden, 1999).

Taking another look at the governance debates from a gender perspective tends to highlight constraints to poor women's effective participation in governance processes and, consequently, suggests how governance structures and processes can be made more accountable to poor women. Gender accountability, does not flow simply from increased participation of women in governance processes. The effectiveness of women's participation in terms of their ability to articulate gender interests, and the impact of this on actual resource allocation processes and decisions, is also critical (Baden, 1999).

Understanding the role that rules, norms and practices have in determining entitlements is key to understanding gendered experiences and the processes of poverty. The feminization of poverty argument is not helpful if it is used to justify poverty reduction efforts which uncritically target female headed households but which do not challenge the underlying rules of the game. Gendered institutional analysis can provide an entry point for rethinking governance debates from the perspective of poor women (Baden, 1999).

The current development cooperation efforts that are underway to support governance, raises issues of internal vs. external accountability and potential ideological bias. These are sensitive in the context of support to gender objectives, where accusations of cultural imperialism are easily raised. External aid programs need to take into consideration internal political agendas and proceed with caution. At a more practical level, the small scale, fragmentary and often informal nature of women's organizing also poses problems for external support where bureaucratic application requirements and reporting procedures are in place (Baden, 1999).

The distinction between sex and gender is central to contemporary feminism. The idea of gender refers to the social construction of sexual identity, a construction that assigns differing roles, rights and opportunities to person based upon their sex. Gender difference entails hierarchical difference. The social construction of maleness is of higher status and privilege than the social construction of femaleness (Burnett, 1999).

The importance of appropriately accounting for and valuing reproductive labor is a major them in efforts to take gender into account in macroeconomic theory and modeling. Accounting for reproductive labor is necessary in order to understand the conditions that are required for the functioning of the market economy. Adequate measures of the value of household production are required in order to understand the extent of gender inequality. It also helps to avoid bias in measurement of economic growth when female labor force participation increases or when production shifts from the household to the market (Burnett, 1999).

Economics has increasingly become to be defined not by its subject matter but by a particular way in which people view the world. The phrase the economic approach is commonly used to mean the viewing a problem in terms of choices. This is especially true for the person who is trying to maximize the choices that they were given (Neslon, ).

Economists all over are aware of the fact that women's roles in the household negatively affect their compensation in paid labor markets. Neoclassical economics takes women's responsibility for domestic labor as a given. It explains wage gaps as the result of women's rational choices to jointly maximize household income. This assumes that women have a comparative advantage in household labor because the wages they give up in the market to devote more time to the household are less than men's wages. Thus women choose jobs and careers which, although lower paying, are compatible with their household responsibilities (Burnett, 1999).

Gender is now a central category of analysis for both applied and theoretical feminist economics. It allows feminist economists to examine the ways in which traditional disciplinary accounts have misrepresented the lives and experiences of women, people of color and other less economically privileged people. These examinations reveal the biases and distortions entailed by andocentric theorizing, as well as the ways that such theorizing naturalized and protects gender, race and class privilege. Applying the lens of gender to all aspects of economics has the potential to transform the ways that feminist economists think about the economy and their own discipline. One of the challenges to feminist economics is to further incorporate analyses… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Gender Economy" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Gender Economy.  (2009, October 7).  Retrieved October 29, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Gender Economy."  7 October 2009.  Web.  29 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Gender Economy."  October 7, 2009.  Accessed October 29, 2020.