Inequalities at the Lexical Level
|👩🏼🤝👩🏽 Gender Studies
|Gender Equality, ⚧️ Gender Roles, 🔡 Linguistics, 📖 Social Studies
The world has made significant strides in enhancing gender equity. However, there is a lot of disparity in especially in the developed countries. For instance, women are yet to exhibit their full potential because they are not given similar accolades and platforms with their male counterparts. Although family roles are changing, thereby enabling more women to join the corporate world, the number is so minimal. Nevertheless, this is an indication that it is possible to empower the suppressed gender. However, language has contributed significantly into these inequalities. This paper will therefore, conduct an in-depth research to understand how language affect the interaction of both men and women in the society.
According to the World Health Organization, gender refers to socially constructed aspects that define men and women in the society. These are the norms, roles, and relationship between men and women. However, it’s critical to understand gender varies from one society to the other. Despite people being born either male or female, it is what the norms and behaviours that are instilled in them that define their gender. For instance, men and women are taught how to interact with people of opposite sex while in the society, working place, or in homes (Litosseliti, 2016). Those who do not conform to the norms and behaviours within a particular society face a lot of stigma. In some cases, they are discriminated or excluded from the rest of the community, an aspect that affects their wellbeing. This explains the need to be sensitive when addressing gender issues in the society.
Male words are not equivalent to those of their female counterparts. For example bachelor-spinster are not equivalent with the first letter ‘b’ coming first compared to‘s’. This affects the way people handle the issue of men and women in the society. Furthermore, it has an indirect impact on male in regards to their position in the society (Mooney, 2015).
Gender roles are directed associated to power differentials between women and men. Both the institutional and structural power is affected by the accessibility of the education, economic, and social resources in the society. In many communities, men have a privilege in accessing this structural and institutional form of power. In an example, education provides people with the ability to gather and analyze information. This enables them to understand the world we live in. According to the United Nation 2015 report, women comprise of two thirds of the world population (Mills & Mustapha, 2015). However, the statistics of women who get access to education remains low. In some countries such as Afghanistan, women are not allowed to go t school. This affects their progress and creates room for their marginalization by their male counterparts. The number of women in the world who have higher education remains low. As a result, the high number rarely participates in economic development. This leaves them in the mercies of their men. Even as more organization tries to empower women by sponsoring their education and absorbing them in the working force, the number of those who complete the program is still very low. Therefore, many women fall beneath the global poverty line either in developed or developing countries. Some countries have even tried to amend the constitution in order to create more space for women in the governance. However, dealing with gender issues requires a more robust and comprehensive approach that is long-term and issue-based.
When parents are bringing up their children, gender differences come out clearly. For instance, it’s common to hear a parent tell her child to “cry like a little girl”. On the other hand, they tell their boy child to “take it like a man”. This is one of the aspects that create gender behaviours. Girls are expected to show emotions and relieve stress and pressure by crying. On the contrary, boys are expected to withhold their emotions and show their resilience even when things are tough on them. In another example, parents tell a girl child that “you belong in the kitchen”. However, the same parents tell their boys to “join your father to make the fence”. The differences in the roles between the two sexes define the approach of both men and women towards life. Women are expected to nurture the family by taking care of the children. However, men are expected to feed and support the family financially. These aspects have hindered women from exploiting their potential (Comim, 2014). At school some girls perform better than boys. However, gender construction of behaviours and norms affect their progress. The reason is that they are expected to perform certain roles that hinder their performance in school. For instance, while the boys are revision in the evening, girls are expected to join their mothers in the kitchen and help them prepare supper. These aspects have affected gender equity in corporate world.
Terms for females are in some cases marked by adding a suffix to a male term. For instance, the term host is unmarked. However, hostess is market. This indicates that the experience of the male is the norm while that of a female is a variant or deviation from the form.
The generic he is used to depict both the male and the female. This indicates that women are under the control of their male counterparts. Furthermore, Mr is placed before Mrs, an aspect that indicates the dominance of male over their female counterparts (Alvanoudi, 2015). Moreover, this gendered order indicates that women should always come second. This has a major impact on the mental strength of the women especially when given the same platform with their male counterparts.
In conclusion, the language used to describe make and female has an impact on the way the society handle their issues. This has had a major impact on the way men look at women and vice versa. Furthermore, it has been critical in defining the roles and behaviours of men and women in the society. However, such differences have suppressed women in the society by underscoring at their potential.
- Alvanoudi, A. (2015). Grammatical gender in interaction: Cultural and cognitive aspects. Leiden [u.a.: Brill.
- Comim, F. (2014). Capabilities, gender, equality: Towards fundamental entitlements. Cambridge University Press.
- Litosseliti, L. I. (2016). Gender and Language Theory and Practice. Place of publication not identified: Routledge.
- Mills, S., & Mustapha, A. S. (2015). Gender representation in learning materials: International perspectives. New York: Routledge.
- Mooney, A. (2015). The language, society and power reader. London: Routledge.