Journalism and gender equality

03. What are concepts related to gender? /

The gender sphere has given rise to many concepts. More than just a glossary of general ideas, they are powerful concepts that promote human rights.  It’s important to be familiar with these concepts if we are to better understand them and use them more effectively in daily life.

Gender roles have been invented by our societies

The concept of gender helps us understand that the distribution of roles, tasks, and obligations is solely the result of our cultural, social, and religious practices. It’s something that has been invented and constructed by society. In no way is it the result of biological predispositions

Gender helps us understand male-female interactions, it is a formidable means of analysing society. It also allows to understand where gender inequality comes from, and how it can be reproduced.

Gender can be seen as a complex concept because it takes into account a wide range of social and cultural factors likely to vary geographically and over time.

Gender is a concept that refers to social roles, relationships between men and women, personality traits, attitudes, behaviour, values, and responsibilities, as well as the power and influence ascribed to men and women respectively by society for development purposes.

Concepts that must be understood 

What do we mean when we talk about gender-related concepts?

Remember: gender is based on the concepts of equality, diversity, and parity: these three terms describe the principles and objectives that need to be achieved. They represent values that guide, direct, and influence public and educational policies. They can be summarised in three categories: equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal capabilities.

Equal rights 

Equality is associated with the idea of justice and exercising the same rights.

Equal rights are written into the constitutions of many countries, perhaps yours. But equal rights do not guarantee equality, because some unequal provisions still exist in the law. For example, under laws on matrimonial regimes, women are not allowed to exercise a profession nor manage their own property without their husband’s permission.

We can also see that women represent only a small percentage of all ambassadors, prefects, head of education authorities, managers, and executives in state civil services. Likewise, men occupy a greater number of leading positions in local government.

Another example – the average hourly wage of women is 22% lower than that of men.

The impact of these career disparities is felt over the long term, with women receiving lower pensions than men.

The concept of gender began to become established in the 1980s to correct these inequalities by steering public policies in certain directions.

Equal opportunities: a legitimate approach to justice and equality  

While the education system is based on the principle of equality, it produces inequality because not all individuals have the same opportunity to benefit from it.

The notion of equal opportunities is about taking steps to correct any inequalities generated by the system by providing more opportunities for individuals marginalised by their social situation.

 In an approach of equality based on the principle of justice that will allow the individual to lead a “good life”.

Access to different positions in society, to the power and advantages of the position, income, wealth and self-respect.

Equality of aptitudes 

This aims to develop people’s aptitudes, that’s to say their skill sets and their freedom to use whatever is available to choose their own way of life.

It is not only about giving individuals equal access to goods, but also about developing their ability to determine and combine what they feel they need in order to achieve their ambitions.

 A few more words on DIVERSITY and parity, which underlie gender concepts

Parity refers to the idea of numerically equal distribution. The term mainly applies to legislature and boards.

We consider there is diversity if there is parity (50-50), likewise there is diversity if the female/male ratio does not exceed a certain threshold.

Sexism means all gender-based prejudices, convictions or discriminations that include the belief that one sex is superior to another.

In its most extreme form, sexism may encourage sexual harassment, rape, or other forms of sexual violence.

The term ‘gender specificity’ refers to the roles, behaviours, activities and social attributes that a given society considers as appropriate for men and women.

Discrimination is the “act of separating, distinguishing individuals or groups based on specific social criteria”.

Affirmative action, also known as positive discrimination, is the temporary favouring of certain groups of people who are systematically discriminated against in order to restore equal opportunities.

Empowerment is the mechanism by which people, organisations, and communities gain mastery over their lives. It refers to the power that an individual can have over their own life, the development of their identity, as well as their bond to the collective.

It expresses the power to act, make choices, transform one’s life and that of others.

It implies 4 powers: The power within, the power to, the power over, and the power with.

Socialisation   is what exposes children to social values as well as examples of socially acceptable behaviour and gender roles. We imitate appropriate behaviour to become acceptable members of society.

Sexual harassment includes any physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature and other conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of women and men, which is unwelcome, unreasonable, and offensive to the recipient.

Moral harassment, also known as mobbing, is defined as a “succession of malicious acts, words or gestures that are likely to undermine the physical and mental health of an individual as well as their dignity”.

It can come in several shapes and forms, and aims to exclude or even annihilate the victim by disparaging them in the eyes of those around them, discrediting them in their job or other activities. In addition, legally recognised workplace harassment is not only downward – superior to employee – but also upward – employee to superior – or even sideways, between peers or colleagues.

The Gender Inequality Index (GII)     created by the United Nations is an index for measurement of gender disparity in the distribution of progress and to quantify the loss of human development due to gender inequality. It is one of the Human Development Indexes. It is measured using 3 dimensions: women’s reproductive health, their empowerment, and labour market participation. It makes it possible to estimate in which countries women are more or less disadvantaged. Its value ranges between 0 and 1; the higher the value, the more there are disparities between men and women.

It is one of the Human Development Indexes.

The Human Development Index      is a statistical index used to rank the human development rates of the world’s countries. It is based on 3 criteria: GDP per capita, life expectancy at birth, and the education level of children aged 17 or more

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