What exactly is gender?

Gender encompasses the financial, economic, and spiritual qualities and advantages that are associated with being male & female. To be a man or a woman for most communities is more than just a question of biological and physical traits. Males and women are expected to dress, behave, and work in distinct ways. Relationships between men and women, whether in the family, the business, or the public realm, reflect understandings about the abilities, qualities, and behaviour that are proper for men and women. Gender varies from sex in that it is social and cultural instead of genetically determined. Gender features and characteristics, which include, for example, the roles that men and women perform and the expectations put on them, differ greatly between countries and change through time. But, because gender characteristics are socially produced, they may be altered to make a society more just and equal.

What's the distinction between gender equity, gender equality, and female empowerment?

Gender equality is the process of treating men and women equally. To maintain fairness, tactics and procedures to compensate for women's historical and societal disadvantages that hinder women and men from functioning on a level playing field must be accessible on a regular basis. Equality stems from equity. Gender equality necessitates equal enjoyment of socially valued goods, opportunities, resources, and rewards both men and women. Women are often excluded or disadvantaged in decision-making and access to economic and social resources wherever gender disparity occurs. As a result, empowering women is a crucial element in fostering equality between the sexes, with an emphasis on detecting and redressing power inequalities and allowing women more responsibility to control their own lives. Gender equality does not imply that men and women become the same; rather, it means that men and women have equal opportunities for advancement and life changes regardless of their gender. For achieve gender equality, women must be strengthened such that judgement at the private and public level, in addition to access to resources, are just no longer biased in favour or males, enabling either men and women to fully engage as equal partners in productive and reproductive life.

Why is it critical to consider gender issues in programme design and implementation?

Gender problems must be considered when creating and executing population and development programmes for two reasons. Secondly, there are disparities in men's and women's positions that necessitate different methods. Second, men and women face structural inequity. There are significant trends of women having less access to resources and opportunities across the board. Furthermore, women are consistently underrepresented in decision-making processes that influence their communities and their personal lives. This pattern of inequality stifles any society's growth since it limits the opportunities of one-half of its population. When women are prevented from attaining their full potential, society as a whole loses out. Program design and execution should strive to address one or both of these concerns.

Is males concerned about gender equality?

The achievement of Gender equality necessitates adjustments for both men and women. More egalitarian relationships will need a redefining of women's or men's rights and obligations in all sectors of life, including the home, the workplace, and society at large. It is consequently critical not to dismiss gender as a component of men's social identities. This truth is sometimes neglected since it is common to see male qualities and attributes as the standard, and female characteristics and attributes as a deviation of the norm.

Yet, gender affects people's lives almost as much as it does women's. Men's personality is influenced by societal norms & perceptions of masculinity, and also by expectation of males like leaders, spouses, or children. Males are generally expected to prioritise their families' monetary necessities above the nurturing and caring tasks attributed to women. Socialization in the household and subsequently in school encourages risk-taking behaviour in young males, which is frequently reinforced by peer pressure and media portrayals. As a result, the lifestyles demanded by men's occupations frequently expose them to higher morbidity and mortality risk than women. Accidents, violence, and alcohol consumption are among the concerns.

Men have the right to provide greater nurturing, and chances for them to do so should be encouraged. Men, too, have obligations in terms of child health, as well as their own and their spouses' sexual and reproductive health. Recognizing men's individual health concerns, as well as their demands and the environment that create them, was necessary for addressing these rights and obligations. Adopting a gender perspective is a critical first step; it demonstrates that males face disadvantages and expenses as a result of gender differences. It also emphasises that gender equality is concerned not only with the roles, duties, and demands of men and women, but also with their interdependence.

Richard V. Reeves brings out an unsettling finding: when favourable impacts are identified from studies on interventions aimed at improving the lives of the poor, the advantages tend to flow to women rather than males. He addresses the findings in his article "Why Men Are Difficult to Assist," which appeared in the most current edition of National Affairs. The post is based on his new book, Of Boys and Men: Why the Contemporary Man Struggles, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It. Here are several examples:

Students educated in the city's K-12 education system enjoy free tuition to practically any institution inside the country, due to a collection of unidentified donors. Similar projects exist in other communities, but the Kalamazoo Promise is exceptionally substantial. It's also one of the few programmes of its sort that has been rigorously assessed, in this case by Timothy Bartik, Brad Hershbein, and Marta Lachowska of the Upjohn Institute. They discovered that the Kalamazoo Promise had a greater impact on the lives of its participants than other, similar initiatives. Yet, the average impact masks a significant gender gap. According to the evaluation team, women in the programme "experience very large gains," including a 45% rise in college completion rates, while "men appear to experience zero benefit." The cost-benefit analysis revealed an overall gain of $69,000 per female participant — a move back on investor of at least 12% — compared to the an overall loss of $21,000 for every male attendee. To summarise, the initiative was both expensive and unsuccessful for males.

After evaluating the data, another study that struck out for me was an evaluation of a mentorship and assistance programme called "Stay the Course" at Tarrant County College, a two-year state school in Fort Worth, Texas. Community colleges are a pillar of the American educational system, educating over 7.7 million students, the majority of whom come from middle- and lower-income homes. Yet, there is a completion issue in the sector: only around half of students who enrol finish (or transfer to a four-year institution) in 3 years. Dropouts outnumber diplomas at a number of these schools. The good news is that there are programmes, such as Stay the Course, that can increase a student's likelihood of succeeding. The bad news is that, as demonstrated by the Fort Worth pilot, they may not work for guys, who are most likely to drop out in the first place. The Fort Worth project increased associate-degree completion amongst women. This is a significant discovery because such an effect is uncommon in any social-policy intervention. But, like with free education in Kalamazoo, the initiative had little effect on male school completion rates.

Nevertheless, Stay the Course and the Kalamazoo Promise are just two of dozens of educational initiatives that appear to help neither boys nor men. An review of three preschool programmes, for example, Abecedarian, Perry, and the Early Training Project, found "large" long-term advantages for girls but "no significant long-term benefits for males." Project READS, a North Carolina summer reading programme, raised literacy scores "substantially" for third-grade girls — the equivalent of a six-week acceleration in learning — but there was a "negative and inconsequential reading score effect" for boys. …

Students in Charlotte, North Carolina, who attended one‘s first-choice high school after participating in a school-choice lottery earned higher GPAs, took more Advanced Placement classes, and were more likely to enrol in college than their peers — however the overall gains were "driven entirely by girls." A new mentoring programme for high-school seniors in New Hampshire nearly doubled the number of girls enrolling in a four-year college, but it had "no average effect." Even female students attending urban schools in Baltimore or Washington, D.C. improved their school achievement. College scholarship schemes in Arkansas and Georgia boosted the percentage of women who earned a degree while having "muted" impacts on white males and "mixed & noisy" impacts on black and Hispanic men.

And so on, for research on the impact of wage subsidies, worker training, and other topics. Reeves observes that a number of studies of such programmes highlight the disparity in results between boys and girls, or men and women, and then conclude (as academic research publications are wont to do) that it merits additional investigation. But, those additional research, much alone policy suggestions that would have improved men's results, do not appear to be occurring.

As a product, Reeves, like the rest of us, wound up relying upon answers that hold true but aren't the outcome of gold standard cause-and-effect social scientific study. "The problem is not that guys have less possibilities; it is that they are not grabbing them," he writes. The difficulty appears to be a general reduction in agency, ambition, and motivation."

"[W]here there is a difference by gender, it is almost always in favour of girls and women," Reeves adds. The only true exception to this norm is in some vocational programmes or institutions, which appear to help men more than women – one of the many reason i are lacking in them." Might such programmes communicate less plainly to people with less agency, ambition, and motivation?

If women had much lower rates of college enrollment, it would be considered a national issue. That's how it was perceived. As Reeves points out:

Title IX, a historic act promoting gender equality in higher ed, were created by Congress in 1972. Rightly so: there was a 13 percentage point discrepancy in the proportion of bachelor's degrees awarded to males versus women at the time. The margin had narrowed in less than a decade. The gender disparity in bachelor's degrees was 15 points greater in 2019 compared to the previous year, 1972, albeit in the opposite direction. In today's American educational system, women greatly surpass males. ... In example, in the United States, the 2020 reduction in college enrolment was seven times larger for students than for female students. At the same time, male students struggled with online courses more so than female students.

Communities with a sizable number of unhappy and floundering young men will face a slew of other issues.

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