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Why Isn't Gender Sensitivity a "Thing" Yet?

Updated on June 22, 2020

Familiar or not?

Have you ever heard about gender sensitivity? If your answer is no, then let me introduce it to you.

My first encounter about "gender sensitivity" was 3 or 4 years ago, when I was in college. I graduated from an all-girls catholic school and in our region, this is the only school that offers this college course. It only shows that the topic I'm about to discuss is not known to most of us.

If you try to look the bigger picture of the societal issues that is happening now, you can see the discrimination among women.You might say, "women discrimination is so 100 years ago", but why there are still women suffering? Some women are empowered while some, sadly, are not. But hey! don't judge me yet. This topic is not just about women empowerment but also giving men a chance to be heard. Sharing this idea is my own way of letting others know that sexism still exists. Some of us may be unconsciously unaware of our behavior and we are subtly contributing to this issue.

What is Gender?

There's one important thing we must know; the difference between gender and sex. Admit it, majority of the population still doesn't know the difference between them and that includes you. People tend to misuse the word gender and misinterpret it as sex. So what's the difference between them, then?

Sex is determined through the biological attributes of a human being, specifically the reproductive system. Sex is categorized as either a boy or a girl. Gender refers to the social roles and behaviors of a boy and a girl. Therefore, a girl is expected by the society to act like a female and boys are expected to act like a male. When I say "act like a female" or "act like a male", what's the first thing that comes into your mind?

Let's go back to the past!

Try to remember when you were still a kid, what were the toys given to you? What were the games that you should and shouldn't play? What were the colors of your clothes?

Girls are given dolls and cooking set toys. Boys are given mini cars and toy guns. Have you ever asked why little girls are not allowed to play toy guns and toy cars? And same thing goes with the little boys, why they should not play with the dolls? Or even cooking set toys? Because if they do, people will think that there's something wrong with the little kids. Am I making sense to any of you folks now?

Little boy receiving a dart game toy
Little boy receiving a dart game toy | Source
Little girl receiving a stuffed toy
Little girl receiving a stuffed toy | Source

Definition of Gender Sensitivity

This is where gender sensitivity comes in.

Gender sensitivity is the act of being aware and being considerate of other people's practices and roles regardless of their gender. To make it more simple, a gender sensitive person doesn't judge someone even if they go against the norm. For instance, when a man wears a pink colored top, you can accept it without thinking that the man who wears it, is not straight or not masculine.

Based on what I have talked about earlier, this is a clear indicator that gender roles are already inculcated in our society. The simple act of giving a girl with pink colored clothes or giving a boy with toy guns shows that most of us are unaware of our behavior.

As we grow old, these norms set by the society still exist and this might lead to discrimination. For example, women are are expected to be a housewife only, to take care of the children and to clean the house. Women should not lead a country, a company or even a small group of church choir. And so as with men, they can't cook, they can't take care of their babies and they should be the bread winner.

Implications of gender sensitivity to the society

As what they have said, "big things have small beginnings", sad to say this also applies in sexism. Being ignorant about gender sensitivity can lead to sexism or any form of discrimination and from discrimination to harming the individual's mental health.

You see, if you are unaware of this, it is like a small stone being thrown into the river. It will create a ripple effect. And once everyone throws a rock into the river, it will create a disturbance. Similar to our society today, once the majority acts in uniform, it will be a set as norm and it will be hard to undo.

To answer the question, "why isn't gender sensitivity a thing yet?", it is because that people are not educated about in this. There's a lack of promotion about it. Yes, a lot of groups are advocating feminism, women empowerment and equality but maybe should we identify the root cause of sexism first?

It may take years to fully resist sexism and if we compare it now and 100 years ago, there's a huge difference in how women were treated. This article is not just for women, this is for everyone because all we know is that there are just two genders. According to research, there are more than 50 types of gender. You can check the link below. This is spreading awareness for everyone that norms are not always right and we can always change it by starting within ourselves.


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