Explain the difference between sex and Gender. How does gender link to inequality in society?
This essay will define the difference between sex and Gender. It will also explore the gender inequalities that exist in Ireland today. Sex and gender are very often said to be the same thing, when in fact they are two very different things. ‘Gender refers to the meanings that arise out of sexual classification: and to the socially constructed experiences and identities that arise from assumed sexual differences (Share et al 2007, p.244).
In contrast ‘Sex is commonly held to refer to the differing physical attributes, genital arrangements, chromosomal structures, reproductive systems and secondary sexual characteristics (Share et al 2007, p.244). In simpler terms, sex is connected with physical and biological attributes and characteristics which you are born with and it falls into two categories, male and female (Share et al 2007). Although society is becoming modernized and is trying to make all members equal, gender inequalities still lie within. This essay will discuss some of these inequalities and how they impact on Irish society.
Gender and Inequalities
According to Jane Pilcher, gender inequalities begin from a young age. Males and females are given ‘scripts’ from which they must learn their own appropriate language. Socialisation helps this to happen. Young boys and girls are thought to belong to their own group or category. For example, little boys are supposed to play outside with boy’s toys and be somewhat tougher while little girls would remain indoors, playing with baby dolls and kitchens, almost like little mothers. This is seen as a social norm for most families (Pilcher 2001, p.72). From these early teachings, inequalities can arise from a young age. If little boys were to play little girls games or vice versa, bullying most often occurs. Although these norms occur, the can be changed by socialisation. ‘Gender inequality can be reduced or even eradicated if the social scripts learned via socialisation are changed, through mechanisms like non-sexist child rearing’ (Pilcher, 2001 p.72). If children were brought up without these social ‘scripts’ some of these inequalities may not form.
According to A Sociology of Ireland, there are three main viewpoints related to the change in the relationship between men and women. This has taken place slowly over the last three decades. The first viewpoint is that Ireland is becoming more modern. The roles of men and women are changing. What was once a country where women stayed in the home and men went out and worked, is now a very changed society. Men are taking on the roles of childcare and home duties while women go out and focus on their career. Also the election of women presidents, politicians and female sports stars have helped in this change. The opposed view of this is that women are still discriminated against. Take work and law as an example, two areas that are highly dominated by...