Paper Title
A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD TO GLOBAL PEACE: ON GENDER IDENTITY AND ROLE
Author
Chinedu Ude & Grace Nwasogwa
Section
Law, Leadership, and Social Sciences
Abstract

Equality is said to be the quality of being the same in quantity, measure, value or status. When applied to human beings, it is a situation whereby people have the same rights, advantages, opportunities and so forth. A person who subscribes to the equality of all people is called an egalitarian. Egalitarianism as a concept is an illusion. The notion takes root in the gender topic: identity, role, norm and stereotype. These gender issues, especially gender stereotypes, are antecedently foregrounded by both forms of sexism: patriarchy and matriarchy. Whereas the latter form is unobvious and seemingly permissible, male chauvinism seems glaringly oppressive. Moreover gender role and gender identity as different concepts are often open to misconstruction. Misconception of this sort may give cause for concern. Identity vis-à-vis role will be looked upon in this paper. This research seeks to bring to the fore the illusoriness of the concept, egalitarianism, which, if not jettisoned, holds great promise for harm. The paper propagates the dire need to shun sexual stereotypes and embrace not the equality but the equity cause, which promises a lasting solution to peace on a global scale.

Keywords
egalitarianism, equity, gender, sexism, equality

Introduction

The issue of gender is prehistoric and as old as man. Movements such as feminism, egalitarianism and, most recently, transvestism have arisen from this gender matter, gender stereotype, in particular. A common goal is shared by these movements: equality of all, regardless of sex or change of sex even, as is the case in transgenderism. But then this mutual objective normally leaves a question hanging in the air: equality of/on what? By implication, equality is not only of many variances but is also relative, if anything, an unattainable ideal: an illusion. Egalitarians have tried so hard to divide it from relativism—the philosophical idea that all criteria of judgment are relative to the individuals and situations involved. This is only an exercise in futility because all human beings are not and cannot be equal. Mother Nature never intended it that way. Thus nurture of any sort, no matter how rigorous, cannot reverse it. This paper is not out to debate which is more important between nature and nurture; it is rather concerned with the great interconnectivity between them. The study therefore raises the alarm: the need for us to relinquish unworkable ideas such as egalitarianism and focus on furthering our understanding of the aforesaid inextricability in order to achieve equity.

Furthermore, the gender matter is a case of both nurture and nature. Humans, on the one hand, as beings of nature exist in two sexes—male and female—like most other creatures. Both male and female are required primarily for procreation. On the other, the human race has nurtured itself; it has evolved into a race of great thinking creatures. Optimal nurture ensures “The [smooth] processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution” (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2016). Remarkable inventions, discoveries and artistry are as a consequence of nurture. Such landmarks would not have seen the light of day had only nature been involved. To this end, humankind needs both phenomena to break the threshold of extinction, thus ensuring the maximization and longevity of its race. This also means that both male and female are required in all spheres of human life. That is, one sex is not only useful on account of one function, say, fecundation, which Mother Nature makes possible; human male and female can and should both be great at progeneration, as well as artistic creations, scientific inventions, research and so on.

 

Gender Is what Sex Is Not

Gender, according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2017), refers to:

The socially constructed characteristics of women and men—such as norms, roles and relationships of/ and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed. While most people are born either male or female, they are taught appropriate norms and behaviours—including how they should interact with others of the same or opposite sex within households, communities and work places.

Sex is different from gender; hence both terms should not be used interchangeably. A distinction by the American Psychological Association (2017) may be of help here:

Sex is assigned at birth and refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.

This proves that gender, although dependent on sex, is not to be determined only biologically; it is rather constructed socially. Whereas sex is about the biological aspects of maleness or femaleness, gender refers to the social and cultural aspects, the expected psychological behaviour of being male or female.  Gender, according to FAO (2016), is basically the relations between men and women, both perceptual and material; it is the central organizing principle of societies, and often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution.

 

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