Gender Differences

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Gender studies Pages: 6 (2058 words) Published: May 17, 2005
Gender and sexuality

Males and females are classed differently from the moment they are pronounced boy or girl. Gender determines the differences in power and control in which men and women have over the socioeconomic determinants of their health, lives and status in their community. Our society moulds how men and women should and should not behave and can be observed in all parts of our society. As a result of these Gender stereotypes men and women have issues which affect their health which are unique to each gender. Males for example are perceived to be greater risk takers as a whole in our society than that of females. We represent risk taking behavior with masculinity and violence, high speed driving and contact sport with the male gender. (Doyle 1985) From the time a male first starts to walk many parents will give him toys which promote violence, they will sign their young boys up for rugby league and buy them the computer games which are based on violent behavior. This perception that the male gender needs to exuberate this type of conduct is a large part due to the society we live in and how males are perceived. Women however due to their lighter frames and child bearing needs are deemed to be more delicate and sensitive then that of the male gender and are suited to more subtle and less aggressive games and often play with dolls as children, are not taught to stand up for themselves and are enrolled in sports such as netball and dancing. Traditionally we have lived in a patriarchal society, in which males were assumed to be the breadwinners of the family to hold down a job and support the household. Women have been characterized as the housewife whom takes care of the family and looks after her husband. This is known as the division of labor, males were seen as the dominant sex purely because they contributed to the family's material well being of the family more than that of the female.(Brettall & Sargent 2005) Only in recent times has this theory started to change with many women now in the workforce. Males still however dominate the participation rates in the workforce as well as occupying the majority of highly placed positions. In 1996 women in the workforce was calculated at 54% whilst males were 74% still a twenty percent difference but a big change from the 48 percent difference in a 1966 poll. (Zadoroznyj, M) This change in the workforce with now many women taking up full time and part-time work has not changed the female's role in the household, in many cases women who go to fulltime work brunt most of the housework and looking after of the children after working hours. Women in the last thirty years or so have fought for equality among the sexes in all forms. The Women's movement have fought hard to change this socially constructed view of our society. Due to this double burden placed on working mothers there is a far greater demand on their bodies and an increasingly likelihood of illness in many forms as well as psychological trauma such as depression and anxiety due to the constant workload. Females in the past were argued as having a less likelihood of illness because they were not as abundant in the workforce thus giving them more relaxation time. When males retire around the age group of 55 to 65 many of them pass away early due to the dramatic change in lifestyle. They go from five days a week working nine or ten hour days to completely nothing and because they have become so adapted to the working week they change their habits, their lifestyle differs and they develop sickness and health problems. As health is seen as a holistic concept we also have to focus on the psychological side of health. Mental illnesses affect around one in every three people and an individual's gender is a critical determinant of mental health and mental illness. Women are much more likely to develop mental health problems then males do. The most predominant of these disorders are...

References: Burck and Speed. (1995) Gender, Power and relationships. London and New York.
Kessler and McKenna. (1978) Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach,. Chicago and London. The University of Chicago Press.
Doyle, J. (1985) Sex and Gender: The Human experience. Iowa. Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
Wainrib, B. (1992) Gender Issues Across the Life Cycle. New York. Sprinder Publishing Company Inc.
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