103rd International Women’s Day – A change of perception on gender is necessary
March 8, 2013, 11:52 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Early Childhood Education, Gender
"Starting in New York City in 1857, women workers made a tradition of labor actions and protests on March 8. In 1910, the first International Women's Day was celebrated on the same day. This photo shows an early Women's Day protest."

“Starting in New York City in 1857, women workers made a tradition of labor actions and protests on March 8. In 1910, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated on the same day. This photo shows an early Women’s Day protest.”

102 years have passed since the first International Women’s Day was commemorated and we are celebrating the 103rd IWD this year. Although the rights and political and social contributions of women are more valued than before, we must realise that the work does not end here.

More than ever, women are being objectified and there is still a set of fallacies about their “natural instincts” and “social behaviour” adhered to them (common across most cultures). Most women are overworked and under-appreciated as they are responsible for contributing towards the family income AND do what they “naturally do best” – housework, being a nurturing mother and wife. Housewives are considered “non-working” members of the society although they sometimes work from day to night, ensuring that the household is in order. In some cultures and communities, violence committed towards women is still considered a common phenomenon. This stems from the fact that such cultures and communities still hold on to the fact that women should be “punished” and “suppressed”, because they are mere objects whose existence are not considered too important to society-at-large.

Gender inequality affects men too. When men choose to become house husbands, they are considered “lazy” and “useless” members of society. When men choose to pursue their occupational passion in any of the sectors dominated by women such as becoming an educator in a childcare centre, they are considered “unmanly” and many times, barred from doing certain duties because of the general assumption that men have a higher tendency to be pedophiles (a gross misconception). Also, men are expected to hold “masculine” traits, become the main breadwinners of their families and protectors of the “weaker gender”. Those who fall out of the expected set of behaviours and attitudes in life are being labeled and discriminated.

We need to recognise that nurture plays a very important role in shaping behaviours, preferences and attitudes in life among both women and men. No women was naturally born to love pink, diamonds, children or shopping. Likewise, no men was naturally born to love blue, soldiers, adventurers or become leaders in the community. All of these are results of nurture and in order to be fair to our generations to come, we need to work on exposing children to various forms of activities from sports to fine arts without pushing children towards conforming to gender stereotypes.

This is not about inciting a war between the various genders. This is about educating our future generations towards creating a progressive society that gives equal opportunities and respect towards each gender. And to do so, we have to first change our own flawed perceptions about gender roles and the messages we are sending to the young.

I think we can all do it, if we hold enough respect for all human beings in general. What are your thoughts on this?


2 Comments so far
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Thanks, Rachel. What’s so special about this post is that it does not merely reiterates equality for women but stands up for men who believes in doing our part in nurturing. You did right by focusing on breaking down gender stereotypes.

Comment by ape@kinjioleaf

[…] made the further point that a change in perceiving gender is necessary in these times, pointing to unfair expectations of men and some of their related and adverse effects on women. There is a lot more to be done and the fight for social justice and human rights thus […]

Pingback by “Your victories lift us up”: Belated International Women’s Day 2013 edition | Roderick's Journal

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