Gender inequality has been one of the characteristic principles of interaction between people for millennia. Despite significant changes in modern society, people continue to treat men and women differently. In my opinion, people of different genders are indeed prone to different activities, but this does not mean that they cannot perform actions that are “not characteristic” of their gender. However, the existing structure in society often suppresses such manifestations of individuality.
Barbara Risman, in the article Gender as structure, writes about the system of intergender relationships. Her work is based on various studies by sociologists on the interaction of people of different genders. According to Risman (1998), society can indeed be thought of as a structure. Often it determines the roles of people in the family, at work, and in other areas of life. For example, gender distribution affects who does household chores and even wage levels. Undoubtedly, it cannot be called fair, so some parts of this structure should definitely be changed.
The creation of a specific gender structure largely determines the behavior of people. According to Risman (1998), “gender structure creates gendered selves” (p. 298). In other words, people are often perceived not as a collection of certain personal characteristics, but as a generalized set of gender stereotypes. Social expectations force people to perform even those actions to which they are not predisposed. Depending on gender, people obey established patterns, sometimes without even trying to listen to their true desires. This article helped me better understand how social principles and gender are related. Indeed, some parts of the structure are fair enough: for example, men are more prone to hard physical work. Despite this, regardless of gender, people wave to do exactly what they feel is right and necessary.
Risman, B. (1998). Gender as structure. Gender Vertigo: American Families in Transition.