AFR/WMST 202 Quiz 1 Notes

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Pennsylvania State University
African Studies
AFR 202
Clemente Abrokwaa

AFR 202: Gender Dynamics in Africa Introduction 1. Why Gender Studies in The Curriculum? a. The school is only a reflection of the society hence gender relations need to be studied. b. Students graduate and return to the society – they must know the prevailing social problems to assist in solving them. c. The school curriculum should address all social issues as well as the different forms of knowledge systems. d. Gender Equality is a basic human/civil right of every individual in every society. 2. Some Definitions a. Gender i. Socially constructed roles based on biological sex ii. Social perceptions of sex and sex roles b. Sex: i. Male, Female – a set of biological (physiological) differences c. Feminism i. The principle that women should have political, economic and social rights equal to those of men ii. The movement to win such rights for women iii. Ideological or social/political movement concerned with the liberation of women d. Culture: i. The way of life of a given group of people – includes: 1. Inter/intra relationships within the group 2. Religion, political structure and governance 3. Knowledge and skills 4. Forms of Education 5. Tradition and Customs 6. Music and Dance 7. Marriage and Divorce systems 8. Children, family and adult relationships/structures 9. Gender relations and social roles 3. Social Labels a. Male – Female b. Masculine - Feminine c. Man – Woman d. Boy – Girl 4. The Single Unifying Factor a. We are all human beings b. We share the same basic human qualities i. Life, mind & body ii. All human beings are equal at this level or stage. c. We share the same fundamental human rights i. Life, liberty and the right to happiness and property d. “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains” – Jean Jacques Rousseau 5. Gender Relations a. Biological Theory (Nature): i. Common or unwritten social belief in the physical differences existing between men and women ii. Differences defined as “weakness” and “strength” iii. Society assigns social roles to the genders based on physical differences iv. Biological argument considers women’s bodies as weak, delicate and frail hence unsuitable for certain roles – e.g. Hunting, fishing, war, etc. v. Argument: Women are biologically/physically suited to specific social roles. This helps to develop their skills and knowledge as women/females vi. Result: 1. Women assigned to “private” (home/domestic) tasks/Men assigned to public (civil service, mainstream economy) jobs 2. This belief creates dependency on men 3. Women become subordinates and economically dependent on men 4. Men become sole decision-makers in society 5. Creation of a social hierarchy vii. Theory: Gender is nature driven/construction b. Socio-Cultural Theory (Nurture) i. Society and culture create gender relations hence deliberate and learned ii. Women’s subordination in society, by men, is deliberate to give men advantage over women iii. Gender inequalities can therefore be unlearned – by changing this cultural belief system iv. Note: Feminists use the socio-cultural argument to counter the Biological assumptions seeking equal opportunity for the genders v. Theory: That gender is a social construct 6. Human Groups and The Social Contract: a. Human beings live in groups for individual and group protection b
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