“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”
– Abigail Adams
In today’s world of information overload, we might miss something worthwhile. Every week, I’ll be flagging some of the articles I have read, which I found interesting, for you. Here’s the roundup for the week:
- This article in Deutsche Welle, written by Ajit Niranjan, talks about gender budgeting, which aims to remove discrimination from public policy by making policies that are not “gender blind”.
- Starbucks has announced that they have reached 100% gender and racial pay equity in the United States, and have stated that they will work to bridge this gap in all the other countries they operate in. In order to help other companies achieve the same goal, they’ve listed pay equity principles – equal footing, transparency and accountability- that employers can implement to help address known, systemic barriers to global pay equity.
- Elena Ferrante, in her weekend column at Guardian, talks about how women are still unable to be fully themselves in a world that’s governed by male needs. She says “Women live amid permanent contradictions and unsustainable labours. Everything, really everything, has been codified in terms of male needs – even our underwear, sexual practices, maternity. We have to be women according to roles and modalities that make men happy, but we also have to confront men, compete in public places, making them more and better than they are, and being careful not to offend them.”
- Written by Sushma U N at Quartz, this article talks about how Indian companies are actively trying to recruit more women in order to fix their gender diversity problems.
- As part of the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded Family Planning Outreach Programme, which provides much-needed sexual and reproductive health services to rural women, more than 16,000 survivors of gender based violence in Tanzania are receiving clinical services, as well as the referrals required for legal and social services. Intra Health International details how the team responsible for this outcome worked over the past 3 years.
- Yasemin Besen Cassino talks about her new book which studies the origins of the wage gap by studying the teenage workforce. She says “Part-time teenage jobs seem trivial, but they are the first entry into the workforce for girls and boys. In these jobs, they are socialized into the workforce—and they internalize its problems. The wage gap starts with girls—and we need to include them in our movement to close it.”
What this is supposed to mean: Other people, usually of a different gender, say this as a way to make you feel special and unique. They use this tagline as a way of differentiating you from a category you belong to, as a way of explaining why they are attracted to you, or why they want to be around you. By saying you’re not like other girls, they put you on a pedestal, and justify their love or appreciation for you. So you’re not like other girls is supposed to be a compliment, and a way to make you feel unique and special.
What it actually means: When someone says ‘you’re not like other girls’, they’re belittling an entire gender. The ‘other girl’ is an amalgamation of all the negative stereotypes society has about girls– they’re petty, cruel, bitchy, weak, bad leaders, overly emotional, passive, etc. By revealing that this is how they view other girls, a person shows you how they truly view females. ‘You’re not like other girls’ is a statement laden with inherent prejudice.
What it leads to: The statement ‘you’re not like other girls’ pits you against your own gender. It reinforces the notion that the only positive traits are the ones associated with masculinity, and feminine traits are bad, and must be discarded. Especially if you hear this statement as a teenager or younger you’re more likely to distance yourself from feminine activities or traits as you grow older. It makes you believe that to be worthy of attention, you must be less of a girl. Less feminine. The phrase makes you put other people down in order to make yourself feel worthwhile. “You’re not like other girls” sows the seeds of hatred in you. There is power in femininity, just as there is in masculinity, and phrases like this seek to undermine that power, and make you believe to do well you must present yourself as a ‘cool girl’– a girl who has traits associated with masculinity and enjoys activities seen as masculine.
How to respond: When someone tells you you’re not like other girls, correct them. Ask them why being like other girls is a bad thing. Tell them that you’re glad they like you, but you’re proud of the gender you belong to and you would rather not belittle all the amazing girls you know by insisting you’re not like them to satisfy a patriarchal stereotype of what girls are. At the end of the day, all girls aren’t the same, just like all boys aren’t, and it’s harmful to assume they are all different versions of the same mold. So, when someone tells you you’re not like other girls, call them out.
Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e., the state of being male, female, or an intersex variation), sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gender identity.
Redoing Gender seeks to understand the meaning of gender and the social roles associated with it, it’s impact and it’s effect. We believe gender is a social construct that cannot be eradicated or undone, but can be redone in order to have equality and parity between all genders.