Monday, February 16, 2009

Masculinity Vs Femininity(Pakistani Context)

Monday, February 16, 2009

There are some factors which we have to consider when we talk about Masculinity and Femininity in any particular culture.

1. Proportion of the gender having more or equal dominance
2. Values held by the different genders
3. Expectations of organizational roles for each gender
4. Contribution of each gender in Decision making
5. Influence of the religion
6. Degree of competitiveness and Assertiveness in genders
Now I will discuss them one by one according to the Pakistani culture
Proportion of the gender having more or equal dominance
The definition of dominance is an individual's preferential access to resources over another. Clearly, if males dominate females, it is to restrict mating opportunities for other males. Dominance is measured by the number of times individuals defer to one another in social or other interactions

This factor has lot to do with the population factor. There are three major cities of Pakistan for which the issue is quite discussable; otherwise if we talk about the major population of Pakistan, Male has the dominance because of many factors. Remember that it is not possible to have the full dominance of any gender in any society. So in this context we have to think which gender has a greater impact comparatively. Now if we talk about the Pakistani culture, Male is normally the sole earner of the family or sometimes there are more than one man who is earning for his family. Another factor that leads to dominance is power. The more a person has the power, the more likelihood of dominance will be there.
The power can be achieved through many sources. One very conventional source is the power through position. So if we closely look at our society, there are more males than females who have the power through position. There are more number of politicians, high level managers and CEOs who are at the top position which shows the male dominance in the society. Now if we follow the above mentioned definition, I cannot find a single profession which has the female dominance until it is something which can only be done by females. The example I had in my mind was Doctors who have specialized in Gynecology. There must be many of course, but still if we safely assume, there are more number of males in any profession than females.
Values held by the different genders
This factor has to do with the importance that a particular gender gives when he/she is working in an environment. Hofstede conducted a research in Canada and China where noted that in a work setting, males value "advancement, earnings, training, up-to-dateness” while females value “friendly atmosphere, position security, physical conditions and manager cooperation” Now if we take the example of Pakistani gender in a work environment, we have to think what both genders value more in a work setting. Salary is an aspect which has the equal importance for both.

But if we talk about the other aspects, Females also look for a friendly work environment where their managers are more cooperative while males are more concerned with growth in an organization. In general, Pakistani women are virtuous, painstaking, graceful, homely, and selfless and God-fearing than western women. As we have discussed earlier that there are more males in Pakistan who are at the top position than females so these factors could be one of the reasons.

Expectations of organizational roles for each gender
For this factor, I have asked 20 people from different background that what role they expect from each gender. I will divide them into three categories. One is Conservatives, other is Mediocres and the third group is Elite group. Three of them gave me three different answers. Conservatives said that there is no need for female to work if the male of the family is earning and it is not at all a good practice that our females go to workplace and work side by side with males. The second group is Mediocres, who believe that Women should work, but they have defined certain roles for women and men. They said that Male can do any sort of work but there are some restrictions for females. They can work in professions like Teaching, Teaching and Teaching. When I asked them what else, they have no answer at all but they have added one thing that Professions like Teaching. The third and the last group is the Elite class of our society who talked about the women and men equality. They have their reservations that women cannot do labor kind of work but otherwise, if we talk about the work setting which we have discussed previously, if the above conditions applied for females, they can work anywhere. Unfortunately, most of the people belong to Mediocre when I conducted this survey and it is the fact that our society mostly wants females to work as a teacher. This doesn’t look quite obvious, if we see our overall environment and our perceptual field, but that is true because most of our population belongs to rural areas.
Contribution of each gender in Decision making
This aspect has more to do with our family setting rather than the work setting because in Work setting there are other certain factors that are pertaining for example designation. When we look our family settings, it is very clear that male has a very dominant position while making any kind of decision. Yes, females are there just to support the decision or give there suggestions, but in the end it’s the male choice to accept this or not. Also this factor has nothing to do with any kind of group. This practice is very common in all type of classes.
Influence of the religion
There are certain restrictions by our religion that Women cannot do any kind of job. There are many different views of different Muslim Scholars. Some says that she can work under some circumstances that she should be provided with secure transportation and should not cross the religious limits as she will be working with men too.
Degree of competitiveness and Assertiveness in genders
The last factor deals with the degree of competitiveness and assertiveness in both genders. Now this factor has certain intricacies. If we look at our environment, we found women as good as males. They are not just competent but also they are very assertive. Research has proved that females are equally competent in terms of mindset as males. But in Pakistani context, when we are discussing this issue, we have analyzed it with two major factors; one is the exposure each gender gets and the other is level of education each gender achieves. There is a trend that is developing now a days to educate women in rural areas but still a lot of work has to be done in order to change the perception who represent a major population of Pakistan. In major cities, we see a trend is emerging to educate their females equivalent to males. But I have seen many girls who still sacrifices for their education and let their brothers go for higher education. If we are taking the example of our university only where the gender ratio is almost the same, we can safely assume that degree of competitiveness and assertiveness is the same. But there is a point which I would like to make that in my two years of MBA; I have seen five to six marriages of my female class fellows. All of them were good at studies and GPA holders. To my surprise, none of them is working any where, hence they are not contributing their competitiveness to the society so what was the purpose of getting good GPAs.
Upbringing of a Male who becomes dominant by the Female who is less dominant
The question was How a Male becomes dominant when he is brought up by a female who is less dominant in our society. I believe we as Pakistani are living in a Collectivist Society. So the upbringing is not just by the mother but it’s the whole family system that is coming in our system from a very long time. We are taught from the very beginning to respect elders and the people around you. The whole family system has values which are mostly common in every family system in our society. I have seen this many times in my life that when someone lacks something, he/she wants his next generation not be what he/she used to be. For example, a teacher who gives you immense workload, if he doesn’t work hard in his student life and because of that he has suffered a lot and he doesn’t want his students to have this same inferiority. I have seen many women who haven’t gone to school when they were young; they have a greater desire than those who are educated to educate their children as much as they can.So the same is true in terms of dominance. In my opinion, it’s a human nature that these inferiority complexes are motivation of the upbringing of a child that is common in Pakistan. Women anywhere in the world want two things for sure regardless of the culture; one is security and other is good behavior.Although research has proved that Women are as competent as males, but still women cannot compare themselves in terms of power and stamina. So they are dependent on males for many reasons, even if they are working somewhere. So the first thing can be inferiority complexes and the second thing is the social values that are coming from generation to generation. We are taught from our childhood that a male can only be the head of the family and he should have a control over it. The mothers taught them that you will be the earner for us in the future, so with the time being he becomes dominant and moredominant. So the kid is not just brought up by the mothers, it’s actually the whole ritual and value system that has an effect on the kid upbringing. Moreover, he got influence from his peers and the happenings around him that how man is more influential than female.


Amna Khalid said...

thank you so much....your article helped me alot in my prezentation....i know itz illegal to copy someonez hard work but...still thank you

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