Handbook of the psychology of women and gender Essay Sample

The society is made up of different people and for a society to progress; there must be harmony and understanding between the different people. People are defined based on their background but the most prominent definition has been based on the gender. Gender means the aspect of being either male or female and hence roles in the society are also subdivided based on gender. There are roles which are said to belong to the male gender while other roles are meant for the female gender.

The topic of discussion in this context and based on the reading that I have been able to understand is gender discrimination (Unger, 2001). Gender discrimination refers to the alienation of one gender, in this case, women from taking on certain roles in the society. The discrimination is based on the belief that women are not meant or they are weak to undertake roles believed to belong to men. I feel that gender discrimination is an important topic since it affects all aspects of the human life from family, social relationships, economic activities as well as political issues and leadership. Gender discrimination should not be encouraged, although we often experience it without knowing and at times knowingly.

Empirical Article Review

              The empirical article selected for this paper is one based on gender definition whereby people are assigned roles in the society based on their gender (Unger, 2001). The female gender is supposed to only perform certain duties. The primary purpose of this empirical article was to inform the reader about the perceptions on the roles of the different gender that people have and how these differences can be explained using biological and social factors. The article aimed at providing a clear understanding of what people know about gender and how the society plays a major role in the differences that are observed on the male and female gender (Paludi, 2004).

From the article, the hypotheses that the authors were trying to understand and test was whether there is any connection between the biological and social factors on the kind of behavior that different genders display within the society (Unger, 2001). In addition, the authors were making efforts to contribute that the social aspects in the life of human beings have greater impact on the behavior of human beings more than the genetic factors.

From the empirical article, the method used by the authors involved the practical training of a male to perform different roles that are believed to belong to the female gender. The author placed the brother in different roles and taught him how to perform roles that were meant for the female gender (Unger, 2001). Over time, the brother gained experience and came to appreciate the efforts of the older sister since he was able to perform different roles for himself and hence become independent. From the test results, it was found that the male gender and the female gender can both take on different roles that are said to belong to different gender. The only problem is the society and a change in the perception of the society can also bring change in the roles that the female and male genders play (Paludi, 2004). The conclusion that definition of gender and the roles that each gender plays can be played by both impacts on the topic on gender discrimination that there is need to change the perception regarding gender.

Application of article to Gender Discrimination

              The article provided on the definition of gender has been applicable in several areas in life from my real life experience, I have read about gender discrimination which is based on the gender definition as provided in the articles to issues ion the society which affects us (Unger, 2001). From the history readings that I have had during my course, women in the society were greatly discriminated against in terms of the roles that they were supposed to undertake. For example, in the history of the African society, women were mean t to be housewives and never to engage in any economic activity such as employment (Paludi, 2004). This saw the discrimination against women whereby they were never offered any major positions in the corporate world, something that to some extent still is experienced in some companies. Women in the society were alienated and meant to be mothers and wives only. Their duty was to help with the house chores and to feed the children as well as look after their husbands. The role of the male gender was to make decisions as well as to fend for the family (Paludi, 2004).

Furthermore, I have had experiences regarding gender discrimination based on the role that women are supposed to play in the society. For example, the definition of women as the weak gender and are only meant to take up certain roles have played out in my life. At one time, I went to apply for college and in the process met a certain young lady that was from an African background (Unger, 2001). From the talk with her, I managed to gather that the decision to have her apply for the college was reached by her father despite her view that she never wanted to join this certain college. In another instance, I found out from a friend, Spanish lady that her mother does not go to work despite having the opportunity to work and help support her husband. She had the chance to get employed by due to the definition of her roles and the perception of the husband, the mother was never allowed to take up any position of employment.

Next Steps/Questions

              In the modern world, I have been able to see changes in the way the female gender is treated and how rules and regulations have been put in place to help in ensuring that there is equality between the male and the female gender (Paludi, 2004). However, despite the efforts that are continuously being made, I still have some unanswered questions. For example, is it just the nature of humanity, especially the males, to discriminate against women? Does the society have the sole responsibility of shaping our behavior or there are some which cannot be changed? I think there ios need for more research on this issue of gender and what exactly makes the female gender different from the male gender (Unger, 2001).

Statistical data is needed that will help understanding the phenomenon of defining gender and exploration should specifically be directed at the intelligence capacity. Apart from gender definition based on the physical roles, I would love to know more about how the biological factors, that is gene, help in strengthening this definition (Paludi, 2004). It would be important for research and experiments to be carried out specifically on the genetic composition of the female gender and that of the male gender to help determine the differences and how these differences impact on the lives of people.


Paludi, M. A. (2004). Praeger guide to the psychology of gender. Westport, Conn: Praeger Publishers.

Unger, R. K. (2001). Handbook of the psychology of women and gender. New York: Wiley.

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