Culture in The Process of Gender Construction

Culture is Very Instrumental in The Process of Gender Construction
DS101 “Culture is very instrumental in the process of gender construction.” Substantiate  this statement with concrete examples.

Culture is the way of life  of a group of people, the behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols that they are accepted generally without thinking about them and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. Culture is dynamic in nature, this means that, peoples way of life are not static and stagnant. Thus culture is always in the process of change due to interactions thus Africans have adopted the difference system of life of people from Iran, France, and British due to the interaction among those societies.

Gender is the context, gender is defined as the social political, economic and cultural relationship between men and women in the society. This definition emanates from the fact that the relationship that exist between men and women is built within the community. So gender is works, there is no clear defined gender based division of labor and therefore, no reciprocal obligation to work exists between men and women to fulfill her marital obligation to her husband can be enough reason for a family dispute.

Gender construction is the process of creating gender differences that exists in the society. Gender construction defines what is masculine and what is feminine that has occurred and is occurring in the society. From the question, it is absolutely true that culture is very instrumental in the process of gender construction, there are some cultural practices which led to gender construction/ differences. However the following are cultural practices leading to gender construction.

First level of culture is the national level which has dominated the intellectual field. According to gender construction, culture has affected the national level whereby this is mostly influenced on political matter where by men tend to occupy high governmental posts and women tend to be there assistants. This is due to the fact that men are considered superior and women inferior, as a result inferior individuals are not capable of running national activities.

Second level of culture is at the family level this is done according to the roles of women and men in the family together with there children, whereby at family level the father is considered to be head of the family and the mother is the assistant who tends to run various domestic activities in the house. As the matter of fact men tend to make all decisions concerning family matters while the mother listen and obey the husband. Also according to the children, they are brought up in a way that male children consider themselves superior than the female children as the result girls tend to perform various tasks in the house as a way of helping their mothers while the boys tend to relax or study.

Thirdly at the international level, gender construction has occurred due to the fact that most of the leaders and powerful and intelectual people happen to be men as a result most of the women all over the world lack enough experience in leadership skills since men tend to occupy in all levels. A good example it happen that most of the leaders in the world include presdents are men very few countries have women as there leaders this is due to the fact that men happen to be superior than the women.

Religion and beliefs. Religion refers to strong belief in a supernatural powers that control human destiny. Those beliefs vary greatly from society to society and among people. There are different types of religion around the world. These include Christianity, Islamic religion, Budhaism, Hinduism, Judaism and so on. All these religion influence gender construction in respective communities in which they practices for example among the Muslim there are several beliefs which are practiced such as on the different setting positions of  man and woman in the mosque whereby man sit on the front and woman in the behind covering all parts of their bodies. On the other hand Christianity beliefs include the restrictions of the church where by many women are given law positions as compared to men. The issue of polygamy as cultural practice towards gender construction. Polygamy is the condition or practice of having more than one spouse at a time. In majority of African societies, the culture of a man  having more than one  children as a sign of power  in the society. This practices lead to gender construction as the society consider only men to be in a position of having many wives and not the wife to have many husbands as a single time. Example, polygamy is very widespread across Kenya and right now are of the South Africa. Presdent Jacob Zuma is declaring openly that he agrees with polygamy and he is currently marred three wives, at the same time he has 20 children. However majority of African culture set the issues of polygamy as the right of the men hence creating gender differences in the society.

Language. Language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consting of the use of words in a structural and conventional way. Traditional culture involved the use of a polite and respectful language especially among the youth when addressing their orders. This involved the use of proper greetings as accompanied by respectful names such as father, mother, sister, uncle, grandmother and so on, as well as words such as thank you, welcome and get well soon. Due to cultural diversity, language now take different forms resulting to change on how men and women in the society for instance, at family levels, women and men find it fit to address each other by their names instead of using names such as husbands, wife, sister, brother and so on. This has been adopted from the western culture by most African cultures today.

In additional there are new vocabularies which are used by men and women to address the appropriate gender. This is common among the youth. In current Tanzanian societies for instance there is the emergency of names such as “demu” which is used to mean a young matured female. There have also been the use of abuse languages used among men and woman especially youth.

Norms. These are culturally defined expectations of behaviors. They are guidelines we use to determine how we should behave in many given situation and what would be considered in appropriate behavior. In African culture for example, it is considered appropriate to serve men with the most and best food thus the father as the head of the family to be given the first priority in serving of food and is served with the best portion before any other member. Also in some societies it is considered proper that women are never to challenge men in public and are to oblige to each and every decision made by men in the families. It also includes doing all the daily house works and fulfilling all the marital obligations.

Values. These are culturally defined standard for  what is good and what is desireable. Members of the culture use the shared system of values to decide what is good and what is bad . values differ from one society to another and they are intangible. They include love, respect, democracy. Independence ideas of racial, sexual, religious and gender superiority.

In the aspect of democracy, for instance there are the periodic selection which are conducted on free and fair ground such that there is gender equality and both men and women are given equal chance to choose leaders as well as compete for political positions. This is the evident in Tanzanian context where by as a result of the 2015 election conducted on 25th of October, honorable Samia Suluhu managed to become the first female vice president of Tanzania. Honorable John Pombe Magufuli being the presdent. Thus values provides for stabilities and uniformities in group interaction, hence creating sense of belongness among people who shared commonly as well as bringing legitimacy to the rules that govern specific activities.

Custom and traditions are other of culture aspect and element of culture also very from one society to another this influence gender constractions in these respective societies example the issue of femalegenital mutilation (FGM) is defined by WHO (World Health Organisation) as all produces that involve partial or total removal of  the external female genital or other injury to the female genital organs for non medical reasons. It is recognized as a violation of human rights of women and girls. The main aim of FGM is to reduce women sexual desires before marriage, so we can see it is one gender which is affected here. Apart from that, this practices affects majority of women as the worried population decrease due to death of women and girls affect. Exercises bleeding, also women and girls are affected psychologically, due to intensive pain and lastly it leads to transmission of sexual transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS due to sharing of sharp tools such as razor, blades and knives.

For instance in 2014 UNICEF published that it described as the most comprehensive compilation of data and analysis in the provelence of FGM in Africa and the middle East using more than 70 national surveys produced over a period of more than 20 years, the report focused on the 29 countries where the practice is most common. In 8 countries, almost all young girls are cut. In Somalia the prevelences is 98%, in Guinea 96% in Djbout93% and in Egypt91% than other countries follows such as Mali 89%, Sudan 88% Gambia76%, Tanzania15%, Uganda and Cameroon 19%.

Conclusively, although culture tend to create rence between the two gender but still the government from different African countries with cooperations of non-governmental of organizations (NGO’S) focuses on empowering women from family level up to national level such as providing special seat of women in the parliament, giving them schoralship in education, involving them in political issues such as 2015 election in Tanzania we had a woman in contesting in presidential seat and property inheritance.


Meena, R (1992) Gender in Southern Africa:Conceptual and Theoretical Issues, SAPES Books, Harare.

Ostergaard, L (1992). Genderand Development Approach: A Practical Guide. New York: Westview press.

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