In a sociologicalaspect, gender roles are a set of roles set by society regarding someone’sactual or perceived gender. Throughout the entire world the extent to whichthese roles are followed differs.
The roles for men and roles for women arenothing like each other. Typically, menwere known for going to work every day and providing for their familyfinancially, and women were known for maintaining the house and taking care ofthe children. In some countries, especially those in Northern Africa andSouthwest Asia, these roles were never supposed to change or be performed bythe other gender. The roles of women in Southwest Asia is largely limited incomparison to the roles of women in the US. In this research paper, I plan on discussing the effects on gender rolesin Northern Africa and Southwest Asia alone, and how those gender roles aresimilar and different throughout other regions in the world especially theUS. InNorthern Africa and Southwest Asia, women have more of a restricted and legallimit on their roles in society. The WorldRegional Geography Concepts says that in the Gulf states, women wereexpected to stay out of the public view and remain in private spaces except inthe case of important business.1 However, men could go intopublic, and have the freedom and right to do so.
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Since women were expected to stay in privatespaces, it was up to the men and boys to go out in public to help with whateverthe family needs, for example, running to the grocery store. There are many exceptions to those strict guidelines,but it only lasted for a given amount of time. Researchers believe that the rolesset for women in Northern Africa and Southwest Asia primarily comes from aconservative translation of the Islamic Law, which wanted women to remain in privatespaces. Both North Africa and Southwest Asia have Islam as the most practicedreligion, so the strict gender roles were seen as common in those regions.
Sanja Kelly believes that women in Northern Africa and Southwest weresignificantly underrepresented most visibly in personal-status laws, those ofwhich that regulate marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance, and otheraspects of family life. 2 If anything unfortunate wasto happen to the family, the women were to blame for even if the situation hadnothing to do with them, and it was accepted in these societies.Around other parts of the world, genderroles did not have such strict guidelines especially in Northern Africa andSouthwest Asia. Based on the map below, the US, Canada, and Western Europe hada gender inequality index of 0.3 and below which were the lowest in the world,and in places like, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and India, the gender inequalityindex was at 0.
5 and above, which was ranked the highest in the world.3 Thismap was created by the United Nations to represent gender inequality and howeach country differs from around the world. Based on this map, genderinequality was most prevalent in Northern Africa and Southwest Asia. The US, however,had a smaller gender inequality index, because in the 1990s, gender inequality in the US has been something society worked hard on declining,because of all the significant advancements they wanted towards equality, buttoday gender equality is still not perfect. Microsoft Research says that by2018, there will be 1.
4 million open technology jobs in the U.S. and, at thecurrent rate of students graduating with degrees in computer science, only 61percent of those openings will be filled, and women will fill just 29 percent.4Gender inequality is clearly prevalent around the world, but the question onhow this can all be solved is asked almost every day.
Thereare many ways to solve gender inequality in the world, but it all starts withthe people. One way to solve gender inequality is to have a conversation withwomen and girls regarding this issue. The reason as to why we have not solvedgender equality in this world is that the voices of women and girls are rarelyincluded when making big decisions. It is important to include these women ingirls in the decision-making process, because these decisions could have justas much of an effect on them then it does to the men making these decisions.Another way to solve gender inequality would be making education accessible toany gender, especially in regions like Northern Africa and Southwest Asia.
TheGlobal Partnership for Education says that by making education less gendersensitive it will allow girls to come out of schools as citizens who can shapea more equal society. 5These ideas are just the beginning to making the world a more equal place forall genders. Enforcingstrict gender role guidelines can have a negative impact on one’s life. Imaginebeing told as a kid that you were supposed to grow up to act a certain way justbased on one’s gender. This takes away from someone’s sense of purpose andopportunity in life, and it also doesn’t allow for an equal society.
Althoughthere are major improvements that need to be done in Northern Africa andSouthwest Asia, there is still a chance for them to have a more equal society.1 Pulsipher,Lydia M., et al. World Regional Geography Concepts. third ed., W.H. Freeman andCompany, A Macmillan EducationCompany, 2015.
2 Kelly,Sanja. “RECENT GAINS AND NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN THE GULF ARABSTATES.” Freedom House, 2014, pp. 1–8.
3 HumanDevelopment Reports.” Gender Inequality Index (GII) | Human DevelopmentReports, The United Nations, June 2010,hdr.undp.org/en/content/gender-inequality-index-gii4 Makers.”Women’s Equality Day: Gender Inequalities That Still Exist Today in the U.S.”Makers, MAKERS, 15 May 2017, www.
makers.com/blog/womens-equality-day-stats5 Leach,Anna. “12 Steps to Achieve Gender Equality in Our Lifetimes.” The Guardian,Guardian News and Media, 14 Mar. 2016.