Gender and Power Relations

2422 Words May 11th, 2012 10 Pages
Gender and power relations continue to be at odds with each other in the post-millennium era. Critically review how we still live in a male dominated society where patriarchal power still holds the ‘key’ to the door (s) and windows of ‘freedom’, self-identity and expression. Critically engage with this statement drawing on key writers in the field of religion, ethnicity and gender relations
The most accepted definition for the term patriarchy is the social structure of society based on the father having primary responsibility for the welfare of and authority over their families. Patriarchy does not mean that all men are powerful and women are powerless, but it does indicate that the most powerful roles are held mostly by men. According to
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453-454).
Islamic practices are emphasized on the role of the family and are of great importance as a backbone for a moral and ethical society. The key structural favour to directly promote gender equality is economic empowerment. Unless these women have economic autonomy, the struggle for equality is less viable. If the State raises the levels of literacy and education then it can help women’s empowerment by facilitating entrance into the job market. (Farhed, 2000, p. 463). Women in North Africa and the Middle East are underrepresented in schools and within the labour force; they die younger than women in other parts of the world, give birth to large numbers of closely-spaced children jeopardizing their own health and their child’s health. Women because of their nurturing role in society are expected to protect their children from all harm and are responsible for their well-being yet they subject their daughters to female genital mutilation (FGM) to ensure their virginity until marriage. Women and girls all around the world suffer the harmful and life-threatening effects of traditional and cultural practices that continue under the guise of cultural and social conformism and religious beliefs. FGM can lead to death and infertility and long term psychological trauma combined with physical suffering (UNICEF, 2010). In patriarchal societies men dictate what is considered as an acceptable female image and have control over every aspect…