Conflation between sex and gender: affecting women in all spheres of life
It is important to notice the conflation between sex and gender that affects women in public affairs but also in their private lives. . Usually, it becomes difficult to believe that something that is so intrinsically tied to a biological or physiological characteristic (sex) can actually be seen as a social construction (gender). Judith Butler once said, “gender is not a fact, gender is something that is produced”. Through socialisation, gender messages from the mass media, family, peers and teachers are spread entailing men as the breadwinners of the family while women as the primary caretaker of children while also being responsible for performing similar tasks limited to the domestic sphere. This showcases the disparity between men and women which has naturalised overtime. “If we do something over and over again, it becomes normal. If we see the same thing over and over again, it becomes normal” (9).
Beyond the private realm, “if we keep seeing only men as heads of the corporations, it starts to seem “natural” that only men should be the heads of corporations” (9). To an extent, this acts as a barrier for women in workplaces which prevents them from reaching higher positions. “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it” (Clinton). Hilary Clinton’s consolation to her supporters in 2008 was eerily prophetic of her fate in the 2016 presidential elections where Donald trump experienced a landslide victory. The united states of America, a self-proclaimed champion of women’s rights, failing to produce a single female leader in the past couple of centuries reveals the restrictive, claustrophobic and daunting ceiling constantly looming over women.
Therefore, recognising the positions of prestige and power being occupied by mostly men and acknowledging the societies' need to recognise leadership as being unrelated to the hormones or strength of a person but in fact being linked to the capabilities of individuals is very important.
Butler, Judith. “Sex and Gender in Simone De Beauvoir's Second Sex.” Yale French Studies, no. 72, 1986, pp. 35–49. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2930225. Accessed 31 Mar. 2021.
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. We Should All Be Feminists. New York, NY, Vintage Books, 2014.
Maclean's June 7, 2016. “Hillary Clinton, 2008: 18 Million Cracks in the Glass Ceiling.” Macleans.ca, 8 June 2016, www.macleans.ca/politics/washington/hillary-clinton-2008-18-million-cracks-in-the-hardest-glass-ceiling/.