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that reinforces or deepens their understanding of gender by stressing four key points: critiques of binary thinking; intersectionality of gendered identities; the way that institutions and social …

that reinforces or deepens their understanding of gender by stressing four key points: critiques of binary thinking; intersectionality of gendered identities; the way that institutions and social processes as well as people are gendered; the way that gender is sexualized (and sexuality gendered) – segue into the need to include men in gender equality projects

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  • 1. Gender Equality • development work, regardless of sector, is now required to ‘engender’ development • a contemporary example is Millennium Development Goals
  • 2. Conventional Approach:
    • SEX: our biological make-up; emphasis is given to reproductive physiology; the term ‘female’ is used to designate women’s capacity to bear children; ‘male’ is used to designate the physical characteristics of men
  • 3. Conventional Approach
    • GENDER: the social dimensions of being ‘women’ and ‘men’; these dimensions include learned attitudes and behaviors that mark us as being either ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’
  • 4. Biological Determinism
    • A way of thinking that sees the social world as a result of our ‘genes’ rather than how we organize to reproduce life on a daily and intergenerational basis
  • 5. Gender under Question
  • 6. Lessons:
        • 1 the variability of human biology (that is ‘sex’)
        • 2 the political nature of categories that organize our thinking about gender
        • 3 how our thinking can limit our understanding of human experience
  • 7. Heterosexual Matrix
    • • a dominant model of binary gender identities that makes sense when sexed bodies are expressed through a gender that is oppositionally and hierarchically defined through the practice of heterosexuality as the only socially approved form of sexuality
  • 8. Lesson
    • • 4 a heterosexual matrix anchors our feelings of being gendered Subjects in our sexualized body
  • 9. Gender is Sexualized
    • • in short; gendered identities are sexualized in order to ‘make sense’
    • • ‘ feminine’ women are sexually submissive, chaste
    • • ‘ masculine’ men are sexually dominant and express a strong sex drive
  • 10. Gendered Thinking …
        • • gender is a relationship ; studying only women cannot explain everything;
        • gender is interlocked with class, caste, race, ethnicity, age and other hierarchical social relations ; differences among women (and among men) may be as important as differences between women and men;
        • gender differences are hierarchical , although to different degrees in different cultures; gender complementarity does not exclude hierarchy;
        • More …
  • 11. Gendered Thinking …
        • gender relations are more than definitions – they have a material base (access to and control over resources) – changing culture (ideas and beliefs) is not enough;
        • gender relations are dynamic, historically changing ways of obtaining and distributing social resources – they are sites of political contestation in both the personal and the public sphere;
        • inequalities in gender relations are universal, but the nature of these inequalities is context specific;
        • More …
  • 12. Gendered Thinking …
        • gender identity is related to, but distinct from, sexuality. Cultural norms deem some sexual behaviours feminine (sexual submission) and other sexual behaviours masculine (sexual dominance);
        • gender is a characteristic of more than people – it is a characteristic of social structures and symbolic systems ; studying gender involves much more than studying people.
  • 13. Question your gender definitions:
        • When I use the terms ‘women’ or ‘men,’ which women or men do I have in mind?
        • When I use the term ‘women’ and ‘men’ which women and men do I have in mind?
        • When do I need to use the term ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ so that female or male children are not neglected as a distinct gender group?
  • 14. Question your gender assumptions:
        • What kinds of assumptions inform my personal understanding of gender relations? Of human sexuality?
        • What am I taking for granted when I claim that project activities will be ‘inclusive’?
        • Am I assuming that marginalized groups will be able to participate in project activities? What might need to happen to enable them to participate?
        • More …
  • 15.
        • Am I assuming that marginalized groups will want to participate in project activities?
        • If I design activities for women, have I thought of the repercussions that these activities might have on women after these activities? If activities for men, have I thought of the repercussions that these activities might have on women after these activities?
  • 16. Question your point of view:
        • How have I come to understand the gender dynamics of community participants? Have I listened to everyday people
        • about their situation, or have I talked only to community leaders?
        • If I look at the project from the point of view of community participants, what would the benefits of the project look like?
        • If there are activities that target women, how might men interpret these activities and the women who participate in them?

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