Gender

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To speak of gender is necessarily to make a distinction between sex and gender. While sex is the biologically defined capacity of the human body, gender connotes the social significance attached to members of a particular sex. Gender is, therefore, a human construction that social and cultural conventions, and biological capacities to define its role in puclic and private life and societal institutions. Gender is a relational concept that leads to a focus on the issues of power and unequal relations between men and women. It has to do with the construction of different social roles and cultural models for women and men in a given context, as well as with the dynamics of reproduction and changes in these models. As such, far from being confined to the “private sphere” or related just to those realms of life that are defined as “private”, the gender dimension cuts across every sphere of social experience and all levels of social interaction as well as the political, cultural and economic spheres.

In contemporary times, one of the main issues in detecting social changes is the continuities that young men (on the one side) and young women (on the other) are facing today related with gender model. . Moreover, the gendered dynamics that involve and affect – although in different ways – both boys and girls could be seen as symptom of continuity or change due to “gender” not just in relation to issues that are regarded as “women’s issues” (e.g. reproductive health, family, violence), nor just in relation to the female population. Gender equality refers to social, religious and cultural norms that affect social roles and have traditionally left women without the same opportunities as men and in conditions of relative disadvantage, and which are still evident today. Women’s empowerment and the promotion of social justice between genders should be seen as a circular process: top-down (institutions, laws and politics impacting on women’s lives and possibilities of action) and bottom-up (women’s collective and individual actions changing and improving laws and institutions).