NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 33 Gender Discrimination And Gender Equality

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NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 33 Gender Discrimination And Gender Equality

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Also, you can read the NIOS book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of NIOS All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 33 Gender Discrimination And Gender Equality, NIOS Senior Secondary Course Political Science Solutions for All Chapters, You can practice these here.

Gender Discrimination And Gender Equality

Chapter: 33




Answer in one Sentence:

Q.1. What is gender?

Ans. Different images given by society to men and women is gender. 

Q.2. What is Sex?

Ans. Biological differences between men and women.

Q.3. What is gender discrimination?

Ans. Treating men and women differently. 

Q.4. Which article in the Constitution of India prohibits gender discrimination? 

Ans. Article 15(1).


Fill in the Blanks:

1. Distribution of work roles based on a person’s sex is known as ………………. .

Ans. Gender division of labour.

2. Families, which depend only on the earnings of women are called ……………… .

Ans. Female Headed Households.

3. The National Policy of education of ……………. laid down that gender discrimination should be eliminated by education.

Ans. 1986.

4. Lessons, which convey the meaning that man’s place is outside and a woman’s place inside the home are examples of …………….. .

Ans. Gender bias.


State whether “True’ or ‘False’: 

1. Majority of the women in India are employed in the organized sector of the economy. (True/False)

Ans. False.

2. Women working both outside and inside the house suffer from a ‘double burden’. (True/False)

Ans. True.

3. All over the world, there are more women than men in politics. (True/False)

Ans. False.

4. Feminists reject the idea that women’s biological make up determines their abilities. (True/False)

Ans. True.


Fill in the Blanks:

1. A …………… questions and protest gender discrimination.

Ans. Feminist.

2. Housework is generally considered ……………… .

Ans. Unproductive.

3. A family where the father has power and authority is called ………………. .

Ans. Patriarchal family.

4. A society which treats women and men as equals, is referred to as a ……………….. society.

Ans. Gender equal.


Answer the following questions in 200-300 words:

Q.1. Distinguish between sex and gender with the help of suitable examples.

Ans. I. Gender: The world or dictionary meaning of the word (or term) “Gender” is being male of female’.

Another of the term gender is that it is applied when classifying nouns as masculine, feminine or neuter. But the two above mentioned usages of the term gender are too simplistic. The word gender cannot be used to refer to biological differences between males and females. That difference is best described by using the word sex. In other words, the term sex refers to the biological characteristics by which human beings are classified as male and female. Gender, on the other hand, refers to the social, cultural and psychological characteristics by which human behaviour is categorized as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. The term gender is used in sociology to refer to differences society posits in categorising human beings as masculine and feminine. Is there then a difference between the words male and female and masculine and feminine.

Definition of the word gender: Gender is not determined by an individual’s biological characteristics, but by how society looks at the roles of men and women. In other words, gender is socially constructed.

Sex: Sex is determined by differences in biological characteristics. The following examples will help you to understand the differences between gender and sex:

Example 1: It is not a man who gives birth to a child but a women. This is because a woman has the organ uterus or the womb, in which a baby develops before birth. Since a man does not possess this organ, he can not give birth to a baby. This act of a woman giving birth to a baby and a man not being able to do that can be explained by the differential biological characteristics, which moles and females possess. This difference can be understood by using the word sex.

Example 2: A boy falls down while playing with his friends in the school ground. He is hurt badly and starts crying. Instead of giving him first aid, his friends start teasing him by saying ‘Aye! Look at him crying as if he is a girl. Go and get him a frock and bangles so that he can wear those and be a girl’. Why should a boy not cry? When there is physical or mental pain, human beings tend to give an expression to this pain by crying. It is more of a human reaction than a male or a female reaction.

If a girl or a woman cries, it is accepted as perfectly normal thing for her to do but if a boy or a man cries, it is considered unnatural behaviour. A man not crying or a woman crying has nothing to do with their differences in their biological characteristics. This is the way society has come to allocate (assign/distribute) roles to them. Characteristics such as courage, strength, and independence are attributed to boys. Girls are supposed to be timid, weak and dependent. Such socially (attributed) masculine or feminine characteristics can by understood by using the term gender.

Q.2. What is gender discrimination? Discuss its causes.

Ans. I. Meaning of Gender Discrimination: Sex is determined by biological characteristics, and gender is socially constructed (it is the creation of society).

The denial of opportunities in society to a woman, not because she is not eligibility only by virtue of the fact that she is female is known as gender discrimination. 

In theory, there is no gender discrimination in India because the Constitution of India Vide Article 15 (1) prohibits it. 

Gender discrimination exists in all social institutions, prominent examples being family, religion, education, economy and polity. 

Example: All children in the age group 6-11 years must be in primary school, but why do we find more boys than girls in schools? Is not education as important for a girl, as it is for a boy? Why should a girl be kept away from school and forced to work at home, while her brothers attend school regularly? Why should only a girl child do all the housework and her brothers be spared from this burden? It is this differential treatment (act/practice of treating men and women differently) of males and females in our society, which is called gender discrimination. A girl or woman is denied an opportunity not because she is incapable or incompetent but because she is a female. In talking about status of women it is gender discrimination that is borne in mind.

II. Causes of Gender Discrimination:

(i) Wrong attitude of the employees about female workers or employees or officers due to demand of more leave (maternity leave or on biological requirements etc.).

(ii) Preference to a male child by a family or head of the family (generally in India males are head of the family).

(iii) Better or more chances of educations, skill training for males than the females.

(iv) Religion has had a profound impact on human behaviour Religions. has a long past and religions texts have been mostly composed by men. Since women were not allowed to receive education for a long-time, they could not read what was actually written in the religions texts. Therefore, these books have generally been used to discriminate against women.

(v) Negative role played by education or educational institutions in favour of men and against the women. In many ways, education still upholds gender discrimination.

(vi) In political institutions equal representation is not given to women. Only a few female dominate and even they do not like to increase the number of women in parliament or state assemblies due to one or other reasons.

Q.3. Define feminism and state its objectives. (M. Imp.)

Ans. I. Definition of Feminism: Feminism is both a concept and practice (Feminists do not just preach equality between men and women but also try to promote its achievement). Broadly defined, it is a state of awareness that women are oppressed and exploited in all social institutions. Feminism does not just stop at recognizing that there is oppression of women. It believes in raising consciousness and initiating action for bringing about change. They raise questions and resort to protests when women’s rights and self-respect are hurt.

II. Objectives of Feminism:

(i) Feminism rejects the notion (idea) that biological differences between men and women should form the basis for treating them differently. They trace the roots of gender discrimination to the social inequalities that are inbuilt in human societies. Feminists use terms like patriarchy, male domination, female subordination and women’s oppression to explain gender discrimination, which operates in our society. Patriarchy as the word itself findicates, is a system where the father or the patriarch has the control. This control gives him power over other members of the family and creates a belief that men have unlimited power over women.

(ii) The classification of women’s role as reproductive and men’s roles as productive has created a situation where the man came to be recognized as the person contributing to household survival. Even though child bearing and child rearing are very important for the survival and continuation of a society, these roles are always sidelined. This is done by giving women’s labour in these tasks very minimal social and economic value.

(iii) Besides reproductive work, women also run the household. Tasks such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, care of the sick and guest care involve a great deal of physical and mental labour. Just because this labour is unpaid and invisible it is not socially recognized. Feminists argue that this distinction between work as productive and unproductive must cease to exist and women’s contribution, paid or unpaid must be recognized as work. The feminist slogan All women are workers is a clear indication of the need to recognize and respect housework as something as important as other types of work.

(iv) Feminists reject the idea of women as the weaker sex and raise the slogan woman’s biology is not her destiny (just because a person is born a female she need not be forced to play not prevented from playing a particular role).

(v) According to feminists gender related prejudices (narrow-mindedness/intolerance) and practices are deep rooted in all social institutions. Gender division of responsibilities, which was initially an arrangement worked out for convenience turned into an oppressive tool over a period of time. It is true that during certain periods of their life such as pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing women are temporarily away from active participation in public life. Over a period of time, this temporary separation was virtually converted to an exclusion from public life and women came to be relegated to a secondary position.

(vi) Women play two work-roles (both as home-makers and paid workers outside the home) in contrast to men who play a single work-role. Such women work for longer hours, yet social attitudes towards them are essentially biased. Women are treated primarily as ‘wives’ and ‘mothers’ and not as ‘workers’ or ‘producers’.

(vii) Conclusion: In brief, we can say that Feminism is an ideology that believes in the equality of men and women. Feminists are aware of the fact that women are oppressed and exploited in all social institutions and fight this discrimination. The goal of feminism is to establish a gender equal society.

Q.4. What is gender equality? With suitable examples show how it can be achieved in the family.

Ans. I. Meaning of Gender Equality: Gender equality refers to a situation or condition in which men and women receive equal treatment in all social institutions. In a gender equal society women and men have the freedom to exercise their choices and treat each other with respect. Neither is a woman discriminated nor a male preferred. In a gender equal social order, both men and women are liberated from oppressive social expectations and can live and function in a manner, which satisfies themselves and not others.

Gender equality is achieved when obstacles to the liberation of women are removed and women and men share responsibilities not only in the family but society at large.

II. Examples to achieve gender equality in the family: 

(i) Sons and daughters should be treated equal in the family by parents and all male members of the family. 

(ii) Equal division of labour male and female child should be given at home.

(iii) Equal opportunity to take education and academic training males and females.

(iv) All religion texts should re-emphasis (or should be rewritten or re-explained in a rational and democratic manner) gender equality.

(v) All families should grant equal economic protections to male and female members. 

(vi) All economic institutions should pay equal wages or pay to their male and female members. That will also help in increasing the status of women in families.



Q.1. What has been done by the Constitution of India to prohibit gender discrimination?

Ans. Gender discrimination is prohibited by the Constitution of India.

Gender discrimination was prohibited by the Constitution of India vide Article 15 (1) when it declared The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them’.

Q.2. Explain the meaning of gender-equal society is also a gender-just society. (V. Imp.) 

Ans. In a gender equal social set up both men and women are respected for what they can do, and not treated with disrespect for what they cannot do. A male doing housework is as acceptable as a woman doing it. Violence, either in the form of physical abuse or mental torture cannot be tolerated in a gender equal society. In other words a gender-equal society is also a gender-just society. By gender justice, we mean a condition, where men and women are given respect and equal access to oppportunities from the time they are born, and get opportunities because of their competence and not because they are male or female. In the ultimate analysis, gender equality is achieved when women live with dignity and exercise freedom of choice to control their lives both within and outside the household.


Q.1. Write an example to prove that under garb of one excuse or the other gender discrimination is done by the employers in India.

Ans. On ground even after independence we find gender discrimination in the largest democratic country of the world. An example is given below to show gender discrimination to provide job opportunity.

(a) Seema and Sameer are applicants for a job in an engineering firm. Both have passed their engineering examination with distinction. In fact, Seema stood first in her University. She performed very well in the interview. But, it was Sameer and not Seema who was given the job. Seema was really upset about this and went and questioned the manager of the firm. ‘Did I not do well’, she asked. The manager’s reply was like this-Yes, you did well. In fact your performance was better than that of Sameer.

(b) We preferred him because he is a male. You might leave the job when you get married, and even if you remain here, you will ask for maternity leave, when you have children. We cannot afford to loose you or sanction leave’. Seema did not get this job only because she is a woman. It was not her ability that mattered, but the imagined fear of the employer that she may either leave the job or seek leave, which actually took away her chance. If Seema did not have the required qualification, she need not have been given the job, but even though she was the most suitable candidate, she was denied this opportunity. This is a clear case of gender discrimination.

Q.2. How has religion profound impult on increasing “Gender Discrimination” in India? Explain briefly.

Ans. Religion and Gender Discrimination:

(i) All over the world, religion has had a profound impact on human behaviour. Religion has a long past and religious texts have been mostly composed by men. Since women were not allowed to receive education for a long-time, they could not ready what was actually written in the religious texts. So these have often been used to discriminate against women.

(ii) There is little wonder that many values and practices, which suppress women, claim to have religious sanction. Many a time religion double standards, in that in one breath it says that women should be treated with the highest respect, and in another it upholds such practices as humiliation of widows, child marriage or sati. We have earlier read about one instance of this in Manusmriti.

(iii) In many religious rituals women and men are not accorded equal status. A widow or a single woman is not allowed to perform certain rituals. A woman derives her status from her husband and, in his absence she loses that status.

(iv) Since religion has a large following, its influence in formulating social attitudes relating to men and women is very strong.

Q.3. Discuss in brief the Gender equality and Political Institutions in India.

Ans. Political Institutions and Gender Equality in India:

(i) In all societies there is an arrangement for formation and implementation of law and order. In simple societies agencies of social control were largely informal, for example, customs or norms. A council of elders ensured that members of a community followed the norms laid down by that community. As societies became more complex and formal, the state took over the responsibility of governance and institutions such as assemblies and Parliament replaced informal institutions. But whether it was the informal system of political governance or the formal system, the representation of women has always been very low.

(ii) Democracy for most women means casting their votes in elections and not participating as people’s representatives. Politics is still considered as unsuitable for women because they have no experience of handling power.

(iii) It is surprising that in the Indian society which has had a few brave women rulers also, women still continue to be considered unfit for important political positions. Since men have held power in all institutions, they are not really prepared to accept the idea of sharing power with women. This phenomenon is not typical of Indian society, but is noticeable all over the world.

(iv) The 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India gave 1/3rd representation to women in rural and urban local self-government (Panchayats, Municipalities and Corporations) and paved the way for nearly a million women entering the political decision making process.

(v) However, the Women’s Reservation Bill which proposes to give 1/3rd reservation to women in the Parliament and state assemblies is still waiting to be cleared by the legislature. Though women have proved their abilities in managing political responsibilities, it is unfortunate that the bill is still awaiting clearance.

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