A community comprises of families as basic units, which are a group of people living together in organized societies. Individuals in a community have various roles that the society deems suitable for them. Most of the gendered roles are usually unwritten or informal, and thus, their definition hinges on the informal rules that leadership in the society presents. Organization in a community presents itself in the manner in which individuals undertake their roles. The roles defined by leadership explain that people in the society have defined roles and activities that they have to undertake. Over the recent past, various communities have experienced challenges relating to changes in cultures and lifestyles that pose a threat to the traditional settings of a community. The challenges of gendered roles cause conflicts in a community because of the changing lifestyles and perceptions among people. Therefore, the essay explains the occurrence of community conflict owing to gendered roles of women.
Community Conflict on Gender Roles
A Community is a social structure that has organized leadership and defined social responsibilities for people to perform. Definition of roles always focuses on gender, age, and authority. For instance, the society believes that some roles are suitable for men, women, youth, or children. The elders usually play the authoritative role in a community. According to Sudha (2000), the major role that a community deems suitable for women in the society is domestic chores, which happen within the homestead and in the house. In contrast, the roles of men are limitless because they are the sole breadwinners of families. On the other hand, male children assist their fathers in activities that they undertake, while daughters help their mothers in performing domestic chores.
Over the recent past, communities experienced challenges related to cultural changes that the new generation accords to culture. The changes in perceptions that the new generation accords to the provisions of culture owes their emergence to factors like technology, education, and economy (Brubaker & Zimmerman, 2009). The initial roles assigned to women are shifting since modern women are educated and liberal as opposed to their past counterparts, who were highly attached to cultural provisions. In addition, gendered roles, which reflect men as a dominant gender because they act as the sole breadwinners, have changed with time.
Currently, both men and women participate in fending for their families. The shift in roles and perceptions about the cultural provisions has generated conflict between conservative and civilized individuals in the community. Change oriented individuals believe that some provisions of culture are no longer applicable in the modern society, while those associated with a culture hold on to its provisions and perceive those associated with change as drifters.
Currently, several communities define the roles of women as domestic duties and limit their freedom to areas around the homestead and the kitchen. Some of the domestic chores associated with women include washing, cooking, and looking after children in the family. Block (2009) explains that the gender roles restrict women to the kitchen and the homestead, but give the man the freedom to leave the house and act as the sole breadwinner of the family. As a result, women perform their chores diligently without complaining since cultural provisions define these roles. A breach of these roles usually causes conflicts in the family and the community. Therefore, women do not question the practicability of their gendered responsibilities since they also hold the notion that culture is unquestionable and its provisions are indisputable
Women spent most of their time caring for the children, cooking, and cleaning, while men perform activities such as professional jobs or businesses. Invisible cultural assumptions, values, and beliefs guide the roles that a community imposes on its individuals (Brubaker & Zimmerman, 2009). Comparatively, the majority of the roles assigned to women are more demanding than those assigned to men. Therefore, in some way, the community exploits women in terms of roles that it defines for them. The misconception that culture is indisputable has made women engage in their chores without complaining. After a long day of working or engaging in businesses, men retire to their houses and relax, while women continually perform their domestic duties without retiring.
Conditions that Has Led to the Current Situation
The current state of community conflict between men and women is due to cultural beliefs and assumptions. Over time, the society has defined gender roles basing on the assumptions and norms provided by the culture. Culture has dictated the roles that men and women perform in the society and has outlined systems that address any breach of its provisions. According to Block (2009), the impact of cultural orientations is evident even in schools where boys and girls associate themselves with the roles defined by culture. Culture also provides rules and guidelines that govern the behaviors of people in a community. Cooking, cleaning house, washing household items, and caring for the welfare of individuals in the family are among the roles that culture assigns to women. Therefore, the current state and gender roles emanate from cultural beliefs, assumptions, and orientations in the community.
The implications of the roles that the community assigns to women are a reduced self-esteem and morale. The roles play a major function in demeaning women in the society since the community links the roles to weaker individuals. Therefore, the community believes that women fall under the cluster of weaker individuals and that they have no option, but they have to perform their responsibilities diligently. Inadequate education and stringent laws provided by individuals in some communities act as barriers to the liberation of women from the current exploitation.
Brubaker and Zimmerman (2009) assert that education, technology, and economic empowerment are some of the drivers that bring changes to community settings hinged on cultural norms and beliefs. As a result, women from various communities in the world suffer silently from the demanding nature of their responsibilities. The suffering that women experience in various countries, especially in developing countries, causes conflict because conservative and civilized individuals hold different values in the community.
Points of Intervention
Some of the possible points of intervention in the current conflict of gendered roles of women include education, legislation, and empowerment. Education cuts across gender and age in the community. The focus of education is to highlight the importance of equal treatment of individuals, irrespective of their genders in the community. In addition, education outlines the fact that all people in the community have similar capacities and that no one is less capable. Effective education is a very practical intervention in managing conflict that exists between men and women in the community. The conflict occurs when the negative impacts of gendered roles exceed positive impacts, and consequently lead to protests about the problems of women (Kriesberg, 2007). Education also broadens the perspective of gendered roles and thus enables people in the community to look at women from a positive point of view.
Empowerment of the community in terms of the economy and skills is essential in the process of solving the conflict linked to cultural orientations and gender roles of women. The conflicts that are prevalent in various communities in the world transpired because some individuals do not have adequate empowerment in economic, social, and political aspects. Through empowerment, individuals living in a certain community shift their opinions and perspectives concerning their culture in line with the merits and demerits that they experience.
According to Sudha (2000), empowerment enables the community to understand that men and women have equal abilities and that each person deserves respect from others. Another intervention strategy that is useful in countering the community conflict owing to gendered roles is the enactment of legislations that advocate for equal treatment of all individuals in different communities, irrespective of their age and gender. The laws must have the capacity to discipline and reprimand individuals, who breach the provisions of these legislations.
Possible Future With and Without Intervention
Effective intervention of community conflict linked to gendered roles of women results in changes of individual perceptions in a society concerning women. The intervention promotes respect and assertiveness in the society since people know that everyone in the community is worthy and important. In addition, the intervention of a conflict initiates a peaceful co-existence among all people in communities as opposed to the prevailing destructive conflicts associated with gendered roles. Notably, a destructive conflict exists when the demerits of gendered roles outweigh the merits (Brubaker & Zimmerman, 2009).
On the other hand, absence of interventions compounds the conflict and escalates it to reach a destructive level since protests and demonstrations increase in a manner that corresponds to the suffering that women experience. Therefore, without proper intervention measures, problems that women experience in terms of gendered roles cause conflict to escalate and reach a full course, where violent protestations and torrential demonstrations emerge.
For several years, women and men have engaged in various roles dictated by cultural beliefs, values, and assumptions. However, technology and education have introduced a conflict between conservative and civilized individuals. The conflict occurs because the demerits of the roles assigned to women outweigh their merits. As a result, there is a conflict relating to the roles associated with various genders. Some of the measures useful in intervention of the conflict include education, legislation, and empowerment of communities. These interventions have the ability to change perceptions of cultural beliefs, values, assumptions, and gendered roles.
Block, P. (2009). Community: The Structure of Belonging. San Francisco: CA: Barrett Koehler Publishers. Web.
Brubaker, D., & Zimmerman, R. (2009). The Little Book Of Healthy Organizations: Tools for Understanding.San Fransisco: Good Books. Web.
Kriesberg, L. (2007). Constructive Conflicts: From Escalation to Resolution. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. Web.
Sudha, D. (2000). Gender Roles. London: APH Publishing. Web.