Populations in transition (gender and change)

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Gender and change (culture, status and education)

In many countries, a high population growth is associated with a low status of women in the society.

Social norms: the rules for how people should act in a given group or society

Culture: the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge which constitutes the bases of social action.

The UN recommended 3 important points for action :

-legal equity for women

-development to improve the role of women

-an equal share of power

The global gender gap index was introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006. It was made to illustrate the scale of gender disparities around the world and tracking their progress.

The index has 4 key aspects of the quality of life

-economic participation and opportunity

-educational attainment

-political empowerement

-health and survival  







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Gender and change (2)

There is a significant link between gender equality and economic performance: reducing gender inequality would improve productivity and economic growth.


 Women earn around 80 per cent less than men at some of the UK’s leading finance companies,

 More than 8 out of 10 women who start a new job are paid lower average salaries than men

It has been estimated that closing the gender employment gap would boost GDP by

9% in the USA

13% in the EU and Japan

The double-shift syndrome : many working women with families have heavy household responsibilites which prevents them from competing with male colleagues. Women are more likely to be employed part time, increasing the rusk of underemployment and reducing opportunities for promotion



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Gender and change (3)

 Education:   Gender equality is a major issue in Yemen. Fewer girls than boys enrol in school, many tend to be over-age and most drop out before completing basic education (especially in rural areas).  A research paper noted that girls have persistently high rates of drop-out and poor attendance relative to boys.

Studies have shown that a lack of female teachers is one of the factors resulting in low enrolment and retention of girls in schools

 Investment in girls’ education reduces fertility rate, lowers infant and child mortality and cuts maternal mortality, and increases women’s labour force participation rates.

For adult literacy the global male rate was 84.9% and the female rate was 72.1% -  India accounts for 30% of the world’s total illiterate population, and around 70% of those illiterate are women.

Legal Right and land tenure :    In many countries women have less rights than men. For example, they don't have the right to sell the land. There has often been much attention to education of women, but less on land right

In Rwanda men own the land, even though women mainly do the farming. If their husband dies, the land goes back to his family and the women are left without an income

  In Ethiopia women are starting to get land rights, and as a result, there was an increase in the country's GDP, because women can then generate their own income (in Africa, women provide 80% of the agricultural effort to feed their families). An equal distribution of agricultural inputs can increase yields from 20 to 24 %



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Gender and change (4)


Every society assigns different traits, tasks and expectation to males and females.

In China, for example :

Women have to eat in the kitchen

They have unequal education and job opportunities

They are criticised for social drinking and men aren’t

In general, women have less personal autonomy, fewer resources at their disposal, and less influence over decision-making processes.

However, cultural changes occur in response to economic and social movement.

I.e. in Bangladesh, with the growth of the clothing industry , large nu,ber of women were drawn into the human labour force.

Birth ratios

The natural global rate is about 105 males:100 females.

However in some countries males are preffered, resulting in abortion of female foetuses and female infanticide.

This issue is very important in China, where men will outnumber women by 30M by 2020 if current trends continue.



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Gender and change (5)

Family size

Because male are preferred, the family size is often determined when a son is born. Studies have shown that women are more likely to use contraceptive when they have boys than when they have girls/

In some regions, women are found to prefer male offspring (so they don’t get disinherited if they don’t produce a male heir for their husband)


Health and life expectancy

Mortality is higher for males than females, at all ages. Life expectancy is 5 years longer for women.

For the 20-24 age group, male mortality is 2.8 times higher

However, women have a higher risk of becoming visually impaired than men, but they don’t have equal access to health care due to:


a)    their inability to travel unaccompanied to health facilities

b)   differences in the value of treatment for women in different cultures



Due to their lower social and economic power, women and girls are at greater risk of infection and have difficulty in trying to protect themselves from it.

Social norms relating to women can prevent them from accessing HIV information and services.



-Males receive larger monetary returns than females as a result of migration

-In Kenya, rural men are more educated than rural women, and so will migrate in urban areas in greater numbers, since they demand higher educational requirements

-The high rate of fertility in Kenya reduces the likelihood of female migration

-In Latin America, women outnumber men in urban-destined migration streams. However, a higher percentage of women work in the informal sector

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