The curse of gender has been born by women worldwide. Gender equality is still a distant dream in many backward countries. Beaten, maimed, raped, burnt alive and subject to various forms of oppression, women had been suffering silently. But enlightened men and women all over the world took up the cause of gender equality. Labeled as feminists, these persons have been actively combating gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality.
Gender stereotypes are perpetuated by the socialization process as well as the media, the school and the family. This has led to the evolution of gender stereotypes of masculine and feminine. And gender equality has appeared to be a loser. A little girl is gifted with a doll while a boy plays with tin soldiers. Stereotypes of feminity, dressing up, cooking, embroidery is a part of girls rearing while boys love to play with bikes and machines. Stereotypes of gender associated with women are that they are submissive, emotional, neat, and interested in child rearing and home making. The men are aggressive, emotionless, loud, athletic, money minded and breadwinners.
The sexism or patriarchy that works against gender equality operates globally. Gender stereotypes have pervaded all areas. Men earn 90 percent of the world's income and own 99 percent of its property. They commit 90 percent of crimes of violence, including almost 100 percent of rapes. The power struggle has reached the household too. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in 1991, that household division of labor is rigidly ordered by gender. Like their counterparts 20 years ago, Australian women spend 70 percent of their unpaid time working on domestic chores compared to men who devoted only 30 per cent. Women are paid lesser than men for similar jobs and also have to work twice as hard managing family and career.
"I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in my way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other (3:195)". Thus says the Holy Quran asserting the equality of man and woman before God. Not all men are chauvinists. Many are supportive of gender equality. Depending on the degree of commitment towards gender equality one may classify them into four types: Active Friendly, Passive friendly, Passive hostile, Active hostile.
In an ideal world male and female gender need not be conflicting. Feminism questions the binary construct of gender and envisions a multigendered world without the fetters of tradition or customs.
The war between the sexes that raged on in the last century has slowed down with both parties coming to compromise. Stress, lack of time and financial pressures of modern life has resulted in promoting gender equality and shedding away of traditional stereotypes. Men are willing to share household chores and women to chase their career aspirations. But in traditional societies there are still miles to go for the politics of gender to turn favorably towards gender equality.