Politics in Minutes (2016)

Gender politics

Women make up more than half the world’s population and yet for most of human history, they have been regarded and treated as ‘second-class citizens’, and denied legal, social and economic rights, and access to the political process. They were denied these rights purely and simply because they were women – the justification, seemingly, that women were an inferior and weaker sex, incapable of competing with men in the harsh world of politics. Women’s struggle to overcome this situation gave rise to a new type of politics – one that is based primarily on sex and gender rather than, for example, class or race. Often seen as synonymous, sex and gender are quite different. While sex refers to biological maleness or femaleness, gender refers to socially or culturally imposed roles. This distinction has given rise to gender politics – a politics that challenges gender roles as a means of subordinating not only women, but also gays, lesbians, transsexuals and others who are discriminated against purely because of their sexuality or gender assumptions.