Wednesday, 6 January 2016

One Woman, all Women?

For many women, problems of nationality, class and race are inextricably linked to their specific oppression as women. In many instances gender equality must be accompanied by changes in other fronts.

Since the issue of 'women' became important to the global political and social agenda in the 1960's, the question of whether we can legitimately speak about women as a group has been an important one. Within one country, the differences between individual women are determined by their social background,class, education, ethnicity and age. The experiences of a black single mother living in an inner city area may have little in common with those of the wife of a wealthy white suburban banker.
How can the term 'sisters' or gender equality  be used with anything other than irony in the face of the hierarchical structure that exist between different women?

Women are oppressed not only by their gender but by their caste and colour etc, sharing these oppressions with men from similar social groups. But if poor men are doubly oppressed by their colour and class, poor women experience a 'triple yoke of oppression'.

In order to understand gender in the struggles against other forms of oppression in developing world, we have to understand more about the legacy of hierarchy and inequality left by colonisation and some of the post colonial institutions including gender relations.

Food for thought!