Family and Gender: A Collaborative Framework for Policy Decisions in Health Care and Education
23 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2012 Last revised: 7 Apr 2012
Date Written: March 30, 2012
The concept of gender in policy research is of recent origin. Nature’s differences in construction of gender established a differential pattern of behavior. This was further reinforced by social evolution of institutions over time. Sex as initial representation of gender was used to facilitate creation of organizing principles for understanding such human behavior. Our understanding of such differences in behavior has been overshadowed in policy by a more stark reality of power differential and resultant inequalities in economic and social outcomes. It is a known reality that women face constraints in access to education, health, economic and political, cultural and social opportunities. Discussions are galore, yet policy initiatives are rare and few. Gender invariably gets subsumed in discussions on inequalities under economic and political aspects of inequalities. The resultant rise of feminism and strident demand for voice and representation has not significantly altered these inequalities.
Yet the genders converge in the institution of family. The family can be viewed as a cooperative mechanism for sharing of critical decision making affecting it. This simple but important fact should become the basis for policy decision making, especially in fields of education and health. This would ensure more purposed and equal use of interventions. Its resultant economic and social impact would only facilitate greater economic contributions from families in a population by their impact on decisions of fertility, child and maternal health, education and economic activity.
This paper uses secondary data from rural health care programmes in India to substantiate these arguments and provides a more collaborative agenda for women’s development.
Keywords: Gender, inequalities, access to health acre and education, Family, inclusive development, India
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