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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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gender

Too Many Men

“Nothing like this has happened in human history. A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology in the world’s two largest countries has created a gender imbalance on a continental scale. Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

There are far-reaching consequences to the gender imbalances in India and China.  The fantastically rich article covers four major impacts: 

Village life and mental health. Among men, loneliness and depression are widespread. Villages are emptying out. Men are learning to cook and perform other chores long relegated to women.

Housing prices and savings rates. Bachelors are furiously building houses in China to attract wives, and prices are soaring. But otherwise they are not spending, and that in turn fuels China’s huge trade surplus. In India, there is the opposite effect: Because brides are scarce, families are under less pressure to save for expensive dowries. 

Human trafficking. Trafficking of brides is on the rise. Foreign women are being recruited and lured to China, effectively creating similar imbalances in China’s neighbors.

Public safety. With the increase in men has come a surge in sexual crime in India and concerns about a rise in other crimes in both countries. Harassment of schoolgirls in India has in some towns sparked an effort to push back — but at a cost of restricting them to more protected lives.

 

Tags: gender, ChinaIndia, culture, population.

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The brutal world of sheep fighting: the illegal sport beloved by Algeria’s ‘lost generation’

“Algeria’s ‘lost generation’ has been shaped by years of conflict, unemployment and state repression. Sheep fighting offers an arena where young men can escape the constant supervision of the state.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

I must confess that it was a mixture of morbid curiosity, the allure of the strangely exotic, with more than a dash of horror that initially impelled me to read this article.  If if is not your thing (and I’m guessing that by the title you should already know), I certainly understand and don’t recommend that you read it.  However, there was some intriguing geography in the article as it painted a bleak picture of disenfranchised young men in a pent-up country that did not experience an Arab Spring.  Some elements in this article that I thing might intrigue geography teachers are: the pastoral folk culture of North Africa impacting their popular culture pastimes, complexly gendered cultural customs and place-based cultural politics.   

 

Tags: culture, gendersport, folk cultures, Algeria, Middle East.

Pakistan’s traditional third gender isn’t happy with the trans movement

For centuries, South Asia has had its own Khawaja Sira or third gender culture. Now, some third gender people in Pakistan say the modern transgender identity is threatening their ancient culture.

Source: www.pri.org

Sometimes our assumptions about a society, and how they might react to cultural issues are just that…assumptions.  I for one was very surprised to learn that Pakistan had a a traditional third gender. 

 

Tags: culture, developmentpodcast, genderPakistansexuality, South Asia, religion.

Jordanian parliament repeals rape law

“The Jordanian parliament voted on Tuesday to abolish a provision in the penal code that allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims – a move that is being hailed as ‘historic’ by activists and locals. Article 308 permit[ed] pardoning rape perpetrators if they marry their victims and stay with them for at least three years.  The controversial provision has for decades divided Jordan between those who believe the law is necessary to protect women’s ‘honour’, and others who see it as a violation of basic human rights.”

Source: www.aljazeera.com

Cultural norms and political practices are so often intertwined that understanding local laws means that one has to understand the cultural context within which they were created, and in this case, the cultural processes that led to a political will to change them.  

 

Tagsculture, cultural norms, gender, MiddleEast, Jordan, political.

‘This is death to the family’: Japan’s fertility crisis is creating economic and social woes never seen before

Shrinking GDP and a falling population are poised to turn Japan into what economists call a “demographic time bomb,” and other countries could be next.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

The article headline is quite click-baity, but there is some real substance to this article.  The graphs are especially useful to teach concepts such as population momentum and the age-dependency ratio. These were the key parts of the article that caught my eye:

  • An aging population will mean higher costs for the government, a shortage of pension and social security-type funds, a shortage of people to care for the very aged, slow economic growth, and a shortage of young workers.
  • Following feminism’s slow build in Japan since the 1970s, today’s workers strive for equality between the sexes, something Japan’s pyramid-style corporate structure just isn’t built for. That’s because institutional knowledge is viewed as a big deal in Japan.
  • The elderly now make up 27% of Japan’s population. In the US, the rate is only 15%. Experts predict the ratio in Japan could rise to 40% by 2050. With that comes rising social-security costs, which the shrinking younger generations are expected to bear.
  • To make up for an aging population and aversion toward immigrant work, Japan’s tech sector has stepped up its efforts in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Tags: culture, genderlabor, populationmigration, JapanEast Asia.

Why do women live longer than men?

Despite the social inequality women experience, they live longer than men. This is the case without a single exception, in all countries.

Source: www.weforum.org

The question “why do women live longer than men?” is both biological and cultural.  This means that 1) gender as a cultural construct that influences behavior is a mitigating factor and 2) sex, as a biochemical issue, is a separate set of determining factors.  Estrogen benefits women because it lowers “bad” cholesterol) and “good” cholesterol, but testosterone does the opposite.  Women are more likely to have chronic diseases, but non-fatal chronic disease, but men are more prone to the more fatal chronic illnesses.  For the cultural reasons, men are less likely to seek treatment, adhere to the prescribed treatment, commit suicide, and engage in more risky behavior.  While these may read like a list of gendered stereotypes that don’t apply to all, when looking at the global data sets, these trends hold  and are more likely to be true.  How masculinity and femininity is constructed certainly shapes many of these factors and deserves some discussion. 

 

Tags: culture, population, mortality, development, cultural norms, statisticsgender

Combatting FGM

“The United Nations Development Programme started to advocate against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) back in 2003 when it was taboo even to speak about it. In 2008, the practice was banned. The government of Egypt has institutionalized the adoption of FGM abandonment; while prevalence rates remain high (namely among older women), the response of younger girls and mothers of new generations to FGM abandonment campaigns is much higher.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This is always a difficult topic for me to talk about in my college classes since it is such a sensitive topic.  However, because it touches on so many taboo topics, that is the very reason that that practice of FGM has continued in many African and Middle Eastern countries.  See the map embedded in this article to know which countries have the highest prevalency rates.  Some are concerned that through relocation diffusion, international migrants can bring this practice to areas such as Europe. Western efforts to eradicate FGM are usually ineffective and sometimes backfire (the author in the linked articles feels that the term mutilation, while accurate, is counterproductive).

 

Tags: culture, gender, media

Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman

At first, the trial and convictions in the death of Farkhunda Malikzada seemed a victory in the long struggle to give Afghan women their due in court. But a deeper look suggests otherwise.

Source: www.nytimes.com

DISCLAIMER: I strongly recommend that the video not be shown in class (I wouldn’t show the embedded video in my college classes, but I would discuss the article).  The video is as horrific as anything I’ve ever seen and yet I feel compelled to share the story because it is important to understand the cultural and institutional problems of Afghanistan to get a handle on the deeply entrenched issues. This also shows parts of Afghanistan are seeking to make the transition into a more modern society, but there are other elements that are firmly rooted in the past where mob rule was once more easily justified.  

 

Tags: Afghanistan, culture, developmentgender

‘Leftover Women’ in China

“Chinese women face immense pressure to get married before they turn 27. In many Chinese cities, so called marriage markets are a common sight, where parents go to post and match personal ads. A number of brave Chinese women have finally stood up to speak their mind against society’s labels and their parents’ pressures.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This emotional ad about ‘leftover women‘ in China has received a lot of traffic and is now invigorating a national conversation about marriage customs, gendered norms, and cultural expectations.  What isn’t as explicit in the video is how demographic policies and cultural preferences for boys has created the situation that puts added pressure on single women

 

Questions to Ponder: How is this (at least partially) a lingering impact of the One Child Policy?  What traits of traditional Chinese culture led to this current situation?   

 

Tags: gender, folk culture, China, culture, population.

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