Gender Roles and Agribusiness in the Kenyan Communities: The Case of Likuyani District

Jaluo, Murunga W. ; Alunga, Jane Udali (2013)

A gender role is a theoretical construct in the social sciences and humanities that refers to a set of social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific gender. Proponents of gender role theory assert that observed gender differences in behavior and personality characteristics are, at least in part, socially constructed, and therefore, the product of socialization experiences; this contrasts with other models of gender that assert that gender differences are "essential" to biological sex. Research supports this theory, finding gender differences in almost all societies, but with differences in the norms adopted, suggesting that gender differences are, at least partly, influenced by culture. Gender has several controversial definitions but it here refers to an individual's inner sex or psychological sense of being a male or female irrespective of one's (outer) sex identity as determined by one's sexual organs. There are two main genders: masculine (male) or feminine (female). Gender identity refers to the options available to members of a society to choose from a set of social identities, based on the combination of one's sex identity on the one hand, and one's natural gender, interests and social experiences on the other. Some ancient tribes have more than five human genders. Some non-Western societies have three human genders – man, woman and third gender. Gender roles refer to the set of attitudes and behaviors socially expected from the members of a particular gender identity. Gender roles are socially constructed which are often politicized and manipulated, which then result in the oppression of people. Androgyny, a term denoting the display of both male and female behavior, also exists. Many terms have been developed to portray sets of behaviors arising in this context. The masculine gender role has become common in the world today. One example is the "sensitive new age gay", which could be described as a traditional male gender role with a more typically "female" empathy and associated emotional responses. Another is the metrosexual, a male who adopts or claims to be born with similarly "female" grooming habits. Some have argued that such new roles are merely rebelling against tradition more so than forming a distinct role. However, traditions regarding male and female appearance have never been concrete, and men in other eras have been equally interested with their appearance. The popular conceptualization of homosexual men, which has become more accepted in recent decades, has traditionally been more androgynous or effeminate, though in actuality homosexual men can also be masculine and even exhibit machismo characteristics. One could argue that since many homosexual men and women fall into one gender role or another or are androgynous, that gender roles are not strictly determined by a person's physical sex. Whether or not this phenomenon is due to social or biological reasons is debated. Many homosexual people find the traditional gender roles to be very restrictive, especially during childhood. Also, the phenomenon of intersex people, which has become more publicly accepted, has caused much debate on the subject of gender roles. Many intersexual people identify with the opposite sex, while others are more androgynous. Some see this as a threat to traditional gender roles, while others see it as a sign that these roles are a social construct, and that a change in gender roles will be liberating. The main concern of this paper is the relevance of these gender roles in agribusiness with the view of attaining food security through innovation in line with Vision 2030. __________________________________________________________________________________________

Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies (JETERAPS) 4(5): 733-738


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