The myth of single gender identity interactions Essay

The myth of single gender identity interactions

            Gender identity is the manner in which gender, masculine or feminine is visualized in a society - The myth of single gender identity interactions Essay introduction. It provides different roles for genders and dictates the manner in which these are to be performed. Gender identity also has a powerful influence on the manner in which people dress, act, think and even relate to each other. Gender identity has historically been a critical issue. It has assumed significant dimensions in the modern communications rich world where transfer of information in a group, society, state or the World at large is happening at a rapid pace. There is resistance in societies against adoption of roles which are not atypical to gender identity and it has frequently resulted in ostracizing leaders adopting such roles.

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The level of resistance could be restricted to individuals violating the rules of society or could be widespread and virulent such as oppression of women in traditional societies. It could also be mild such as verbal abuse or be severe in the form of rape and torture. Greater interaction between genders is considered ideal for creating better gender equality. This conventional wisdom however is not borne by experience. Single gender interactions in the modern organizational perspective have a better scope for developing gender equality as it allows respective genders to make and sustain their own rules, provides greater acuity in defining gender identity and its veracity has been proved by empirical evidence drawn from leadership training programs.

            Gender identity is frequently regarded as arbitrarily defined rules established by society to govern the manner in which men or women are required to dress, behave, maintain a relationship and even think. In a multi gender environment, it is likely that views of the dominating gender which in most societies is the male would prevail. However through greater single gender activity, opportunities are provided to the male or the female community to evolve norms through mutual discussion and agreement. Given the support of their primary reference groups, measures can then be taken to sustain them. Thus single gender activity will create better gender equality by evolution of appropriate responses to transformations in larger society.

            The attitudes and thinking on gender identity provide meaning for defining it. As positions change so does our understanding. Thus a standard agreement which is universally applicable for long periods does not exist. This also increases the degree of difficulty in resolving conflict that arises from viewing gender through different perspectives of time, social, political and cultural frame works. Single gender interaction provides the necessary awareness of gender differential under these varied circumstances by summarizing different experiences. This in turn assists in coagulating responses to gender identity. This greater acuity in gender perception develops confidence and enables overcoming fears and apprehensions.

             Empirical evidence for the benefits of single gender interaction has been provided by examining facts of benefits obtained through single gender training programs for leaders. (Ohlott, 2002). This is contrary to the popular notion that since most settings in practical life are hetero gender, building gender identity of minorities is better achieved through mainstream training.  The context of this program specifically targeted at leaders is considered significant as women in leadership positions are relatively fewer.

The attitudes and thinking on gender identity provide meaning for defining it. As positions change so does our understanding. Thus a standard agreement which is universally applicable for long periods does not exist. This also increases the degree of difficulty in resolving conflict that arises from viewing gender through different perspectives of time, social, political and cultural frame works. Single gender interaction provides the necessary awareness of gender differential under these varied circumstances by summarizing different experiences. This in turn assists in coagulating responses to gender identity. This greater acuity in gender perception develops confidence and enables overcoming fears and apprehensions.

             Empirical evidence for the benefits of single gender interaction has been provided by examining facts of benefits obtained through single gender training programs for leaders. (Ohlott, 2002). This is contrary to the popular notion that since most settings in practical life are hetero gender, building gender identity of minorities is better achieved through mainstream training.  The context of this program specifically targeted at leaders is considered significant as women in leadership positions are relatively fewer.

            It is frequently argued that programs which are focused on single identity training are not realistic as these do not reflect the heterogeneous working environment. However it is seen by Ohlott (2002) that such programs provide women opportunity to review challenges faced in a multi gender environment, discuss these with their colleagues freely and frankly and even experiment with newer responses to gain substantially from this mono gender interaction. In a multi gender environment their thoughts and actions would have been considerably restrained and focus would be less than evident. This is particularly so in the case of women who through their traditional perception of minority and numerically lower status in such interactions tend to be inhibited in the process of unlearning and unlearning. As also when interacting in monotheist groups, they may represent a biased view, apparently finding themselves to be representatives of their own gender rather than providing an objective perception. Such an environment is also seen to be conducive for greater transparency in interaction, particularly in expressing ones weaknesses which in a multi gender interaction can be a restraining factor to avoid being stereotyped with your gender. (Ohlott, 2002).

            Single identity training by many is considered to be an isolating feature which secludes people within their organizations. (Ohlott, 2002). On the other hand it is seen that single identity programs are invaluable in building support groups and also contribute to networks. This enables people to share their experiences, benefit from each others advice and evolve joint strategies to tackle common problems. By sharing each others trials, they also gain confidence that they are not alone in facing issues which are generalized in nature.

            Single identity training does not emphasize differences as is popularly seen but deemphasizes their negativity and provide options to exploit these. This is also an impact of sharing perceptions by members of the gender community freely and frankly than would have been feasible other wise. This enables them to see diversity as a strength rather than a liability and provides a better perception of how they are being seen by their contemporaries in their own organizations thereby gaining from this exposure. As these interactions are an occasion for an open feed back session, their impact is better, for it is easier to accept negative feedback from a person of your own ilk rather than strangers or more significantly opponents. (Ohlott, 2002). Such opportunities also facilitate management of programs by trainers to leverage strengths of the gender thereby adding to the overall benefit of the process.

            Single gender interactions have a better scope for developing gender equality as it allows respective genders to make and sustain their own rules, provides greater acuity in defining gender identity and its veracity has been proved by empirical evidence drawn from leadership training programs. Leadership training programs derived specifically for women could be considered as an oddity, but their benefits have been proved due to the focus they provide to the specific needs of women. They also provide greater focus to participants in defining their own roles and making rules in their organizations.

Reference:

1.      Ohlott, Patricia J. (2002). Myths versus realities of single-identity development: it turns out that women and minorities do need leadership development specific to their context. T & D. 01-NOV-02. FindArticles.com. 10 Dec. 2006. http://www.findarticles.

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