Psychological and health implications of gender inequality


Odili Linus Chukwunweike.



The term psychology is the study of behavior, the study includes both Animal and human behavior as well as overt (external and observable) and covert (internal and non-observable) behaviors. The interest here is on the aspect of human behavior. Psychology try to explain, describe and predict human behavior, it tells why people act the way they do in particular situation.


Gender on the other hand is the fact of being male or female, especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences, not difference in biology.

Inequality is also seen as the unfair difference between groups of people in the society when some have more wealth, status, or opportunity than others.

There is several aspect of inequality, which includes;

* Educational inequality: the unequal distribution of academic resources to socially excluded communities.

* Economic inequality: the difference in economic well-being between population groups.

* Participation inequality: the phenomenon in which small percentage of people contributes the majority of information to the total outcome.

*Racial inequality: hierarchical social distinction between racial and ethnic categories within a society.

* Gender inequality: unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals due to their gender among other ones.


Without any disregard to other aspect of inequality above, emphasis is placed on gender inequality, as it is the focal point of this study.

Gender inequality is the idea and perceptions that men and women are not equal in several areas.

This ideas and perceptions results mostly from cultural and religious beliefs. Gender inequality stems from distinctions, whether empirically grounded or socially constructed.

World over, women lag behind men in many domains including education, politics, labor market, opportunities and work pay.

Women have always been relegated to the back seat. Always at the receiving end of gender related issues.

This to a very extent has led to situations where once you mention gender inequality, the first thing that comes to mind is women. Because of this state of mind –and being the fact that people have been stereotyped to believing that women are the lesser being, a religious concept and a social construct– in the educational, economic, social, religious, and political arenas, gender inequality has persisted to exist and women are always at the receiving end.

Opportunities to attain social status equally had also been denied overtime.

That is why before 1960s women were barely seen in the work places, thereby giving more opportunities for male dominance and exercise of hegemonic character over women in the society.

Since the participation of women in workplace in 1960s, occupation has become segregated based on the amount feminine  or masculinity Presupposed to be associated with each occupation.

To this, women were excluded from certain jobs, the ones allowed mostly for them were service jobs with lesser pay, and such job includes, teachers, nurses, secretaries and librarians.


In cultural aspect, the idea that inequality exist depends on what a society practicing such culture calls their equality.

This is also base on values attached to equality or inequality in society that attached no value on equality they tend to perceive gender inequality as normal, but in society like USA which attached values to equality, the sense of inequality is seen to be a threat to fundamental human right.

Americans adhere to a cultural worldview in which social regards and status are assumed to reflect individuals merit and hard work. It was for this that john F Kennedy made the following speech…..”” The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nation and free men””.


In the political aspect of gender inequality, women are often seen bless in the political position of higher rank.

This is closely associated to their low level of educational attainment, lower economic status and societal or cultural believes that women should not engage in politics but to be at home, saddled with domestic chores.

The perceptions have been that women have less leadership capabilities. To such group of people leadership is based on gender, an ascribed function of the men.



Psychological implications of gender inequality

As gender inequality exists in all aspects of human endeavor, there are levels of psychological effects that are associated with it.

It affects how people especially women respond and behave sometimes. Among many of this psychological effect includes the following.


And although they are relative, the study tends to explain it one after the other.


* Anger

 Gender inequality causes anger, a state of mental reaction and strong feeling that you have when something has happened that you think is bad and unfair. Such feelings often lead to violence.

In work place women who suffer gender inequality always have this feeling which sometimes leads to lower efforts place on attainment of job objectives. This also takes place even in the academic circle.

This will affect the behavior of such a woman in such a workplace.


* Trauma

     This is not much different from anger. The awful experiences received by women on gender inequality causes psychological trauma.

To a large extent this trauma shapes the way they react sometimes, it makes many upset especially those whose cultural believes has been civilized enough to perceive gender inequality as unfair and unjust. USA is good enough to be an example.


* Inferiority complex

     Any society where gender inequality is at higher rate, women who are always in the receiving end always have that feeling that they are not as good, as important or as intelligent as their male counterpart.

This highly affect the way they participate in societal affairs, it will reduce their urge to participate because they will always feel not recognized. Such is prevalent in Africa and Asian society where women participation in societal affairs which may lead to wider development is at minimal.


* Fear

Fear is one thing one cannot forget when discussing gender inequality and its psychological effects. When one is treated continuously and also threatened in a way that show it’s because they belong to a particular gender , there is this behavior that always follow it and the fear of what is the next to happen will always follow.


* Hatred:

Hatred is associated to one mental interpretation of things around them. Women tend to hate those who deprived them of their share whatever be it the thing because they belong to a female gender. Such hatred causes more than what one can imagine, and it is a psychological reaction.

There still many psychological implications of gender inequality still; Lack of self trust, Lack of productivity, unexpected illness, mental disorder and lot more.


Conclusively this study has breakdown psychological implications of gender inequality, explaining psychology, gender inequality and how gender inequality affects behavior. For even development to take place in a particular society, there is need for equality especially gender equality in all of human endeavors, this is to prevent these psychological effects of gender inequality as have been listed above.


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