Differentiate between gender studies and women’s studies. Discuss in detail the multidisciplinary nature of gender studies.

Differentiate-between-gender-studies-and-womens-studies.-Discuss-in-detail-the-multidisciplinary-nature-of-gender-studies

CSS Solved Gender Studies Past Paper 2023 | Differentiate between gender studies and women’s studies. Discuss in detail the multidisciplinary nature of gender studies.

The following question of Gender Studies is solved by Ismat Younus, the highest scorer in CSS Gender Studies. Moreover, the question is attempted on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown

This question comprises two parts. In the first part, the examiner demands to explain the differences between women’s studies and gender studies holistically. In the second part, the students should explain the multidisciplinary nature of gender studies. While answering this question a student must know the difference between the term “multidisciplinary” and “interdisciplinary “.Hereafter, the student must conclude the answer comprehensively.

Outline

1- Introduction

Gender studies is a field that focuses on gender identity, gender roles, and intersectionality while women’s studies is a field that focuses on the roles, experiences, and achievements of women in society. Therefore, this is the key difference between gender and women’s studies.  Gender studies consisted of courses in psychology, philosophy, sociology, biology, and many other disciplines.

2- Difference between women’s studies and gender studies

  • ✔Definitions
  • ✔History/Origin
  • ✔Focus of Research
  • ✔Nature of subject
  • ✔Goal of studies
  • ✔Theoretical differences
  • ✔Concept of homogeneity

3- What is a multidisciplinary approach?

4- Gender studies: a multidisciplinary subject.

  • ✔Sociology in the social construction of gender
  • ✔Gender Psychology (Psychology of identity)
  • ✔Gender and Economics (Economics in dealing with the division of labor)
  • ✔Political science in understanding the gender politics
  • ✔Biology to find out the anatomical differences between different sexes
  • ✔Gender history

5- Conclusion

Answer to the question

Introduction

Often gender studies are mixed with women’s studies; however, there are some striking differences between these two disciplines. Women’s studies, since its inception in around the mid-20th century, was the study of particular issues about women. It concerned itself with the problems and struggles women used to face. Such studies led to development programs like Women in Development (WID) in the 70s. Gender studies on the other hand studies the relationship between both men and women, and also their relationships with their societies as a whole. How they are conceived and shaped, how they presume their identity, and their roles within those identities. it is a much more diverse type of study than women’s studies. Moreover, gender study is a multidisciplinary subject and has its strands extended into Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Gender History, Politics, and Biology. People read the world through gendered glasses, and media, institutions, families, social networks, and many other arenas construct gendered distinctions and norms for “proper” gendered behaviors and appearances.

Difference between women’s studies and gender studies

CharacteristicsWomen’s studiesGender studies
DefinitionWomen’s studies is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the role, experiences, and achievements of women in society.  Gender studies are the social, political, and economic roles, rights, and responsibilities of male, female, and LGBT
      History/Origin  Women’s studies I an offshoot of 2nd wave of feminism. It is older than gender studies and known as its predecessorGender studies are the offshoot of 3rd wave of feminism. It is the successor of women’s studies  
Focus of Research  Women’s studies merely focus on the problems of women particularly, patriarchy. It demands rights for women only.  Gender studies are more inclusive. It focuses on all the genders constructed by society. Its primary focus is on gender identity.
Nature of subject  It is an interdisciplinary field and merely focuses on women.It is a multidisciplinary as well as interdisciplinary subject and extended its strands to other disciplines of social and biological sciences
Goal of studies   It demands equality for women. Its proponents want to end patriarchy. According to Klein, its main focus is to make the lives of women better.   Gender studies demand equity. It explains the position of all genders based on class, caste religion ethnicity, and sexual identity.
Theoretical differences  It involves the theoretical perspective of feminism. Moreover, it involves WID and WAD approachesGender studies involve Postmodern theory, Queer theory and encompass the GAD approach.
Concept of homogeneity  It does not involve the concept of homogeneity in its studies  It does  involve the concept of homogeneity in its studies and focuses on the differences between heterogeneous and homogenous individuals
Table by Ismat Younus

What is a multidisciplinary approach?

A multidisciplinary approach involves multiple disciplines to redefine problems outside of normal boundaries and reach solutions based on a new understanding of complex situations.

Gender studies: a multidisciplinary subject

It examines all scopes of life including family, media, culture, education, personal rights, behaviors, non-state actors, and government. Gender studies offer to learn about various contemporary issues of society:

1. Sexual orientation
2. Gender roles in the society
3. The psychology of identity
4. Representation of gender in literature, pop culture, art, and music
5. Human reproduction and social constraints

Image by Ismat Younus
  • Sociology in the social construction of gender

“One is not born but rather becomes a woman.” 

Simone de Beauvoir

Sociology refers to the interaction of people in a society. It imparts a major role in the construction of gender. The term ‘gender role’ was coined byJohn Money in a 1955 paper where he defined it as, “all those things that a person says or does(socially) to disclose himself or herself as having the status of a boy or man, girl or woman”. Feminists within this subfield study a wide range of topics with a variety of research methods, including things like identity, social interaction, power and oppression, and the interaction of gender with other things like race, class, culture, religion, and sexuality, among others. It is society that makes women emotional and men rational. This binary division of language is socially constructed and is studied in the social field of gender studies.

  • Psychology of identity (Gender psychology)

The field of psychology deals with the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting their behavior in a given context. One school of thought commonly known as psychoanalyst feminism focuses on how Gender identity describes the individual’s psychological perception of being male, female, neither, both, or somewhere in between. This school of thought has its roots in Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and Nancy Chodorow propends this theory by arguing that gender identity is the result of a complex development that is related to the mental development process. She believed that mothering promotes gender stereotype behavior.

“The mother is the early caregiver and primary source of identification for all children… A daughter continues to identify with the mother.”

Nancy Chodorow
  • Gender and Economics (Economics in dealing with the division of labor)

“When women do better, economies do better.”

Christine Lagarde

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Unfortunately, the gender problem in economics has meant that the connection between women’s empowerment and current-day economic problems has remained unexplored. In the process of gender equality, economists need to admit that their discipline has a serious sex problem. Today’s capitalism is exploiting women of all colors and races which needs a serious transformation of the ender-inclusive economic structure.

  • Political science in understanding the gender politics

“When women participate in politics, it ripples out to the entire society.”

Hillary Clinton

Political science is the scientific study of politics and systems of governance. In 1976, Peter Merkl observed that the field of comparative politics had been woefully deficient concerning the study of women. More than 40 years later, the study of women, and more broadly gender, in comparative politics has flourished, becoming an important area of research. Contemporary statistics from ILO show that only 26 women are working as heads of the state. This field of study has focused on gender regimes and the welfare state, state feminism, the formation and implementation of women-friendly policies, and the influence of women’s movements on policy debates.

  • Biology to find out the anatomical differences between different sexes

The study of living organisms is based on their anatomy, physiology, behavior, origin, and distribution. Gender identity is a multifactorial complex trait with a heritable polygenic component. This field of study determines what biological differences exist between males and females. The biological diversity underlying gender identity development is relevant to all domains of social, medical, and neuroscience research and foundational for reducing health disparities and promoting human-rights protections for gender minorities.

  • Gender history

Gender history is a sub-field of history and gender studies, which looks at the past from the perspective of gender. Initially, History was seen as “HIS STORY” and women were absent from social life. They were either considered in child-rearing or were absent from the literature. This discipline considers in what ways historical events and periodization impact women differently from men.

Conclusion

Gender studies and women studies are two different disciplines dealing with various subjects and areas of concern. Women’s studies is a narrow approach and merely deals with the issues of women while gender studies are more inclusive and encompass all genders. Additionally, gender study is a multidisciplinary subject that has its own identity while dealing with various other disciplines. The disciplines of sociology, psychology, economics biology, and history have their roots in gender studies. It is impossible to deal with these subjects comprehensively while ignoring the perspective of gender. Hence gender studies is a multidisciplinary approach with deals with other subjects while maintaining its own identity.

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