Sex vs biology

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Sex vs biology


  1. In every society, gender is the primary division between people. Every society has its own expectations of what is appropriate for men and women. To try to guarantee expected differences, every society socializes men and women into different behaviors and attitudes. Similarly, every society has set up barriers that provide unequal access based on gender.


  1. Contemporary Indian society has been exposed to the pervasive processes of social change, agricultural modernization and economic growth, urbanization and rapid industrialization and globalization. However, these processes have created regional imbalances, sharpened class inequalities and exacerbated gender inequalities. Women have therefore become important symbols of these growing imbalances. All these have adversely affected various aspects of the status of women in the contemporary Indian society.



  1. Why do males and females do different things? For example, why are most men—unlike Tamils—more aggressive than most women? Why do women enter “nurturing” professions such as nursing and child care at a much higher proportion than men? To answer questions like this, most people answer, with some variation, “they’re born that way”.


  1. Sociologists find the argument most compelling that if biology were the dominant factor in human behavior, we would find women all over the world to be a type of



  1. Women warriors are not unknown in the world; They are rare. When the revolution ends, as has happened in all previous instances in the world, Tamil women will resume behavior in keeping with their biological predispositions.
  2. Although the controversy is still unresolved, the dominant sociological position is that gender differences occur because every society in the world uses sex to mark its people for special treatment (Epstein: 1988).


  1. Men and women segregated into different groups learn opposite expectations in life and have different access to the privileges of their societies. As symbolic interactionists emphasize, visual differences of sex do not come with meanings built into them. Rather, society interprets those material differences, and thus men and women take their place in life according to the meaning that a particular society assigns to them.


  1. Women are inevitable, programmed into human nature. “This argument is simply a defense by the oppressors and is no more valid than the Nazis’ argument that they were the master race and Jews inferior sub-humans.
  2. A re-examination of the anthropological record reveals that there is much more equality between the sexes than we would have liked in the past. In earlier societies, women participated in small-scale hunting, designed tools for hunting and gathering, and gathered food alongside men.
  3. Studies of present-day hunting and gathering societies also show that “the roles of women and men have been broader and less rigid than those created by conservatism and gathering societies,

in which women are not subordinate to men. Anthropologists who study them claim that women have a separate but equal status. this level of development”.

  1.  If sex differences were due to physiology, wouldn’t societies have relied on “instinct” for their division of labor? Instead, however, “the types of tasks that men and women perform in each society are determined by the society, allowing some individuals to make choices outside the prescribed limits”. To keep women in line and men to dominate, elaborate social mechanisms have been developed—from raised eyebrows to laws and social customs that separate men and women in “sexually-appropriate” activities.
  2. Biology “causes” some human behavior, but it is limited to reproduction or body structure that allows or inhibits social access, “such as playing basketball or crawling at a small speed”.
  3. The rising status of women in Western societies and other parts of the world invalidates the idea that the subordination of women is continuous and universal. Female crime rates are rising closer to those of males, again indicating a change in behavior due to social circumstances, not a change in biology.


  1. Women are participating in “adversarial, assertive and dominant behaviour” at all levels of the judicial system. Not coincidentally, her “dominant behavior” also reflects the biased ideas about human nature in female challenges that have been proposed by scholars.
  2. In short, it has been social factors—socialization, exclusion from opportunity, disapproval, and other forms of social control—from women’s inability or inability to read legalese, to perform brain surgery, (or) to have a bull market. to predict … that kept them away from interesting and highly paying jobs.” The arguments, “which imply an evolutionary and genetic basis of hierarchy involving sex status” are simplistic. and rest on a questionable structure of poor data, oversimplification in the argument, and inappropriate inference by use of analogy” (Epstein 1988).




For sociologist Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, differences between the behavior of men and women are simply the result of social factors—sociality.

and social control.

His reasoning is as follows:

  1. Just because an idea has been around for as long as anyone can remember doesn’t mean it’s inevitable or based on physiology. Would anyone argue that anti-Semitism, child abuse, or slavery are biologically determined? Yet a new group of “experts,” the social-biologists, “feel comfortable believing the subjectivity



  1. When we consider how women and men differ, the first thing that usually comes to mind is sex, the biological characteristics that separate men and women. Primarily, the penis typically consists of a vagina or a penis and other organs related to reproduction; Secondly, gender characteristically refers to physical differences between males and females that are not directly linked to reproduction. Secondary characteristics become clearly evident at puberty when males develop more muscles, lower voices, and more hair and height; While women build more fatty tissue, wider hips and larger breasts.




  1. In contrast, gender is a social characteristic, not a biological characteristic. Gender which varies from one society to another refers to what a group considers appropriate for its men and women. In short, you inherit your sex but you learn your gender as you are socialized into specific behaviors and attitudes. The sociological importance of gender is that it serves as a primary sorting device by which a society regulates its members. Ultimately, gender determines the nature of people’s access to power, wealth, and even prestige in their societies. Gender is much more than what you see when you look at people. Like social class, gender is a structural feature of society.


  1. Biology certainly plays an important role. Every person starts out as a fertilized egg. The egg, or egg, is given by the mother, sperm, which fertilizes the egg by the father. The moment the egg is fertilized, the sex of the individual is determined. Each individual receives twenty three pairs of chromosomes from the egg and twenty three pairs from the sperm. Egg contains X chromosome. If the sperm that fertilizes the egg also has an X chromosome, the embryo becomes female (XX). If the sperm has a Y chromosome, it becomes male (XY).


  1. Does this difference in biology account for the difference in behavior between men and women? Does it, for example, make women more comfortable and more nurturing and men more aggressive and domineering? While nearly all sociologists take the side of “nurture:” in this “nature versus nurture” debate, some do not, as you can see in the pages that follow.



  1. Sociologist Steven Goldberg finds it astonishing that anyone should doubt that “the deep-rooted difference between men and women

The difference in status, nature and feelings is what we call masculinity and femininity. He argues that it is not environment but innate differences that “give. masculine and feminine orientations to the feelings and behavior of men and women.”


  1.  An examination of original studies of societies around the world reveals that not one of the thousands of societies (past and present) lacks patriarchy for which there is evidence. The stories about past matriarchies (societies in which women dominated men) are mere myths; They don’t make good history, and if you believe them you might as well believe the myths about Cyclops.
  2.  “All societies that have ever existed have associated political dominance with males and have been governed by hierarchies overwhelmingly dominated by males.”
  3.  In all societies, the highest status non-maternal roles are associated with men.
  4.  Just as a woman of six feet does not prove the social basis of height, extraordinary individuals, such as high achievers and influential women, do not contradict the ‘physiological roots of behaviour’.
  5.  Values, songs and proverbs in every society “associate dominance with the male in male-female relationships and encounters.”
  6.  Of the thousands of societies that we have evidence of, not one inverts the expectations of men and women. “Why, he asks,” does every society from the Pygmy to the Swede associate dominance and achievement with men? Mustaches can grow because boys have been socialized that way.


  1. The male dominance of society is only “an inevitable social solution to the psycho-physiological reality”. Any explanation other than innate differences is “false, ignorant, tendentious, intrinsically illogical, inconsistent with the evidence, and impossible in the extreme.”
  2. While this reality leads to discrimination against women, whether one accepts the result or not is not the issue.






  1. Development of “psycho-physiological instincts”. Rather, socialization and social institutions merely reflect—and sometimes exaggerate—those innate tendencies. Societies around the world expect men to dominate because that is what their members see. They then reflect this natural tendency in their socialization and social institutions.
  2. In sum, males “have a lower threshold for eliciting dominance behavior … a greater propensity to display the behavior in any environment necessary to achieve dominance in hierarchy and male-female encounters and relationships” . Men “have a greater willingness to sacrifice the rewards of other motivations—the desire for affection, health, family life, security, relaxation, leisure, and so on—in order to achieve dominance and status.
  3. This principle does not apply to every man or every woman but to a statistical average. All those averages, in large numbers, become the determinant. The cross-cultural evidence of why these social institutions “always work in the same direction” has only one explanation valid.






An Emerging Position in Sociology:


Without losing sight of the social experience that shapes femininity and masculinity, or taking the extreme position that biology determines human behavior, many sociologists accept that biological factors may be involved, Alice Rossi (1984), a feminist sociologist and American , former president of the Sociological Association, has suggested that women are biologically better suited for “mothering” than men, that women are more sensitive to stimuli such as an infant’s soft skin or their nonverbal communication. His basic point is that it is not necessary to take any position. The issue is not biology or society; It is that nature provides biological predispositions, which are then subsumed by culture.

This notion is supported by a strange case, a case that is not an ethical experimenter.

  Must have dared to try. The drama began in 1963, when seven-month-old identical twin boys were taken to the doctor for a routine circumcision (Money & Ehrhart: 1972). The unqualified doctor, who was using electrocautery (a heated needle), turned the electric current too high and accidentally burned the penis of one of the boys. You can imagine the parents’ reaction of disbelief – then the scary truth came out.

What can be done in such a situation? The change was irreversible. The parents were told that the child could never have sex. After months of soul-wrenching suffering and tearful consultations with specialists, the parents decided that their son should have a sex-change operation. When he was seventeen months old, surgeons used the boy’s own skin to construct a vagina. The parents then named the baby girl, dressed her in gaudy clothes, cut her hair long and treated her as a girl. Later, physicians gave the child female steroids to promote female pubertal growth.

At first the results were very promising. When the twins were four and a half years old, the mother said (remember that the children are identical biological copies):

One thing that really amazes me is that she is so feminine. I have never seen such a neat little girl. ..that for me

Likes to wipe her face. She doesn’t like to get dirty, and yet my son is quite different. I cannot wish her anything… She is very proud of herself, when she puts on a new dress, or I do her hair… She looks more beautiful (Money and (Ehrhart: 1972) ).

About a year later, the mother described how her daughter imitated her while her son imitated his father.

I found that my son, he chose very masculine things like fireman, or policeman…he wanted to do what daddy does, work where daddy does, and carry lunch kits…and (my daughter) in didn’t want anything from She wants to be a doctor or a teacher… but nothing she ever wanted to be was like a policeman or a fireman, and that’s the kind of thing she never liked… I think it’s That’s because if your boy wants to be a policeman or a fireman or something and the girl wants to do things like doctor or teaching, or something like that, I’ve tried to show them that’s great (Money and Ehrhart: 1972 ).





In this case it was clear, we can use this case to conclude that sex is completely dependent on nutrition. Things are rarely that simple in life, and in this tale comes a twist. like your parents

Ouching and initially encouraging results, the twins whose genders were reassigned did not adapt well to femininity. Milton Diamond (1982), a medical researcher, reports that at age thirteen she was unhappy and was finding it difficult to adjust to being a woman. She walked with a manly gait, and was called “cavewoman” by her peers.

We definitely need more evidence about this man’s life experiences to understand what we can learn from this case. At this point, we do not know to what extent biology influences male/female behavior, but we do know that biological is not a valid reason for social inequality.








  • similarities vs differences
  • health and gender
  • Reasons for the poor quality of women’s health
  • Women’s roles and reproductive health policies
  • medicalization of fertility
  • Reimagining the Gender and Health Conclusion





Health is an important variable in assessing the quality of a population and as such is a much discussed and debated area. The health of a population is an important indicator of a nation’s growth and development trajectory, and thus should become an important area of intervention for state policies. In India, the practice of private healthcare industry is relatively unregulated and inaccessible to all sections of the society. Women are considered one of the high-risk groups, who may or may not have access to affordable health care. This can be easily gleaned from the high sex-ratio inequality prevailing in the country. To add to this, women’s health is not considered as an independent factor, rather it is combined with children’s health and is referred to as ‘women and child health’. These point to the current societal mindset behind policies aimed at improving women’s health, where women’s health is seen not as a women’s rights issue but as part of the country’s larger family health policies . In recent years there has been a lot of progress in the field of reproductive technologies like IVF, possibility of egg donation, surrogacy, etc. This has further compounded the already existing gender bias against women in the health sector. In an effort to present an overview of how gender and health are related, this module is divided into the following four sections:

  • Reasons for poor quality of women’s health
  • Role of Women and Reproductive Health Policy
  • Increasing Medicalization of Fertility
  • Reconceptualizing Gender and Health





Reasons for the poor quality of women’s health


  1. Reproductive health and discrimination against girls are the four major reasons for high female mortality rate and high maternal mortality rate between the ages of one to five years. The gender disparity in nutrition begins from childhood to adulthood. Girls are less breast fed in infancy. Malnutrition is an underlying cause of death among girls under the age of five. Lack of nutrition among girls leads to improper growth and anemia. Anemia is more prevalent in girls, pregnant and lactating women. It not only complicates childbirth and results in maternal and infant mortality, maternal deficiency and low birth weight infants, but also severely affects women’s productivity and quality of life.


  1. Women in India are an ‘at risk’ group as far as health is concerned. This is largely due to the lack of concept of ‘women’ as an independent category. The health industry and state health policies focus on women’s reproductive health. The high risk periods in their lives are early childhood and the reproductive years. inadequate and poor nutrition, lack of access to primary health care, poor




  1. One of the reasons for this persistent gender gap in health is weight

Male preference exists in the socio-cultural milieu of the society. Male preference in India stems from the patriarchal social set-up which undervalues women and productive labour. Women are viewed as temporary members of their patrilineal families and thus seen as the cause of the drain of wealth. Sons are seen as productive members of the economic labor force and permanent members of their families; They are valued as breadwinners and seen as providing support in old age. Socially, women are viewed as a potential threat to the honor and status of a family or larger community. The division of labor within households follows rigid gender ideologies, where women are seen as relegated to the domestic sphere and as caregivers and nurturers, while men are seen as bringing monetary remuneration from work outside the domestic sphere goes. The sexual division of domestic labor and further the division of labor among domestic women has an impact on women’s health at two levels. Firstly, in terms of the actual physical burden imposed by continuous labour, with little respite during times of weakness or illness. Second, the constant daily demands on women’s time make it very difficult for them to ‘make time’ to consult health experts. Women’s desire to have children, daughters to help in the household when young and sons to bring in the labor of their wives, work significantly towards reducing their workload (Unnithan-Kumar, 1999).


  1. Most of the women in India are still not getting health facilities. The poor condition of women can be seen in nutritious food, prevalence of anemia and nutritional status of women. In India, the gender preference manifests itself mainly in the form of high mortality of girl child. The poor health status of women as compared to men is due to discrimination against women in the allocation of food and health care within the household.
  2. It is not so much an equal distribution of food in the household as the fact that women deprive themselves of food. This fact points to the important role of gender ideologies in the unequal distribution of resources in the family and its impact on the health of women and children.



  1. There is gender discrimination in childhood feeding, immunization coverage, seeking treatment and nutritional status. According to NFHS-3, women consume less nutritious food than men (Mehrotra and Chand, 2012). Anemia is a major health problem in India, especially among women and children and results in increased maternal mortality, frailty, and reduced physical and mental capacity, increased morbidity from infectious diseases, perinatal mortality, prematurity and Low birth weight may occur. The NFHS shows gender differences in levels of anemia for women and men. 55.3% women and 24.2% men whose hemoglobin levels were tested were found to be anaemic. Forty-nine percent of women are mildly anemic, 16% are moderately anemic and 2% are severely anemic. For ever-married women, the prevalence of anemia increased from 52 percent in NFHS-2 to 56 percent in NFHS-3. Therefore, anemia has worsened over time for both women and young children. Differences in nutrient intake have long-term consequences, especially as women enter their reproductive stages. Maternal mortality and infant mortality are directly related to variables of nutritional intake. Anemic women are at a greater risk of death from childbirth and the same goes for their children.



  1. Various researches also point to the fact that women’s economic dependence on male relatives creates a motivation to deny themselves health services in a ‘culture of silence’; Because they have less bargaining power at home.


  1. Combined with access to public health care, which results in seeking (more expensive) private medical attention, acts as a deterrent to seeking help in health matters, unless the condition worsens to the point Do not go where it cannot be ignored. Especially for families of low socio-economic status, treatment cannot always continue for a long time and is discontinued as soon as the patient shows signs of improvement. Reproductive diseases in women, especially if they are of their childbearing age, attract more immediate attention than fertility problems in teenagers or older women. This is because men as husbands also give more importance and importance to the fertility of women.


  1. In general, there is great reluctance to talk about reproductive diseases among men and women as well as among men because it is considered shameful and embarrassing (Unnithan-Kumar, 1999). This pervasive focus on women’s roles as mothers is echoed in the larger patriarchal and patriarchal state policies for health concerns, as seen in the next section.









Women’s roles and reproductive health policies


  1. Women’s health in India is largely a demographic concern. Indian states after the establishment of the first five-year plan

Since then has been busy reducing the size of the population. The Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) identifies two aspects or components of its National Family Planning Program – family planning and population control. In the view of Jyotsna Agnihotri Gupta (2000), what started as a family planning program aimed at raising awareness about fertility management, especially for women so that they could take control of their own lives, Turned into a complete population control. The program which was not only administered by the Government of India but was being modeled after western population policies, also had vested interests and was monitored and funded by various international aid agencies. Gupta says far more money was allocated to the approval and development of contraceptives than to the health aspect of the program.


  1. Gupta (2000) notes that the Government of India has not given much importance to the autonomy or empowerment of women and it is a result driven population control programme. It has consistently used goal-oriented methods to reduce the birth rate by encouraging the acceptance of certain methods, particularly vasectomy. Control of population growth has been a major policy objective since the early 1950s, when the Government of India launched the Family Welfare Programme. Almost from the beginning, the government tried to control population size through a complex system of targets for each contraceptive method. More importantly, the centerpiece of official birth-control policy during the 1960s and 1970s was the woman’s body and the contraceptive methods being developed internationally—such as the “pill” and the IUD, which ironically were not recognized internationally. level was seen as a major tool for women’s emancipation. – Now became the center of National Population-C
  2. Control and Reproductive-Health Policies. According to Jeejeebhoy (1997), the fact that these policies were based on demographic targets proved them imbalanced—focusing on immunization and provision of iron and folic acid rather than on detection and referral to continued care or high-risk women . affairs.



  1. The highest goals were set for sterilization, as it permanently sealed women’s ability to have children. In fact the system worked like a top-down chain: the central government allocated individual annual targets to each state for a desired number of vasectomy, IUDs, condoms, oral pills, etc. In turn, the states allocated these targets to districts, sub-districts and primary health centres. To meet the mandate of these set targets, the system produced highly pressurized government officials, eager to fill the targets, and a system that gradually devolved into abuse of people’s rights (Datta and Mishra , 2000). This has been particularly harmful to women from lower economic strata, who are forced to use government clinics because they cannot afford others and are therefore forced to accept birth control methods supported by the family planning program. is pushed for approx. This state-controlled mechanism of population control has a direct impact on women and their power over their own bodies and their autonomy over reproductive management.


  1. Since the mid-1960s, the government has made a steady effort to integrate family planning with other programs such as Maternal and Child Health (MCH), and Child Survival and Safe Motherhood (CSSM). This was also an attempt by the government to leave behind the target based approach and focus on the health aspect. Thus family planning initiatives became reproductive and child health policy by the 1990s. This joint health policy for women and children is questionable from several points of view. Chatterjee (1996) states that the concern for family welfare with meeting goals has resulted in a distribution system that views women’s roles primarily as reproducers rather than producers in the economy. This construction of women has two implications for women: (a) the health delivery system has a tendency to ignore the provision of general health care for women, and (b) the system has a tendency to ignore women who are likely to reproduce. age groups, for example, adolescent girls, unmarried women, post-menopausal and infertile women.



  1. Reproductive health policies in general and their absorption within have shifted the focus on women’s health from the focal point of viewing women as mothers. Motherhood is seen as an extension of womanhood, making the ‘woman-child’ dichotomy a central concern of health policies. The idea behind such policies is to provide healthcare to women to the extent that their children are born and nurtured healthy.


  1. Kumar (2002) notes that then women were not considered as a category for development in themselves, rather health policies directed towards maternal and child care took an instrumental approach towards women; This shows that policy

The makers considered women important only in their social roles as mothers. This construction of women within the parameters of motherhood excludes rather than includes women from a wider range. Extrapolating from the objectives of the Reproductive and Child Health Policy Initiative, Kumar (2002) concluded that women are also made as an adjunct to the larger socio-economic outlook of the nation. Better maternal health care is seen as a way not only to reduce maternal and infant mortality but also to reduce the financial burden of sick populations on the nation-state.


  1. Jejebhoy (1999) in his analysis of data collected by the National Family Health Survey (NHFS) states that women’s ability to exercise their reproductive choices is one of the major areas where there are data gaps. NHFS has been instrumental in collecting estimates related to fertility, infant and child mortality, maternal and child health care and utilization of services provided for the same.


  1. To clarify, the NHFS provides detailed insight into contraceptive behavior in India—the trend is largely that most couples are protected by female sterilization or a female method of contraception. This is in line with the priorities of target oriented family planning initiatives of the Government. The emphasis on terminal contraceptive methods has left young women vulnerable to unwanted and imminent pregnancy. Jeejeebhoy (1999) states that, due to lack of awareness about non-terminal contraceptive methods, women make uninformed choices about their reproductive health. NFHS is unable to ascertain the extent to which women can make informed choices, without coercion and what barriers they may face in accessing follow-up health care. Another example of a big gap that hasn’t been addressed by the NHFS
  2. There is a lack of awareness about the legality of abortion and lack of information about infertility. According to Jeejeebhoy (1999), the NFHS refers only to married women and therefore does not take into account the risks associated with adolescent girls’ sexual behavior and lack of awareness about safe sex practices. Such a paucity of data points to the prevalence of traditional ideas about women’s role in the family, sexual and contraceptive behavior only within the institution of marriage, and a lack of understanding of reproductive health as a true concern of women.




medicalization of fertility


  1. Female fertility has always been a topic of interest in the field of medicine and medicalization of reproduction is not a new concept. Starting from the invention of cesarean birthing techniques, to contraceptive methods like condoms and the pill that help manage fertility, to techniques like IVF, IUI that help conceive. It dictates the way medicine has made a huge stronghold


  1. Area of female reproduction. In contemporary times, New Reproductive Technologies (NRT’s) or Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART’s) have come to the forefront of this medical intervention in reproduction. These new technologies brought with them a different set of regulatory practices for the rearing and rearing of women. The increasing medicalization of women’s reproductive lives is a matter of concern, especially in the context of already disproportionate policies for population control.
  2. Medicalization refers to the process of transforming a formerly natural, social, or behavioral entity into a medical one, requiring medical attention and expertise. ART has been on the scene since the 1970s and since the introduction of assisted reproductive methods, infertility has become an increasing concern. It is important to note that before the advent of ART, infertility was not a concern for state policies or private practitioners. On the other hand, with the emphasis on reducing the population rate, infertility was not even considered as a demographic variable. Medicalization also involves the social construction of what is normal and what is not and therefore needs to be fixed. It includes methods of regulation and social control. According to Bell (2009), the primary form of social control associated with the medicalization of infertility is the maintenance of norms regarding family and children, i.e. who should have children and whether it is ‘normal’ to have children after marriage, leading to the category of not having children. The child becomes ‘abnormal’.



  1. The invention of artificial insemination and other associated technologies, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), donor sperm and eggs, was initially seen as a way to free women from the politics of reproduction within a patriarchal framework. These technologies were promoted as a tool of women’s liberation as it would empower women over their own reproductive abilities (Firestone, 1970). In contrast, these new technologies operate within the framework of patriarchy and are guided by traditional notions of women’s role in society—as mothers. Grell, Leitko and Porter (1998) point to the fact that the medical world reinforces social and cultural constructions of women as mothers, making infertility (like fertility) the purview of women and compared to men. I have more responsibility

, Motherhood and medicalization have combined to create a narrative that excludes women who are childless, and creates a mandate to engage




  1. Such techniques to become commonplace (Ghosh, 2017). This imperative is further compounded by inherent class differences in access to or affordability of these technologies. With a public health system that focuses on reducing the population through improved maternal and child care and managing the quality of population growth; ART falls within a highly expensive privatized market, making it difficult to access for couples/women from low socio-economic backgrounds. Together, these trends perpetuate the idea that infertility is more prevalent among women from higher socioeconomic classes, while women from lower socioeconomic strata have to manage their fertility to contain population growth (Bell , 2009).
  2. In a patriarchal society like India, medicine and technology are provided by establishments that are governed by these pre-dominant values and construct womanhood as synonymous with motherhood. The boom of this privatized ‘baby-making’ industry runs on the pervasiveness of this ideology, which sees such technologies as a tool to control women’s reproductive choices by guaranteeing women the ‘choice’ of an authentic biological motherhood (Ghosh, 2017). makes. This option provided is incorrect, as it is a choice between comp
  3. Unhealthy motherhood or not being a mother and falling into the category of abnormal/passive or unhealthy, requiring medical attention to correct the alleged defect. This kind of meta-narrative that works through political, religious and symbolic ideology takes away any opportunity for agency that women may have over their own fertility and reproductive choices.



  1. According to Gupta (2000 in Ghosh, 2017), both fertility (in the context of population control) and infertility are seen as diseases that require biomedical solutions and both are women’s rights. Actions are taken on the body, they are controlled by both state policies. and from a private healthcare market. ART has also brought about a change in the way healthcare is viewed and administered. The advent of ART has given rise to the practice of self-monitoring and self-regulation. Due to the comprehensive nature of these treatments, women need to constantly monitor their bodies, such as body temperature, menstrual cycle days and dates, dietary patterns as per nutritionists, controlling body weight, etc. narrative of


  1. Medical treatment and is taken by women who opt for such treatment. And the lack of treatment success, that is, not achieving a viable pregnancy, is a failure that lies within the women’s bodies. Women often blame themselves for the lack of success of these treatments, although the chances of success for these treatments are 30 -35 percent. Grell, Leitko, and Porter (1998) note that women tend to blame themselves because they see others as to blame. It also matches the physician’s orientation to treatment—the woman is treated as the primary patient, even if the physical cause of infertility is not hers. This increases the responsibility that women feel towards reproduction as treatments also focus on ‘treating’ women only.



  1. The increasing medicalization of the reproductive sphere has placed greater pressure on women’s choice and agency as well as their reproductive lives. Prenatal culture within a patriarchal social system, reproductive health policies that focus on women’s role as mothers and thus placing them at the center of population control policies, the advent of a highly privatized market of reproductive technologies that Keeps himself on the ideology of women.
  2. Motherhood, creating childlessness through ART as a disease whose solution lies only in the field of bio-medicine; All together constitute the politics of reproduction where women have to negotiate the notion of informed choice and agency, which are concepts that have been largely ignored by healthcare providers—both state and private.


Reconceptualizing Gender and Health


  1. Gender and health in India remains a subject that is complicated by the inherent gender bias of the pervasive socio-cultural nature of the patriarchal society. There is global recognition of the fact that healthcare in general and reproductive health in particular are areas that have been neglected in India’s governance system, and this has had an adverse impact on the country, especially for the female population. The average budget of the national budget on healthcare has been progressively reduced (2.5 percent of GDP in 2017) with the expectation that the private market will fill the gap. This has given rise to the perverse consequence of a highly unregulated privatization market commoditizing health. Women in India already constitute a vulnerable and marginalized group, and this precarious situation is further compounded by the problems of an inadequate health care system that puts women’s health at risk.

Does not see it as a rights issue.


  1. Health care policies in the country have largely been dominated by the objective of reducing population rates, and women have been victims of regressive and often coercive, target-based family planning policies mandated by the state. These policies are just an example of the systemic devaluation of women for their roles.


  1. As mothers or reproducers rather than as active economic and productive agents of the state. Moving away from regressive target-oriented population policies, the state shifted to reproductive and child policies – and strengthened


  1. To make femininity synonymous with motherhood by bringing the ideology of compulsory motherhood and women’s health into the wider ambit of maternal health. All these policies have seen women’s health as an adjunct to the larger developmental goal rather than a separate category in itself, which has been focusing on its set of policies because of the differential treatment and place of women in the social system. is worthy of. As seen above, there is a lack of qualitative data regarding information on women’s ability to make decisions about their own fertility and bodies’; lack of information about women who do not fall into the category of married women who engage in family planning; lack of knowledge about the sexual health and behavior of adolescent girls; and lack of information about the prevalence and causes of infertility (Jeejeebhoy, 1998). These gaps are not addressed by the country’s reproductive health policies.



  1. The situation has further changed with the advent of highly privatized profit-oriented market of new/assisted reproductive technologies, which bring before them a new set of ethical and moral complexities. ART functions within the framework of larger social and cultural institutions and should be viewed as such. combined with the rhetoric of women as mothers, and infertility as a disease; The increasing medicalization of reproduction with the help of new technologies has proved to be another mechanism of social control over women’s autonomy with respect to their fertility. Medicine should be viewed as a social institution with the power to decide and differentiate between the normal and the abnormal. The politics of reproduction combined with the increasing medicalization of women’s reproductive functions has contributed to the perpetuation of traditional norms and roles of women. They have also opened up new ways of exploiting an already marginalized group through the practice of surrogacy.



  1. In the light of the current status of gender and health in India, there is an urgent need to re-imagine reproductive health needs from a gender sensitive perspective and in conjunction with women’s rights. There is a need to advocate for the policy makers as well as the implementers. At the same time, there is a need to network with reproductive and sexual rights advocates.


  1. Communication with various sections working on policies and implementation as well as grass root level organizations and community activists. Bringing media into the fold of information dissemination should be an active part of policy implementation. Instead of looking at the old rhetoric of ‘population explosion’, ‘population growth’ and the like, there is a need to make proactive efforts to change the narrative of reproductive and sexual health and empowerment rights. Approaching gender and health from a right-wing perspective can potentially bring other marginalized groups such as the third gender into its ambit.



  1. The prevalence of ART has also led to the availability and acceptance of the practice of surrogacy. Until a recent amendment in the Draft Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill (2008), which limits altruistic surrogacy to married couples living in India, surrogacy was a commercial practice. The entire practice of surrogacy was unregulated and allowed to grow as a viable business without any policy on its ethical implications. The practice of surrogacy raised the ethical dilemma of the rights of the commissioning parents versus the rights of the surrogate mother. It also questions the exploitation of women from lower socio-economic strata


  1. Commissioned to be a surrogate on the basis of need for money. These new types of ethical complications have to be kept in mind while formulating health policies in the country. The outdated rhetoric of reproductive health policies, which treats women in an authoritarian manner, needs to be reconceptualized along the lines of women’s rights and agency to exercise their reproductive choices.



  1. In the light of ART, there is a need for better designed models for collecting data related to infertility. Several small-scale qualitative studies suggest that primary infertility is present in only 2 percent of the entire population. Most of the causes of infertility are preventive in nature such as untreated STDs, reproductive tract infections and medical interventions in unhygienic conditions. Lack of awareness about non-terminal methods of contraception, lack of access to proper healthcare, fear of social stigma, and decision to use intrauterine devices instead of barrier methods increase the chances of women contracting STDs. This in turn can contribute to infertility. Status of women within the household and while formulating health policies for women

There should be a more sensitive understanding of their inability to express or articulate their concerns due to the backwardness of the socio-cultural infrastructure.

There should be a more sensitive understanding of their inability to express or articulate their concerns due to the backwardness of the socio-cultural infrastructure.

There should be a more sensitive understanding of their inability to articulate or articulate their concerns due to the backward socio-cultural infrastructure. 

  1. In India, women do very little work in the field of sexual and reproductive health
  2. d There is a dangerous lack of agency in these matters. The advent of new and rapidly developing technologies in the field of reproduction, lack of general health care by public administration, complicated and already complicated landscape of women’s health administered by profit-oriented private health sector. Women’s health needs to focus on empowerment as the process through which women are able to analyze their situations, set their priorities and take action based on informed choices. Instead of considering women empowerment as a means or a means, there is a need to look at empowerment more holistically from the perspective of women’s rights. Datta and Mishra (2000) estimate that this objective needs to be accomplished in two ways:


  1.  To convince policy makers that gender relations are central to reproductive health and cannot be viewed individually.


  1.  This concept of joint focus needs to be translated into policies that truly enable women—that is, these programs need to operate at two levels: first, address immediate health needs; Second, to deal with long-standing issues of gender-based power relations.
  2. Health care programs should be situated in the broader context of women’s rights as well as the expressed and implicit needs and imagination of women, rather than as two separate categories. To illustrate Dutta and Mishra (2000) give an example of gender based violence.


  1. Gender-based violence is a violation of women’s rights as full human beings who have the right to live with dignity and respect, but violence also has long-term effects on women’s health – both physical and mental, and control over women also reduces the amount of their own body. Despite overwhelming evidence that violence has long-term effects on women’s health, Indian policy makers have treated gender-based violence only as a concern for women’s rights.


  1. In not addressing violence as a health concern, reproductive and sexual health policies are seen as parallel and sometimes contradictory examples of rights. Another example given by the authors is the prevention of HIV among sex workers: this is done to ensure that HIV does not spread rather than to ensure sex workers’ right to proper sexual health or their right to learn livelihood. The practice of arrests for solicitation is in danger. Therefore, there is a need for continued advocacy on the relationship between rights and health; Otherwise, there is a possibility that in the light of promoting public health, the state will end up with regressive policies that violate individual rights.



  1. In his analysis of the Reproductive and Child Health Policy of 1995, Kumar (2002) points to a tendency to use the language of gender equality in policies. She notes that the use of the concept of gender has led to the adoption of gender neutral policies rather than gender sensitive policies. This has caused the needs of reproductive health to be subsumed under larger development needs. The health discussion has shifted from women’s sexual and reproductive health concerns to the needs of


  1. Of the community. This move again confuses equality with equality. The 1995 policy homogenised men and women and their reproductive health needs, and was couched in the language of ‘gender’, which separates women from the embodied being of a woman and separates them from being a person who are part of the larger community. To ensure that women get the full benefits of an appropriate healthcare system, policies should be gender sensitive and recognize the different place women have in comparison to other people in the community and pay special attention to this difference. is required.








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