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Social inequality and Gender

Because of the obvious biological and physical differences between men and women, gender inequality is often treated as natural. However despite appearances, scholars have shown that the inequalities between men and women are social rather than natural. There are no biological reasons that can explain why so few women are found in position of public power. Nor can nature explain why women generally receive a smaller or no share in family property in most societies.

But the strongest argument comes from the societies that were different from the normal or common pattern. If women were biologically unfit to be inheritors and head of families how did matrilineal societies work for centuries? How have women managed to be successful farmers and traders in so many African societies? There is nothing biological about the inequalities that mark the relations between men and women. Gender is thus also form of social inequality and exclusion like caste and class but with its own specific features.