Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, activities and attributes that a particular society considers appropriate for men and women, explains the World Health Organization. The distinct roles, reinforced by legal systems and religion, have historically given rise to gender inequalities not only in health care but with education and employment opportunities. Globalization has challenged the most archaic perceptions of gender roles through books, films and other media; new technologies in satellite television and the internet; policies of multinational corporations and tourism. Human rights groups reach across borders to lend support and inspiration to those in other lands; the United Nations and other international target gender equality as a major goal.

Theologians Battle Female Circumcision

The Koran forbids the mutilation of any creature of God
Amira El Ahl
December 19, 2006

Dueling Images Woo India’s Women

In India, traditional gender roles are coming into conflict with new images of women generated by the entertainment industry.
Ashwini Devare
September 24, 2001

Our Moral Superiority About Sex Is Proving Deadly

Politicians of wealthiest nations preside over sexual playgrounds while preaching abstinence for the world’s poor
Saral Boseley
November 28, 2006

Family Tree of Chinese Sage Branches Out to Include Women

China offers Confucianism as a possible model for global ethics
Jonathan Watts
October 9, 2006

S. Koreans Search Far and Wide for a Wife

With a preference for sons, South Koreans create a shortage of brides
Barbara Demick
September 25, 2006