Why is being born a male and being masculine seen as a privilege?
Gender is a social identity that is attributed according to a child’s sex at birth. Our patriarchal society promotes the belief that being a man, and being masculine, is more suitable to positions of power. The assumption is that there are natural differences that make men better adapted to the public sphere, and women to the private sphere of family and home. These notions have developed into distinct gender roles that people of both sexes are pressured to conform to.

Why is being male seen as a privilege?

Due to the patriarchal society we live in, cisgender men are awarded benefits and rights solely on the basis of their gender. With men dominating positions of power, women have often been overlooked and oppressed by society. As a result, women have been perceived consciously, and subconsciously, as the inferior gender and less competent than their male counterparts.

This stems from the assumption that being a man, and masculine, is more valuable in society particularly in positions of power and control. Whereas, women and more feminine traits are seen as the opposite, more suited to the private sphere of the home. However, these traits are reinforced through public opinion, mass-media institutions, which are shaped by our patriarchal social systems. Often people will argue there these are distinct differences in identity are based on biology, when in fact, both women and men face pressure to confirm to behaviours associated with the binary gender roles assigned to their sex.

What is your privilege

  • Most positions of power, such as business leaders and politicians, are well represented by people of my gender
  • When I speak up in a meeting and share a criticism, I am labelled ‘assertive’ and ‘driven’ and not ‘difficult’ and ‘bossy
  • If I am in a heterosexual relationship, I do not think about how the tasks at home are divided
  • When I go out in the evenings I do not generally worry or have fear about walking alone at night

The stats don’t lie

  • Gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years. Education, health and survival rates improve, but economic participation and opportunity regress.
  • It will take 95 years to close the gender gap in political representation with women in 2019 holding 25.2% of parliamentary seats and 21.2% of ministerial positions
  • There are 72 countries where women are barred from opening bank accounts or obtaining credit
  • There is no country where men spend the same amount of time on unpaid work as women

What to do next?

Working towards creating a more equal society and workplace starts with recognising the ways we are privileged. If you’re interested in starting a journey to overhaul this imbalance then join the Privilege Project today.

Watch the recorded session on Gender privilege from our launch event.