Glossary of Terms:
Empowerment: Refers to the process of "conscientisation" which builds critical analytical skills for an individual to gain self-confidence in order to take control of her or his life. Empowerment of women is an essential process in the transformation of gender relations because it addresses the structural and underlying causes of subordination and discrimination.
Equality of opportunity: Refers to a fundamental human right embedded in the Constitution of South Africa. This Gender Policy Framework aims towards the achievement of equality of opportunity, in access to and share of employment opportunities, services and resources as well as in equality of treatment by employers and service providers.
Equality of treatment: Refers to meeting the specific and distinct needs of different social categories of women and men. This can often involve special programmes and the commitment of additional resources, for example in the case of women and men with disabilities. Equality of treatment does not mean treating all men and all women in exactly the same way (i.e. in a gender blind fashion) as this would only serve to perpetuate existing disparities.
Gender: In this policy framework document, refers to the social roles allocated respectively to women and to men in particular societies and at particular times. Such roles, and the differences between them, are conditioned by a variety of political, economic, ideological and cultural factors and are characterised in most societies by unequal power relations. Gender is distinguished from sex which is biologically determined.
Gender awareness: Refers to a state of knowledge of the differences in roles and relations of women and men and how this results in differences in power relations, status, privileges and needs.
Gender discrimination: The treatment of members of a targeted group less favourably than those of the dominant group; where the targeted group are mainly women and the dominant group are mainly men. Discrimination often occurs when the dominant group determines the access to resources for the targeted group and/or their rights and privileges. Gender discrimination in the public sphere often results in lower wages and fewer job opportunities for women.
Gender equality: Refers to a situation where women and men have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights and potential; are able to contribute equally to national political, economic, social and cultural development; and benefit equally from the results. Gender Equality entails that the underlying causes of discrimination are systematically identified and removed in order to give women and men equal opportunities. The concept of Gender Equality, as used in this policy framework, takes into account women's existing subordinate positions within social relations and aims at the restructuring of society so as to eradicate male domination. Therefore, equality is understood to include both formal equality and substantive equality; not merely simple equality to men.
Gender equity: Refers to the fair and just distribution of all means of opportunities and resources between women and men.
Gender issues: Arise when the relationships between women and men, their roles, privileges, status and positions are identified and analysed. Gender issues arise where inequalities and inequities are shown to exist between people purely on the basis of their being female or male. The fact that gender and gender differences are socially constructed is itself a primary issue to deal with.
Gender oppression: The experience of undervaluing of what is seen as femininity and masculinity leading to powerless of the targeted group. Because societies support patriarchal norms and male domination, all women experience gender oppression to a greater or lesser degree.
Gender perspective: Refers to an approach in which the ultimate goal is to create equity and equality between women and men. Such an approach has a set of tools for and guidelines on how to identify the impact on development of the relations and roles of women and men.
Gender sensitive: Refers to the state of knowledge of the socially constructed differences between women and men, including differences in their needs, as well as to the use of such knowledge to identify and understand the problems arising from such differences and to act purposefully to address them.
Gender stereotyping: Making generalisations or incorrect assumptions about women and men, girls and boys, based on prejudices and fears; individuals are then judged according to their group identity. This results in privilege and access to resources and rights of a particular group of people based on their belonging to that group and not on their individual or personal characteristics, attitudes and skills.
Male domination: Privilege and access to resources and rights experienced by men based on their belonging to the dominant group and not on their individual or personal characteristics, attitudes and skills. This results in limited or no access to resources and rights for women who become the targeted group. This unequal access gives men more power than women in a society.
Socially constructed roles: Learned behaviour in a society and/or community that conditions group members to understand activities, tasks, roles and responsibilities as female and male. Gender roles are learned and change over time and vary according to culture, class, ethnicity, and race.