Gender Inequality Adversely Impacts Women's Brains, finds New Research
By: WE Staff
God makes us all equal, they say. However, that’s not true in reality. The truth of the matter is that people are treated differently based on various factors. One such discrimination is based on one’s gender, which is often referred to as ‘gender equality’.
Gender Equality is the term used to describe how people in society are treated or perceptions made depending on their gender, mostly preferring men over women. It includes social, economic, cultural, and political sectors, among other facets of life.
Women have been at the receiving end of the plethora of challenges that come in row of gender-based inequality. While economic, social, and professional challenges have widely been spoken about, new research has concluded that gender-based inequality affects women’s brains.
The Study in Details
The research mentioned in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that the cortical thickness in the right hemisphere of women's brains was thinner than men's, where there was more gender imbalance.
According to the Global study findings, including those from India, gender inequality is related to variations in the brain structure of both men and women. The research, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stated that women's brains have less cortical thickness in the right hemisphere of the brain as compared to men in nations which have high gender inequality.
In the nations which has more gender equality, there was no such difference recorded. According to the study, the brain areas are affected by stress-related diseases including depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Lead author, Dr. Nicholas Crossley is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. He stated that the analysis suggests that some gendered differences in brain structure are associated with the chronic effects of the social environment under which many women live.
Dr. Nicholas is also an Associate Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Chile. He further stated that they think what they are watching is the effect of chronic stress in women's brains in gender-biased environments.
MRI scans from 4,078 women and 3,798 men between the ages of 18 and 40 from the UK, the US, China, Latin America, India, and South Africa were examined for the study. Dr. Nicholas claims that stress is the major reason which affects the neurons connections which would cause the cortex greater to thin in the MRI studies. In addition to this, he also mentioned that other factors could also impact such as the effect of lesser opportunities, including education, on women's brains that ultimately results in less development of connections.
These studies have the potential to inform gender equality policies but need more study and research that will help to examine the cause in more detail and how and when this happens.
Other Implications of Gender Inequality on Women
While the findings of the new research are worrisome, women have been faced with varied challenges and setbacks owing to their gender for ages. Let’s examine a few of the most crucial aspects of women’s lives that are affected by gender-based inequality.
Economic Disadvantage: In comparison to men, women frequently have inequalities in their income and fewer work options. They may face discrimination in employment processes, be paid less for the same task, and deny to access promotions and positions of leadership. This financial disadvantage can make women more financially unstable and economically disabled.
Limited Educational Opportunities: Due to cultural norms, financial limitations, or gender biases, women are mostly forced to quit education in various countries. This restricts their potential for empowerment for both personal growth and professional success.
Access to Healthcare: The financially unstable nations in particular have the most number of cases of uneven healthcare services. Women generally face obstacles to access to family planning services, parental care, and maternal facilities.
Gender-Based Violence: Women are often victimized by several types of gender-based violence, such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking. These types of violence restrict women's independence.
It is significant to have a look at the different intersecting factors, such as race, ethnicity, socio-economic position, sexual orientation, and disability, that have considerably impacted women’s life. These impacts of gender inequality are complex and can vary across many circumstances and nations. To address these gender disparities, comprehensive actions must be taken to eradicate this discrimination, and gender biases and enable women to fully participate in all facets of life.