Our gender is part of who we are. Being male or female-or how male or female a person acts-should not make life more dangerous. And yet it does. Traditionally, women have been known as the weaker sex, and while this is not literally true, women often face dangers men do not. In some parts of the world, such as the Congo, rape is used as a weapon, an intimidation tactic to control the population. In some areas, a woman can be killed for bringing shame on her family, for crimes as minor as removing a veil or talking to a man. In the name of tradition-or of beauty-women's bodies have been bound or altered, with corsets, foot bindings, female genital mutilation, or high-heeled shoes. Women have also generally held lower paying jobs-and are paid less for the same jobs-and they have done the majority of housework and child raising, whether or not they work outside the home as well. Gender crimes do not stop at women. Sexual orientation can also put people at risk for discrimination and attacks. Transgender people are especially at risk, as some people feel threatened by those they cannot fit into a neat gender category. From those who have struggled with gender prejudices, discrimination, and outright attacks, we can become aware of the kinds of things people all around us deal with. Perhaps you are dealing with some of these things yourself, but even if you are not, those who have overcome gender dangers have much to teach us.
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