Class 10 Exam  >  Class 10 Notes  >  Social Studies (SST) Class 10  >  Chapter Notes: Gender, Religion & Caste

Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste

Gender, Caste, and Religion are important aspects of identity that influence the way individuals are perceived and treated in society.
In India, the caste system has been a dominant feature of society for centuries, and it continues to influence the lives of people today.
In India, gender inequality is a pervasive problem that affects women in various aspects of their lives, such as education, employment, and health.

  • Gender refers to the social and cultural roles, behaviours, and expectations associated with being male or female. Gender roles and expectations vary across cultures and may change over time.
  • Caste is a social hierarchy that is based on occupation and birth, with individuals being born into a particular caste and being expected to follow the traditions and customs associated with that caste.  Caste systems are found primarily in India, but similar systems exist in other parts of the world.
  • Religion refers to a set of beliefs and practices related to the worship of a higher power or powers.
    Religion can influence an individual's identity, values, and behaviours, as well as their interactions with others who share or do not share their religious beliefs.

Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste

Gender and Politics

Gender and politics are closely intertwined as gender shapes political power, participation, and decision-making.

  • Gender influences political power in many ways.
    For example,  Women have historically been underrepresented in positions of political power, and even when they do hold positions of power, they often face barriers and discrimination that limit their effectiveness. This is known as the gender gap in political representation. 
  • Gender also shapes political decision-making. 
    For example, policies related to healthcare, education, and employment can have different impacts on men and women due to their different social and economic roles.

Sexual Division of Labour

(i) The sexual division of labour is a system where men and women have different roles and responsibilities in the home based on their gender.

(ii) The sexual division of labour refers to a system in which certain types of work, such as housework and childcare, are predominantly done by women, while other types of work, such as paid employment outside the home, are predominantly done by men. 

(iii) This system is often based on traditional gender roles and expectations, with women being seen as responsible for the home and family, and men being seen as responsible for earning money and providing for the family.

(iv) In this system, all the work that needs to be done inside the home, such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children, is either done by the women of the family or organized by them with the help of domestic helpers.

 (v) This means that women are responsible for the majority of domestic work, even if they also work outside the home. If a family has domestic helpers, women are the ones who usually organize and supervise their work.

(vi) The sexual division of labour can have significant implications for women's lives, as it can limit their opportunities for education, paid employment, and other activities outside the home.

Question for Chapter Notes: Gender, Religion & Caste
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It can also contribute to gender inequality, as women are often undervalued and underpaid for the work they do inside the home. However, there are efforts to challenge and change this system, including through promoting gender equality and shared responsibility for domestic work.

  • A system in which all work inside the home is either done by the women of the family or organised by them through the domestic helpers.
  • The result of this division of labour is that although women constitute half of humanity, their role in public life, especially politics, is minimal in most societies. 
  • Earlier, only men were allowed to participate in public affairs, vote and contest for public offices. 

Sexual division of labourSexual division of labour

  • Gradually the gender issue was raised in politics. Women in different parts of the world organised and agitated for equal rights.
  • There were agitations in different countries for the extension of voting rights to women. 
  • These agitations demanded enhancing the political and legal status of women and improving their educational and career opportunities. 
  • More radical women’s movements aimed at equality in personal and family life as well. 
  • These movements are called FEMINIST movements.
  • Political expression of gender questions helped to improve women’s role in public life. 
  • We now find women working as scientists, doctors, engineers, lawyers, managers, and college and university teachers which were earlier not considered suitable for women. 

Ours is still a male dominated, PATRIARCHAL society

Women face disadvantage, discrimination and oppression in various ways:

(i) A patriarchal society is a social system where men hold more power and authority than women.

(ii) In a patriarchal society, men are often seen as the leaders, decision-makers, and providers, while women are expected to be submissive, obedient, and take care of the household and children.
(iii) This system can also involve the oppression and discrimination of women and other marginalized groups based on their gender or social status.

Equal Wages Act

  • The literacy rate among women is only 54 per cent compared with 76 per cent among men.
  • The proportion of women in the highly paid and valued jobs is still very small. On average an Indian woman works one hour more than an average man every day. 

Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste

  • Yet much of her work is not paid and therefore often not valued.
  • The Equal Wages Act provides that equal wages should be paid to equal work
  • However, in almost all areas of work, from sports and cinema to factories and fields, women are paid less than men, even when both do the same work.
  • In many parts of India, parents prefer to have sons and find ways to have the girl child aborted before she is born. Such sex-selective abortion led to a decline in the child sex ratio (number of girl children per thousand boys) in the country to merely 927.
  • There are reports of various kinds of harassment, exploitation and violence against women
  • Urban areas have become particularly unsafe for women. They are not safe even within their own home from beating, harassment and other forms of domestic violence.

Women’s Political Representation

(i) Women's political representation refers to the number and proportion of women who hold positions of power and decision-making in government and politics.
(ii) It involves women's participation and influence in the political process and the extent to which women's voices are heard and their interests are represented.

(iii) Women's political representation is = because it ensures that women's perspectives and needs are taken into account when making policies and decisions that affect them and society as a whole.
(iv) It also promotes gender equality and encourages the development of a more inclusive and diverse society.

Question for Chapter Notes: Gender, Religion & Caste
Try yourself:Which of the following is a reason why women's political representation is important?
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Women Percentage in Parliament 

  • Issues related to women’s well-being or otherwise are not given adequate attention. One way to ensure this is to have more women as elected representatives. 
  • In India, the proportion of women in the legislature has been very low
  • For example, the percentage of elected women members in Lok Sabha has never reached even 10 per cent of its total strength. 
  • Their share in the state assemblies is less than 5 per cent.
  • One way to solve this problem is to make it legally binding to have a fair proportion of women in the elected bodies. This is what the Panchayati Raj has done in India. 
  • One-third of seats in local government bodies – in panchayats and municipalities – are now reserved for women.
  • Now there are more than 10 lakh elected women representatives in rural and urban local bodies.
  • Women’s organisations and activists have been demanding a similar reservation of at least one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for women.
  •  A bill with this proposal has been pending before the Parliament for more than a decade. 
  • But there is no consensus over this among all the political parties. The bill has not been passed.
    Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste

Religion & Politics


 Religion and politics should never be mixed Religion and politics should never be mixed

  • Ideas, ideals and values drawn from different religions can and perhaps should play a role in politics. 
  • People should be able to express in politics their needs, interests and demands as a member of a religious community. 
  • Those who hold political power should sometimes be able to regulate the practice of religion to prevent discrimination and oppression. 
  • These political acts are not wrong as long as they treat every religion equally.

Question for Chapter Notes: Gender, Religion & Caste
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Communalism

  • The problem begins when religion is seen as the basis of the nation. 
  • The problem becomes more acute when religion is expressed in politics in exclusive and partisan terms when one religion and its followers are pitted against another. 
  • This happens when the beliefs of one religion are presented as superior to those of other religions, when the demands of one religious group are formed in opposition to another and when state power is used to establish the domination of one religious group over the rest. 
  • This manner of using religion in politics is communal politics.

Communalism can take various forms in Politics

  • The most common expression of communalism is in everyday beliefs. 
  • These routinely involve religious prejudices, stereotypes of religious communities and belief in the superiority of one’s religion over other religions. This is so common that we often fail to notice it, even when we believe in it.
  • Political mobilisation on religious lines is another frequent form of communalism. This involves the use of sacred symbols, religious leaders, emotional appeal and plain fear to bring the followers of one religion together in the political arena. 
  • In electoral politics, this often involves a special appeal to the interests or emotions of voters of one religion in preference to others.
  • Sometimes communalism takes its most ugly form of communal violence, riots and massacre. India and Pakistan suffered some of the worst communal riots at the time of the partition. The post-Independence period has also seen large-scale communal violence.

 Division of population based on religionDivision of population based on religion

Secular State

A secular state is a government or country that does not support or promote any particular religion or belief system. In a secular state, individuals are free to practice any religion or belief system of their choice, or to practice no religion at all, without fear of discrimination or persecution.

(i) The Indian Constitution gives every individual and community the freedom to follow any religion they choose or to not follow any religion at all. No one can be discriminated against based on their religion.

(ii) However, the government can intervene in religious matters to ensure equality within religious communities. For example, the Constitution bans the practice of untouchability, which is based on caste discrimination within Hinduism. This means that the government can take steps to ensure that all members of a religious community are treated equally, regardless of their social or caste status.

(iii) In contrast to some other countries, such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and England, India does not give special status to any particular religion. Instead, the government treats all religions equally and ensures that everyone has the freedom to practice their religion without interference or discrimination.

Question for Chapter Notes: Gender, Religion & Caste
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Caste and Politics

The caste system is a social hierarchy that has historically divided Indian society into different castes or social groups, with each caste being assigned a specific occupation and social status.

Caste Inequalities

  • Caste inequalities refer to the unfair treatment and discrimination faced by people belonging to lower castes in Indian society.
  • People belonging to lower castes, known as Dalits or the "untouchables," face social, economic, and political discrimination and are often denied basic human rights and opportunities.
  • Caste inequalities exist in various forms such as unequal access to education, employment, and healthcare.  For example, people from lower castes are often denied admission to schools or are given lower-quality education compared to those from higher castes.
  • Caste inequalities also manifest in the form of social discrimination and violence against Dalits. They are subjected to various forms of violence such as physical assault, sexual violence, and forced labor.  

Note: Efforts have been made to address caste inequalities through affirmative action policies such as reservations in education and employment for Dalits and other marginalized communities. However, there is still a long way to go to eradicate these inequalities completely and create a society that is truly egalitarian and inclusive. 

Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste

Current Status of Caste-Related Prejudice

(i) Caste-related prejudice is still prevalent in India despite efforts to eradicate it.
The Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights and opportunities to all citizens, regardless of their caste, but in practice, discrimination based on caste is still widespread.
(ii) People from lower castes, particularly Dalits or the "untouchables," continue to face social, economic, and political discrimination.
(iii) In recent years, there have been several incidents of violence against Dalits, including lynchings, sexual assault, and forced labour. The caste system also plays a significant role in the economic and social marginalization of Dalits. They often work in low-paying jobs and are denied access to education and other basic services.
(iii)The Indian government has implemented various policies and programs to address caste-based discrimination and promote social equality. These include affirmative action policies such as reservation in education and employment, and the establishment of special courts to try cases of caste-based violence.

Note: However, the effectiveness of these measures has been limited, and caste-related prejudice remains a significant challenge in India. It is important to continue efforts to raise awareness about the issue and to promote greater understanding and tolerance across all sections of society. Only then can we hope to build a truly inclusive and egalitarian society.

Caste in Politics

(i) In Indian politics, caste has played a significant role in shaping political parties, voting patterns, and political representation.
(ii) Political parties have often used caste as a basis for forming alliances and securing votes from specific caste groups.
(iii) Caste-based voting has also been a common practice in Indian elections, where people vote for candidates based on their caste identity rather than their political ideology or performance.

(iv)The impact of caste on politics has both positive and negative aspects:

  • On the positive side, caste-based politics has helped to give voice to historically marginalized and oppressed communities and has brought issues of social justice to the forefront.
  • On the negative side, it has also perpetuated the caste system and hindered the development of a more inclusive and egalitarian political system.

Note: Overall, the relationship between caste and politics in India is complex and continues to evolve, with ongoing efforts to promote social justice and equality for all citizens, regardless of their caste or social background.

Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste

Politics in Caste

  • Politics in caste refers to the influence of caste-based considerations in the electoral and political processes in India. In India, caste is a significant social factor that has a profound impact on the country's Politics. 
  • Many political parties in India have been formed on the basis of caste or have significant support from particular caste groups. 

  • The political parties often promise to promote the interests of a particular caste or community in exchange for their votes.

The statement means that caste is not inherent in politics, but it is brought into the political process by various caste groups in India. This can happen in several ways:

(i) Caste groups try to gain more power by incorporating neighbouring castes or sub-castes that were previously excluded from their group.
(ii) Caste groups have to form alliances with other castes or communities, which leads to dialogue and negotiation between them.
(iii) New types of caste groups have emerged in politics such as 'backward' and 'forward' caste groups, based on economic and social status rather than traditional caste hierarchies.

Note: While the politicisation of caste can draw attention to the issues faced by marginalized communities, it can also lead to divisive politics and reinforce caste-based prejudices and discrimination. It is essential to address these issues in a balanced and inclusive manner to promote greater representation and equality in the political system.

Percentage of Population Living Below Poverty Line

  • The percentage of the population living below the poverty line is a measure of the number of people in a country who do not have enough income to meet their basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.
  • The poverty line is a threshold that is set by the government or other organizations to determine the minimum amount of income required to meet these basic needs.
  • The percentage of the population living below the poverty line varies widely across countries and regions. In some countries, such as India and sub-Saharan Africa, a significant proportion of the population lives below the poverty line.
  • In contrast, in developed countries such as the United States and Western Europe, the percentage of the population living below the poverty line is relatively low.

Note:

  • The percentage of the population living below the poverty line is an important indicator of a country's level of economic development and the effectiveness of its social welfare policies.
  •  Governments and international organizations often use this measure to assess the extent of poverty in a country and to design policies and programs aimed at reducing poverty and improving the standard of living of its citizens.

Question for Chapter Notes: Gender, Religion & Caste
Try yourself:Which of the following best describes the percentage of the population living below the poverty line?
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The document Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste is a part of the Class 10 Course Social Studies (SST) Class 10.
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FAQs on Class 10 Civics Chapter 3 Notes - Gender, Religion and Caste

1. What is women’s political representation?
Ans. Women’s political representation refers to the number of women who hold political positions in government, such as elected officials, cabinet members, and heads of state. It also refers to the level of influence and decision-making power that women have in political processes.
2. How does religion impact politics?
Ans. Religion can impact politics in several ways, including shaping political beliefs and values, influencing political decisions and policies, and mobilizing voters. Religious groups may also advocate for specific policies or run for political office themselves.
3. What is the relationship between caste and politics in India?
Ans. In India, caste has historically played a significant role in politics. Many political parties are based on caste identities, and caste-based mobilization has been used to gain political power. However, recent years have seen a push for more inclusive politics and a move away from caste-based politics.
4. What percentage of the Indian population lives below the poverty line?
Ans. According to the latest estimates, around 22% of the Indian population lives below the poverty line. This means that they have difficulty meeting basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare.
5. Why is gender important in politics?
Ans. Gender is important in politics because it affects the representation and participation of women in decision-making processes. Women’s perspectives and experiences are often different from men’s, and it is important to have gender diversity in political leadership to ensure that these perspectives are taken into account. Additionally, gender-based discrimination and inequalities can be addressed through policy and legislative changes.
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