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6 pages/≈1650 words
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Social Sciences
English (U.S.)
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Gender Disparity In Family Planning Initiatives (Essay Sample)


The Handmaid's Tale portrays a society in which all technologies, including reproductive technologies, are entirely controlled by men and applied and withheld in the interest of men, with dire consequences for women. What are some of these consequences? Do you think that the unequal and unjust application and withholding of available or potentially available reproductive technologies according to male interests depicted in the movie are entirely fictional or does it have a basis in social and cultural reality?
One possible approach to this topic would be to research to what extent financial, scientific, and intellectual investments are made into reproductive technologies such as contraceptives and sexual performance enhancing drugs, and to what extent such investments may favor the interests of one gender over the other.

Your essay should provide an introduction to your topic, including a brief summary of what you will say about it, and a conclusion.
• Your essay should be divided into paragraphs and display a clear organizational structure.
• Use technical terms whenever appropriate, explain them, and illustrate them with examples from the texts (movies, TV episodes, articles, etc.).
• It is important that you explain and discuss the issues you are writing about in your own words.
• Keep a critical stance. Explain and critically evaluate the reasons authors give in support of their views and the reasons that lead you to your own position.
• Make sure to support your claims by textual and/or audio-visual evidence.
• Consider whether there is any counter-evidence in the texts (films, TV-episodes, articles, etc.) that you are discussing that may contradict the claims that you are making. If there is such counter-evidence, either show why it ultimately does not contradict your analysis and evaluation or make sure to rephrase your analysis and evaluation so that it accommodates all the evidence.
• In your essay, you must make use of least two of the scholarly texts on the syllabus or the additional recommended additional reading indicated below some topics for this assignment.
You must show within your essay how these texts relate to your topic. It is not enough to merely list two sources from the syllabus as references. Movies or television episodes do not qualify as scholarly texts.


Gender in Science
The female gender is significantly victimized and segregated compared to the men on quite a number of aspects. Society often portrays women as inferior beings that have to rely on the support of men and cannot work or survive independently. The same case applies when it comes to technological developments and more specifically reproductive technologies that are mostly developed for the benefit of men and with little consideration for the welfare and well-being of the women. These reproductive technologies help to treat the inability to reproduce using technological procedures and also in family planning through contraceptives. The society has left most efforts to attend to infertility issues and to persons of the female and therefore most fertility drugs and contraceptives revolve around them disregarding the fact that men too are plagued by infertility and that their efforts are also required in family planning. The essay intends to examine various materials and articles that showcase the gender disparity in family planning initiatives and contraceptive usage and highlight how the technologies involved are almost entirely controlled by men, applied and withheld in the interest of men, with dire consequences for women.
The use of handmaids in The Handmaid's Tale for reproductive purposes is the earliest form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). The forced surgeon in the book is a practice imposed on the handmaids by the Gilead society in their efforts to reproduce. The Handmaid's Tale centers on the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian state and one where increased pollution and chemical spillage resulted in declining fertility rates. Hence, and in efforts to counter that fact, the government in the Republic prohibited women from working or holding any property so that they focus solely on reproduction. It branded the fertile women as “handmaids” whose purpose was to assist the elite couples where the wives were experiencing problems conceiving to bear children. These handmaids became primary assistants to the couples they were assigned to and their duties extended from the normal house chores to occasionally “lying” with the husbands, so as to produce children for the infertile couples. This is defined as traditional surrogacy and involves the fertile woman offering her egg and uterus for potential pregnancy to the infertile couple.
The law enforcers in the Republic of Gilead have used the technological methods to curb infertility in their societies selectively and all in the interest of powerful men. The handmaids are taken through what can be seen as fertility training then attached to houses of powerful men in the Republic of Gilead. The protagonist, for example, was attached to the house of the powerful commander and his wife. The women in Gilead are obligated to have monthly checks done on them by specialists. The author notes “I am taken to the doctor's once a month, for tests: urine, hormones, cancer smear and blood tests”. These tests are aimed to enhance their capabilities for conception. There is however no mention of any such procedures being done on those from the male gender. The tests were also done to check on infertility whereby those found to be barren would be outcaste and branded “Unwomen”.
Despite the ecological disasters that affected both genders, the issue of infertility that plagued the Republic of Gilead was solely blamed on the women. The first consequence of the imposed reproduction measure on the women is their loss of jobs and their rights to hold property as was the case before the revolution. It's noted that these women before the revolution had jobs and some were very successful, but their rights were taken away and were then expected to clean, shop, cook and bear children. Immedia...

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