Cultural traditions and customs influence many aspects of society, including gender norms and roles. In many cultures, men and women are perceived as equal due to the influence of feminism. However, in some cultures, patriarchy is still prevalent, and both men and women are expected to conform to certain gender roles. Knowledge of cultural norms and relations concerning gender can help to ensure safety and promote successful integration.
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For example, when traveling to countries famous for their strict Muslim traditions, it is recommended that women avoid wearing revealing clothes. Being aware of and respecting local traditions with regards to gender can also help visitors to be more confident because they will be able to take part in more activities and discussions without feeling excluded. In order to understand gender norms and relations that may affect the success of my work, I intend to rely on three strategies.
First of all, reading about gender in Islamic culture would help me to avoid saying or doing things that upset other people. For example, readings can highlight behaviors that are perceived to be inappropriate for both men and women and refrain from them. Secondly, I will also try and connect with local residents, including my counterparts. People from the local culture can be a valuable source of knowledge about gender norms and traditions that affect their society.
Thus, I could ask them for advice when faced with a challenging situation or ask them general questions about gender roles. Thirdly, I could also discuss gender norms with other Peace Corps Volunteers and share knowledge. This would be useful, as they might have different background knowledge and experience. Sharing information would help to create a solid knowledge base that would be beneficial to all partaking volunteers.