Social norms – Kenaf Society Thu, 22 Sep 2022 00:16:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Social norms – Kenaf Society 32 32 Strong women shouldn’t have to apologize for defying social norms Wed, 21 Sep 2022 04:22:39 +0000
Strong women are often criticized by society for defying patriarchal norms and refusing to limit their existence to stereotypes. They are fearless, opinionated and know their rights well. Obviously, our patriarchal society feels intimidated by these strong women and wastes no time labeling them as rude, haughty and selfish. They are expected to apologize for their behavior when all they do is refuse to settle for anything less than their rights.

A strong woman can be any woman who puts herself above everything else. But the problem is that when women become aware of their needs and desires, they are labeled as selfish. In our society, it is not common for women to be outspoken and determined. They are expected to be submissive and servile. But when women break the norm and are different, or let me rephrase, choose to live as humans and not as servants, they are considered unsanskari for their defiance. They are ashamed of not being like other women.

Men, on the other hand, are never criticized for putting themselves first. They never feel guilty for not thinking about others or society. Moreover, when men stand up for their rights, it is seen as their duty. It is considered natural for men to react when something bad happens to them. But women are expected to be silent and bear all the injustice to preserve their izzat and that of their family. The very fact that society expects strong women to apologize indicates that society has different rules for men and women. And now that women can see through this hypocrisy, pretending we’re meant to live the way society wants us to is not an option.

Why is being submissive considered a woman’s duty? Shouldn’t women ever fight for their rights? Should women sacrifice their well-being to maintain the status quo of society?

Suggested Reading: Why Women Are Supposed to Be Mature Partners in a Relationship

Strength is never a defect, it is a character trait that is found in both men and women. A strong woman does not shame society, indeed her courage is a matter of pride and her determination often goes unnoticed. A strong woman helps build the framework of a resilient country by contributing economically and socially. She won’t hesitate to scream harassment, discrimination and oppression. It will go further and require changes in the infrastructure – both in our families and in society, and in the workplace, to pave the way for more women to pursue their dreams. She has within her the ability to dream big and work hard to achieve her goals and in doing so, she becomes a role model for other women.

Beyond that, a strong woman is empathetic to others and ensures that equality and empowerment don’t stop at her doorstep. After all, it takes a different kind of strength to stand up for others and cheer when they succeed.

So before you ask strong women to apologize, remember what you are putting on the line. Rethink whether it is women who should apologize for their strength and power or society for being an obstacle to success. empowerment of women and the country.

The opinions expressed are those of the author.

New England leader looks to a workforce free from adverse social norms that affect women and girls Mon, 12 Sep 2022 06:00:00 +0000

Throughout her successes, her mother, whom she did not see again until 2005, always asked her: “What are you giving back? »

Today, Ajakaiye is the founder and executive director of RISE Women’s Leadership Conference (Realizing Inspiration and Sustaining Excellence), a nonpartisan educational nonprofit in Providence that connects women from all industries in New England on issues related to gender parity, socio-economic topics and the equality at work. The women on the board come from a variety of backgrounds, but are an all-volunteer advisory board.

They host a conference every year, which was held September 8 at the Rhode Island Convention Center with over 55 local stakeholders.

Q: What inspired you to launch RISE?

Ajakaiye: I constantly look back and think I was the key kid, but there are a lot of young girls out there who need to hear positive messages. And by the time they might be thinking about college or just making good decisions about high school, it might be too late. I want to be able to message these girls early and make change happen sooner.

What do you do the rest of the year?

We started developing opportunities for anyone on the advisory board talk in schools. We do online webinars, which have become a source of dialogue throughout the year. And we have a scholarship event every year – five girls win prizes every year. We will have a physical office from next year.

This year, we have also collaborated with Accreditation Aid, where we distributed sanitary napkins during the conference. I have an idea—which is in its infancy—to put lockers around town for teenage girls in Providence to pick up free sanitary pads with a code, no questions asked.

Do you incorporate men into the workshops or the conference?

I’m a mom of two teenagers, have an amazing husband and a phenomenal dad who sacrificed everything to make me the woman I am today. So this year, we incorporated a whole panel of men and called “the men who get it”. In order to evoke change, you need to bring all the stakeholders around the table. And we talked about the critical need for men to support the progress of women.

You’re also executive vice president of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, a position a woman probably wouldn’t have held 50 years ago. For those who say we’ve come a long way, how much do we have to do to make the workplace a truly fair place for women?

There is certainly progress. I am an immigrant from Ethiopia, who had the opportunities I had, and now I am in my role as Executive Vice President of the GBCVB – which is a 45 year old legacy organization. I was the first black female leader the organization ever hired. We need to celebrate these things. You might say I’m breaking glass ceilings for other like-minded people in my organization, but there are plenty more to break.

What do you think are the main issues women will face in the workplace in 2022?

Pay equity is an easy catch. We know the problems that come with that. But I recently saw one stat where men had recovered from job loss due to the pandemic, but another [1.1 million] women had not returned to the labor market [from February 2020 to January 2022]. Why is that? I think there is still a serious gap in allowing women to be truly present and at the forefront of high performance jobs, while still being able to be recognized and rewarded for being an effective mother.

Additionally, there are serious shortcomings when it comes to women in the boardroom – leading and not being questioned. She shouldn’t have impostor syndrome or thank someone for having them there. There are qualified women everywhere and there are enough seats for them.

What do you see as positive in the workplace?

There is a certain momentum that I still see among organizations that want to make sure they are like the communities they serve. After the [murder] of George Floyd, there has been work around equity, diversity and inclusion, especially among those at the highest levels of leadership. We have to stick to it.

You work for the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Yet the conference has always been held in Providence since 2018. Why is that?

I live in Rhode Island, and we have women on the advisory board who are in Maryland, Connecticut, Boston, and Florida. The question is always asked: Why not Boston? But we are an entirely voluntary operation. We all have full-time jobs and careers that we love and we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew. But we were asked to duplicate this event in other cities as far as Canada. And we know there’s room for a conference like this in other cities — but maybe when we increase our budget.

The Boston Globe’s weekly Ocean State Innovators column features a Q&A with Rhode Island innovators who are building new businesses and nonprofits, conducting groundbreaking research and reshaping the state’s economy. Send tips and suggestions to journalist Alexa Gagosz at

Alexa Gagosz can be contacted at Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.

How Social Norms Affect Heat Risk in Japan Fri, 02 Sep 2022 10:11:34 +0000

While eating unagi (eel) is a traditionally Japanese response to uncomfortable heat. Another is to install light, tinkling wind chimes, as some places did during Japan’s unprecedented 2022 summer heat waves.

As with the eel, wind chimes have no obvious connection to cooling. The mechanism is thought to be more psychological.

“Certain senses impact the ability to judge their own feelings. For example, when Japanese people hear wind chimes, they feel calm and cool,” according to Shigenori Asai, deputy director of the Japan Water Forum (JWF).

2022 marks the 20th year that the JWF has organized its uchimizu countryanother culturally specific practice that some people see as a heat relief measure. Uchimizu is simply to sprinkle water on the outside. The JWF encourages people and organizations across the country to engage in uchimizu to cool small areas for short periods.

Uchimizu is an old custom in Japan, says Asai, who has seen a resurgence since the Covid-19 pandemic and increased time spent at home. A notoriously hot Kumagaya group even produced a memorable song and dance number about uchimizu. According to Asai, this is most commonly practiced around the house, although a number of stores also pour water onto sidewalks for cleaning and cooling purposes.

To save water, “We made a rule not to use tap water, but to use waste water and collected rainwater,” says Asai. However, “rainwater storage and rainwater reuse are less common than before.”

Asai acknowledges that the effect may only last for 10 minutes and may not be helpful in high humidity. But he believes there is a wider benefit, if the uchimizu draws more attention to both water conservation and the need for heat protection.

Kazutaka Oka, who studies climate adaptation at Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies, is diplomatic about the practice, which can in some cases make the humidity worse.

“Scientifically, it doesn’t have a big impact. But it has other meanings,” says Oka, such as educational and cultural associations. “I’m a scientist, but I also think culture is very important.”

Culture can sit uncomfortably alongside science in discussions of climate adaptation. But it is useful to understand how the two are related.

For example, physical strength is assessed in different ways depending on gender and social roles. One example is the Sanitation Worker Teams. This is a trade prone to heatstroke, according to the Tokyo Sanitation Workers Uniongiven the very physical nature of the work.

Takayuki Sakabe, the union’s vice-president, says: “Summer is probably the most difficult season of the whole year. It is more painful than the rainy season, the cold or even the typhoons, he believes. “Even seasoned workers can still get it…they can never get used to the heat.”

Shuichiro Tada, general secretary of the union, points out that this is a growing risk. “In recent years, the temperature has not risen gradually. It’s a sudden increase. This makes it more difficult for the bodies to acclimatize.

The social aspects of work can be both helpful and harmful. For one thing, a team member of three or four can call the office and request a pick-up if a co-worker has symptoms of heatstroke.

On the other hand, says Tada, in a relationship between a sempai and one kōhai (a senior and a junior), the older person may be too proud to show weakness. They might try to hide how sick they are from the heat until it’s too late.

Another way social expectations affect sanitation workers in the heat is that residents sometimes complain when they see sanitation workers taking breaks. There have been cases of people publicly shaming sanitation workers, or even filing complaints, about sanitation workers not wearing face masks or resting with drinks. The concern is that this leads to these workers failing to protect themselves from high heat – rest and hydration being essential forms of protection.

Osamu Tadachi, the general secretary of the National Council of Japanese Fire and Paramedics, reports the same phenomenon for paramedics, who also perform physically demanding jobs. According to Tadachi, “In the UK and the US, firefighters and paramedics are treated like heroes. But in Japan, you have to be perfect. He says there is a perception that civil servants should be role models for the rest of society – even if that means not resting in public.

Tadachi describes Koshigaya, where he works, as an exposed plain. Much of the city is either industrial or purely residential, so for people on the outside, “you have nowhere to escape to”.

On the day I spend in Koshigaya, it has the highest wet globe temperature in Japan (WBGT, which measures heat stress in direct sunlight), at 35. That’s well past 33 years, the threshold at which the Japan Meteorological Agency begins to issue heat stroke alerts. . It’s so hot and there are so few shaded areas that I can feel the metal edges of my sunglasses heat up on my face.

The high heat in this situation is due to a combination of climate change, geography and heat-trapping urban design. This shows that it is dangerous to attribute too much heat vulnerability to cultural aspects. After all, the physiology of heat vulnerability, unequal public health risks, and ever-increasing temperatures exist around the world. And the focus on culture risks undermining governmental and institutional responses to climate change, which will ultimately have a greater impact than individual measures.

On the other hand, it may be instructive to see how certain social norms might inhibit or contribute to heat protection. from Japan public health mascot culture inevitably includes cute mascots specially for heat prevention (even if they are little used). It’s the kind of messaging tactic that could help raise awareness of heat-related health risks, perhaps without diverting people’s attention.

Then there are all the common practices that contribute to heat resistance. A very visible example is parasols, which are widely worn by Japanese women during the summer. The umbrellas are simple but effective to protect against solar radiation, yet extremely underused in many other countries. Next week Kumagaya will start distribution of fiberglass umbrellas to children for this reason, although the measure comes months after the record-breaking heat wave of early summer.

A dizzying array of personal cooling products are also available in Japan, although these have varying degrees of effectiveness and marketing gimmicks.

Technology is advancing all the time, but there are still some limits to what cooling devices can do and who can afford them. For example, the Tokyo Sanitation Workers Union, some of whose members have been testing cooling jackets, reports that many of them remain too difficult to move into and keep charged.

Instead, the union is asking for lighter loads for its members in the summer, reduced from five garbage collection trips a day to four. Under this proposal, local governments would hire other workers to make up the shortfall.

The construction and sanitation industries are aging, as the average age of workers increases and fewer young workers enter the field. Workers also come up against entrenched ideas about when and how work should be done.

Ultimately, as the country with the oldest population, with a strong heritage in disaster risk management, Japan will be an important touchstone for the rest of the world when it comes to managing health effects of extreme heat.

The government has set itself the goal of zero deaths from heat stroke, without establishing a specific year to achieve this objective. Hopefully this step will be taken as soon as possible. Thousands of lives are at stake every year.

The other article in this series discusses social isolation and oppressive heat.

Reporting for this article was supported by the Social Science Research Council and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, through the Abe Fellowship for Journalists. This story was reported with Chie Matsumoto.

Pellerin: The real threat of the “freedom convoy” concerns social norms Fri, 24 Jun 2022 13:03:49 +0000

Everyone has the right to demonstrate, but we must not tolerate threatening democratic institutions and the rule of law

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The problem with the early return of the so-called Freedom Convoy isn’t just the obnoxiousness, noise or violence inherent in your average seat. It is the damage caused to the institutions that keep our society together, starting with the rule of law and the integrity of our parliamentary system.

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The rule of law means that the law applies to everyone equally. So if, to take a random example, it is against the law to sit half-naked in a hot tub on Wellington outside Parliament, then anyone caught doing this, especially if they are also disturbing drunk peace, would be thrown into the jingle.

Not, as we saw a few months ago, left to macerate in peace. Now they feel entitled to break the law, which erodes our common understanding of what the ground rules of living together should be.

Our system of self-government is far from perfect. But if we all agree to live by the same ground rules, we’ll be fine. That’s why most of us take turns speaking, voting, and accepting the results, even the ones we don’t like. When a small group decides they can cancel the election and throw decency and fair play under the truck, we no longer have self-government. We are ruled by the most odious.

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Demonstration is one of the most precious privileges of democratic societies. But occupying, intimidating and treating passers-by with violence in addition to deafening them and poisoning their air is not protest.

Apparently the plan is to stay in Ottawa long enough for the Prime Minister to resign. Why? It’s not clear. I mean, they obviously don’t like Justin Trudeau and as far as I can tell the feeling is mutual. Engaging in an illegal occupation to overthrow a politician you don’t like is not the way we do it in countries that aren’t banana republics.

Alas, it seems some politicians are actually embracing this institutional vandalism. Pierre Poilievre, a local MP who thinks he can change our system of government by repeating 10 million times that he’s running for prime minister when that job isn’t on the ballots anywhere, presses with enthuses the convoys. Nor is he the only Conservative MP to do so.

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poilievre says No one from his campaign has spoken to organizers who plan to be on Parliament Hill on Canada Day, but he fully supports and encourages protests against the government’s attacks on our freedom.

It could be funny if indeed the conveyors respected the law, decency, the rights of others and also logic. I guess it’s a relief that most of them are here for the hot tub and not the constitutional confusion that sees vocal idiots claiming they have a right to have their Miranda rights read to them and that their First Amendment rights are protected. Maybe try reading the Canadian Constitution?

I could sit here all week and laugh at gross ignorance. But I’m too worried about the damage to our institutions, let alone the violence, to think of laughing.

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Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, recently published an article in Political review commenting on the safety of politicians and the widespread belief in wacky conspiracies among the Canadian public.

He cites an Abacus Data poll which shows that 44% of Canadians believe that “a secret group of elites control elections, recessions and wars”. Nearly 40% believe in the “racist white replacement theory” that there is a conspiracy to replace “ethnic Canadians” (ugh) with immigrants.

It is horrifying and distressing, as is the display of Nazi images and flags near these convoys. Anti-Semitism lives on the corner of evil and stupid, and if you allow its symbols into your neighborhood, we’ll draw the appropriate conclusion.

Everyone has the right to protest mask mandates even after they are lifted. Go ahead and fill your boots. But threatening the foundations and institutions that keep us free, prosperous and democratic is vandalism and cannot be tolerated.

Brigitte Pellerin is a writer from Ottawa.

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Canada’s racist social norms — and how we can change them Thu, 23 Jun 2022 07:00:00 +0000

In a Facebook group, a white woman responds to a post about new government funding for clean water on an Indigenous reservation, complaining that Indigenous people already receive too much support and should take better care of themselves.

At a bar, a man of European descent joins in a discussion about the police treatment of black people and insists that racism and racial profiling happens in other countries, but not in Canada.

Why do some people publicly make these kinds of blatantly racist and offensive remarks, even while others who might share their views keep quiet? Whether someone makes such comments out of ignorance, prejudice, or insensitivity, people tend to conduct themselves in accordance with what is socially acceptable.

“Thirty years ago, smoking in public was acceptable. It was cool. It was just part of the frame. And there’s been a real long-term public health campaign, if you will, to essentially denormalize smoking in public. It’s a complex intervention that over time has proven to be quite successful,” says Keith Neuman of the Environics Institute, author of the Canadian social norms and racism study.

“That’s where we’d like to come with racism. Anti-racism initiatives could benefit from focusing more on social norms, which are more easily changeable than entrenched attitudes and biases.

Researchers conducted a nationwide online survey and asked 6,601 participants to respond to a series of vignettes of racist or anti-racist actions directed at Indigenous or Black people. Data has been weighted to ensure national representation by province, gender, age and education.

Each respondent was presented with a random selection of six of 12 scenarios – three involving each community – which include responding to a white person who was:

  • Speaking up when someone tells an insensitive joke;
  • Appropriate native or black dress;

  • Asking where an Indigenous or Black person is from;
  • Pretending that racism does not exist in Canada;
  • Intervene when an Indigenous or Black person is harassed in public;
  • Make an offensive comment on Facebook; Where
  • Make a racist gesture during a hockey game.

Respondents were then asked if they had witnessed such events or if they knew anyone else who had witnessed them; whether they believed what the person had done was right or wrong; how many people in their social circle would say that what this person did was right or wrong; and how likely they thought others would intervene.

Many respondents said they had personally seen or knew someone who had witnessed racist actions directed against Indigenous peoples, most often being someone saying that racism does not exist against Indigenous peoples (49%). tracking derogatory comments on Facebook (38%); telling insensitive jokes (35%); others were harassing an Aboriginal person (22 percent); and making a racial gesture such as “a vigorous tomahawk gesture with a loud shout” at a sporting event (21%).

In their response to vignettes directed against black racism, 79% of participants witnessed or knew someone who saw a black person being asked where they were from; claiming that racism does not exist against black people (45%); telling an insensitive joke (38%); harassing a black person (31%); appropriating black clothes (30%); and making derogatory comments on Facebook (21%).

Based on participants’ responses, the researchers came up with an index that represents the degree of acceptability of a specific behavior or behavior in the general population.

The indices range from zero to 100, from the most to the least socially acceptable. This means that the behavior with the lowest score has the greatest consensus of social approval or disapproval.

The study found that social norms are somewhat stronger in situations where people see someone intervening and intervening when someone acts racist toward an Indigenous or Black person, such as telling an insensitive joke or harassing someone. one in public.

Expressing racism through social media posts and asserting that racism does not exist in Canada were both deemed socially unacceptable, according to the index, while appropriating Indigenous or black clothing was considered rare and not as a great social transgression.

Neuman, director of the research project, said the study showed most respondents were aware that driving in these vignettes was bad, but were unsure what others would think or react to the situation.

“There are unspoken rules about how people behave with others. People know whether certain things are acceptable or not. When people choose to say a racist thing, it matters whether they think it’s okay or not with the people they’re with, Neuman explained.

“It’s a big part of racism in society. This is the first time we’ve looked at racism in Canada from the perspective of what’s acceptable or not acceptable in your social circles. So a lot of people think that these Racist actions are wrong, but they’re really not sure what the people around them are thinking, so those norms aren’t very strong, and that helps explain why this type of behavior is still so prevalent.”

Neuman hopes the study’s findings will serve as a benchmark for measuring changing social norms of racism, as what is tolerated and accepted in society changes over time, such as in cases of tobacco control and recognition. of the LGBTQ2+ community after the Supreme Court. 2004 ruling on same-sex marriage.

Government policies and social norms must go hand in hand to encourage or hinder the manifestation of unacceptable behavior, he added.

“The likelihood of encountering people who smoke in public spaces today is very low. It’s not because there are laws and enforcement measures, but it’s because smokers have understood that it’s not good to do that. That’s how social norms work and there are very strict norms against something like smoking,” he said.

“If you go back 20 years, attitudes, treatment and norms around LGBTQ people have changed dramatically. Canadians’ views on gay marriage and LGBTQ people have changed because there is something legit about it by the state. This caused people to subsume their personal biases and discomfort.

Neuman said similar successes could be found in developing social norms about what is acceptable and what is not with racism through modeling and creating trends.

Advertising and educational campaigns that reinforce positive norms and denounce negative ones could help develop a collective sense of what is acceptable, he added.

“What you’re trying to do is communicate that certain types of behaviors are acceptable and others are not. But you have to start by understanding what the standards are, you have to do a diagnosis to find out what they are and how strong they are,” he said.

“It can be a situation where everyone has the same personal belief that something is wrong. By making everyone aware of how everyone thinks, it reinforces that norm.

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based journalist who covers immigration for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung

3 badass non-binary people in history who challenged social norms Sat, 18 Jun 2022 07:00:00 +0000

The term “non-binary” has started to become a mainstay of 21st century vocabulary, especially now that people are becoming more educated about LGBTQ issues. However, the idea of ​​a gender non-conforming person has been around for thousands of years. Various cultures have traditions that blur the line between masculinity and femininity, often manifesting in a harmonious combination of the two.

In this article, you’ll learn about three non-binary people in history who were so ahead of their time that they make our modern world look old school in comparison.

Related: The truth about homosexuality in ancient Egypt

Statue of Queen Hatshepsut, in Luxor, Egypt Shutterstock

Queen Hatshepsut of Ancient Egypt

Anyone familiar with the history of ancient Egypt may have heard of its 18th Dynasty pharaoh, or “the king herself, Queen Hatshepsut. Throughout the 3,000 year history of ancient Egyptian civilization, its pharaohs have been predominantly male. Hatshepsut is the second female pharaoh on record, but the way her gender identity is depicted through carvings and art suggests it’s not as clear cut as it seems.

While art that depicts Hatshepsut as strictly female does exist, there are also a number that depict her as male. In many of these statues, she is carved with a false beard while wearing clothes typically worn by kings. It is important to note that it was no secret that Hatshepsut was female, so these sculptural designs were very intentional.

The blur between masculine and feminine even goes beyond its physical representations. In Khnum’s pottery wheel, the chief god Amun gives Khnum instructions to form Hatshepsut out of clay to be placed in her mother’s womb. Amun refers to Hatshepsut as a “daughter” and uses female pronouns. The artifact then shows Khnum creating her with his potter’s wheel, but she is depicted as a young boy. So even when the gods were tricked into talking about her, she was not defined as asexual – instead, being both male and female.


The Universal Public Friend

The Universal Public Friend was an 18th century American preacher who traveled throughout the Northeastern United States. Born Jemima Wilkinson, the Friend and her siblings were previously disowned by the Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers.

When the friend was in his mid-twenties, he suffered from a serious illness. Running a high fever and nearing death, they reported receiving revelations from God who said there was “room, room, room, in many mansions, my friend.” They went on to say that Jemima Wilkinson had in fact passed away and been accepted into heaven. During this time, their body reincarnated as “Publick Universal Friend”. They have since renounced their birth name as well as any gendered pronouns.

The 18th century United States did not have the vocabulary or the culture at the time to call it non-binary. In fact, many writers of the time went against their wishes and outright portrayed them as strictly female. Some even went so far as to accuse them of being fraudsters. Today, the Friend is considered by many to be a central figure in transgender and non-binary history.



Compared to Western ideals, notions surrounding gender are far less strict in many Eastern and Indigenous cultures even today. A prime example of this fluidity is Native American Zuni artist We’wha. Born as a man in 1849 in New Mexico, Whe’wa was recognized by their community as a “lhamana”. In Zuni culture, lhamanas are biologically male people who take on roles typically performed by women.

We’wha wore a combination of traditional male and female clothing. They were taught skills largely attributed to men, such as weaving. However, they also learned other skills mainly practiced by women, such as ceramics and pottery.

In addition to having varied skills in crafts, We’wha also participated in Zuni societies which were generally gender specific. They performed with the male kachina society, a male group that performed ritual dances in traditional costume. At the same time, they were also part of the medicine society, a group of women who acted as healers for the tribe.

We’wha’s exposure to the many skills and traditions of their culture, unrestricted by gender roles, has allowed them to become a remarkable and highly celebrated individual in Zuni culture and society. When anthropologist Matilde Coxe Stevenson visited their tribe in 1879, she described Whe’wha as “the smartest person in the pueblo” and that their “strong character made his word the law among men and women” .


The essential

The idea of ​​non-binary individuals seems to have been a historically difficult concept to grasp in Western culture. It’s only very recently that more and more people are beginning to understand that gender lines can be blurred. Gender roles are becoming less of a rule as more and more people challenge social norms surrounding gender identity.

Aside from gender fluidity, the common denominator between these three historical figures is their unflinching defiance of the social norms of their time. They were able to accomplish so much, and without having to compromise their identity.

Related: Meet the Gay Pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy

Our social standards and tax compliance – Businessamlive Mon, 30 May 2022 07:37:21 +0000


Over the centuries, human belief systems govern them through unwritten rules, beliefs and attitudes accepted within a social group. Because of the depth of their acceptance, they invariably become standards and foundations for accrediting or rejecting other behaviors. Virtually all societies are distinguished by these standards, whether perceived or real. Because of their role as a fundamental principle for other behavioral inclinations, social norms feature prominently in taxpayer compliance decisions. One of the main reasons for this is peer influence or collective pressure. For example, a family that is deeply religiously inclined and has chosen, as part of the value system, to maintain high levels of moral rectitude may not have one of its members as a tax evader or thief. .

Unfortunately, a confusing extension of this example would be that Nigeria, a country with 98% of the population professing Christianity or Islam, has one of the highest percentages of non-compliant tax avoidance behavior. Ideally, religious people profess loyalty and obedience to constituted authorities and the law. Compliance with tax obligations is essential to acknowledging this loyalty through deeds. But Nigerians are not known solely for their religious zeal. Their clannishness and ethnic consciousness are also well pronounced, as are other widely shared behaviors such as corruption, disregard for the rule of law, rent-seeking culture, systematic clientelism, etc.

Human interactions lead to latent pressure, mainly forming a mixed collective of beliefs, values ​​and rules. Although nobody likes to pay taxes yet, most people would agree that it is essential to obey the constituted authorities who must provide public goods and services to facilitate the life of the citizens. Obedience to constituted authorities; loyalty to the government is a requirement of respecting the principles of law. The Nigerian Economic Summit Group’s Tax and Grant Collection Survey in 2019 found that only 17% of Nigerians are likely to consider not paying taxes to be wrong and punishable. Twenty-two percent think it is not wrong to evade tax obligations. This perception seems strongest in the Southwest, where up to 30.4% do not consider it wrong to evade taxes. The findings support a 2015 PwC report titled “Guess How Many Nigerians Pay Taxes and How Our Government Spends the Money. The report compiled by Taiwo Oyedele showed that only around 13% of the national workforce was in the tax net. Comparatively, only about nine percent of companies operating in Nigeria file returns. The report also pointed out that even the government is not fully compliant in deducting unpaid taxes from their workers’ wages. While it is evident that many factors combine to explain these abysmal compliance rates, it is perhaps not out of place to seek the connection between our defining social norms as a country and this observed compliance performance. .

Hard work, productivity and resilience are the dominant virtues of the average Nigerian. This is why Nigerians remain in power, even in the face of the grueling frustrations of its leadership. But these irritations mainly concern ordinary citizens who are neither tied to political power nor in a government office. Many connected people are working hard to drain public resources into their private pockets. Their general dispositions and actions lead to frustrations that hamper the efforts of the ordinary Nigerian. Because the most important motivation of public officials is corrupt personal enrichment, they practically impede the functioning of the rule of law. Therefore, it is more than the usual expectation to think that voluntary compliance will be at noticeably higher levels in our predominantly lawless society. Yet there is significant collusion between ordinary citizens who may not be directly involved and those who champion this sordidness. While the latter takes care of the theft, the former, who suffers the consequences, maintains a disturbing silence and becomes an accomplice in the process. A famous saying says that those who remain silent in the face of evil are its partners.

It is even more disturbing when we see ourselves through the prism of religion, which is also a dominant characteristic of our population. The expectation of genuinely religious people is to condemn evil. Unfortunately, our religiosity seems to be a platform for the automatic approval of people of questionable integrity willing to support such organizations. Members of government and political authority use state resources to legitimize their excessive actions. They bless their communities, places of worship, and relationships with the breeze of illicitly acquired Commonwealth wealth to buy their legitimization. It is common practice for communities and relations to condemn one who has been in certain political offices and returned without demonstrating deep pockets of collectively held resources. These are the roots of other vices that define our social norms, such as rent seeking, weak public administration, the culture of impunity and electoral corruption. These defects are necessary to maintain flight standards, which weakens the ability to comply with tax laws. Governors, elected politicians and their cronies rarely pay taxes. Those who comply are therefore those who do not have this political link and this coverage. And because the structures for implementing our laws are fragile and convoluted, resorting to the law to enforce compliance does not have the force desired.

The summary is that we are a social group of lawless, corrupt, ethnic and religious fanatics. These attributes seem to define our contemporary social norms. But corruption is one of the biggest killers of tax compliance. First, it kills trust in tax administrations. Taxpayers cannot trust those who consciously steal and waste the proportion of their income they have worked in unworthy circumstances to earn. Far worse is the level of public financial mismanagement and embezzlement, which is so upsetting that it is driving some people to decide to stop making contributions in the name of taxes. Those who embezzle these public funds believe they can manipulate the law and its structures and get away with it undetected. Yes, of course, they end up succeeding. Taxpayers also learn from it. They try as hard as they can to pay negligible amounts compared to what they should declare and bribe tax officials and banks over the nil results of our toothless bulldog laws. More than 80% of tax officials across the country accept bribes. It is also a dominant social norm within the Nigerian Revenue Service. The loss of confidence in tax administrations and the associated government is also explained by the fact that they systematically fail to meet citizens’ expectations for public goods, the rule of law and security. The ability of government to effectively deliver these three desirable elements correlates with citizens’ assessment of the level of good governance they enjoy. Unfortunately, most Nigerian governments do not score up to 15% of their performance on these criteria. Secondly, these extremely low levels of performance on these good governance factors ultimately translate into difficult economic conditions, which worsen transaction costs and the general situation of the entrepreneur. What is more, trying again to improve their residual income after the private provision of these desirable goods, they resort to non-compliance.

Many analysts claim that Nigeria inherited these undesirable social norms from the discovery of crude oil. Prior to its discovery, officials had to do a lot of work to strategize on increasing public finances and apply it to gain public trust and improve tax compliance. The oil boom suddenly removed the need for this level of effort to raise funds. It is legendary that Yakubu Gowon said Nigeria’s problem was how to spend its money. This orientation has undoubtedly sold the seeds of sharing public resources rather than generating resources. It is a fact that those who are concerned with the production and generation of resources act differently from those who are more interested in mere consumption. So while other countries were outbidding productivity, we were fighting over resource sharing and theft. Every person wants to have a piece of the national pie. Political positions present opportunities that many quickly take advantage of by depriving citizens of the public goods, rule of law and security that these resources should normally provide. Of course, the consequence is that most people reproduce the same exercise at their level. Non-compliance is how tax evaders appropriate public money. The collective rationalization of these excessive norms is also one of the forces that sustains them. There seems to be some consensus that those who have access to public resources should touch them. Accordingly, in keeping with our ingrained cronyism and ethnic and religious fanaticism, political favors extend to those who meet these conditions even when they are ineligible. The tax authorities also extend these supposed favors to their relatives, religious brothers and those who can bid. As this corrupt enrichment circulates, large segments of Nigerian society, unfortunately, condone and rationalize it as it kills the government’s ability to raise its revenue collection.

In the final analysis, reshaping our prevailing social norms of corruption, lawlessness and cronyism will undoubtedly improve tax compliance rates. Obviously, the surest weapon against them is the revitalization of the judicial system. An effective justice system that rests on an equally strict rule of law tempers the tides of these undesirable social norms while strengthening the tendency of citizens to abide by the Constitution. The tax administration must understand that working on social standards is at the heart of its overall tax education. For example, in communities where people rarely engage in productive ventures implying that they would have very little to contribute as taxes, part of tax education for improving IGR would be to encourage them reverse that norm and become more productive.

Martin Ike Muonso, an economics professor with an interest in sub-national government RGI growth strategies, is Managing Director/CEO of ValueFronteira Limited. He can be contacted by email at

I’m on business. is committed to posting a diversity of views, opinions and commentary. He therefore welcomes your reaction to this article and to any of our articles by e-mail:

Associations of Attitudes and Social Norms with Experiences of Domestic Violence Among Married Adolescent Girls and Their Husbands in Rural Niger: A Dyadic Cross-Sectional Study | BMC Women’s Health Wed, 18 May 2022 12:57:08 +0000
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    Pressure to conform to social norms may explain risky COVID-19 decisions Tue, 17 May 2022 11:00:00 +0000

    The pandemic has entered a murky phase and social norms are changing rapidly, which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Many people test at home, or not at all. Here in Vermont, where I live, you can get a type of PCR test that can be done at home. But state officials here and abroad are no longer carefully monitoring the results of those tests, meaning the true spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. population remains unclear (SN: 04/22/22).

    For the past few weeks, rumors of a stealth wave of COVID-19 have been circulating both in the media and on my Twitter feed. Now cases and hospitalizations are rising, as are levels of coronavirus in sewage. This suggests that more cases, and ultimately deaths, could follow.

    Even with increasing workloads and a vaccination rate which has stagnated at around 66% of the eligible population, the American public has largely begun to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. People are getting rid of their masks, eating out, going to concerts, traveling to remote places, having big weddings indoors and doing all the social things people tend to do when left at home. themselves.

    The 2,600 people White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner the end of last month is a good example. Just like host Trevor Noah prophesiedmany in attendance have since tested positive for COVID-19, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and reporters from NBC, ABC, the Washington Post, Politico and other media. And those who almost certainly knew better – flag the White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha – nonetheless made an appearance.

    A myriad of human behavioral quirks undoubtedly underlie these arguably poor choices. The Decision Lab website contains a list of biases and mental shortcuts people use to make decisions. The one that caught my eye was social norms. This particular quirk describes behaviors that people deem appropriate in a given situation.

    I started thinking about social norms by writing an article about how to get people in the United States to eat less meat when the practice is so, well, normal (SN: 5/11/22). Social norms, my research has informed me, vary depending on the group one hangs out with and their environment. “We quickly change our point of view depending on the context of the situation we find ourselves in,” writes marketing expert John Laurence on the Decision Lab site.

    I might have found this fast switching idea suspicious if I hadn’t recently experienced the phenomenon. My husband’s Disney-phile brother and his wife had been planning a family reunion at Disney World in Florida since the pandemic began. And I, some kind of curmudgeon reluctant to feel magic, long ago agreed to go on the condition that other people do all the planning. And so it was, after multiple COVID-related postponements, that my kids, husband, and I landed in Orlando on a blisteringly hot April day.

    Normal Disney, I soon learned, bore little resemblance to normal Vermont. It was evident from people’s attire. All around me, parents and children dressed in coordinated outfits and matching Mickey Mouse ears. (My apologies to my kids – your mom missed the fashion memo.)

    Social norms almost certainly arose to foster cohesion among our earliest ancestors, who needed solidarity to hunt large prey, share limited resources, and ward off predators and enemy tribes. Intra-group norms also provide humans with a sense of belonging, which research shows is vital to our overall health. A meta-analysis of over 3.4 million people followed for an average of seven years showed that the likelihood of dying during the study period increased by 26% for participants who reported feeling lonely (SN: 03/29/20).

    It is therefore not surprising that one of the most powerful drivers of human behavior is the search for belonging. At Disney, that quest means blocking out the reality that exists just outside the fiefdom. Wars, climatic crises, political fights and others have no place in these magical walls. Nor are reminders of a global health crisis which, according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, has so far killed nearly 15 million people global.

    Within the walls of Disney, crowds of mostly tourists without masks packed on iconic rides and in restaurants. Halfway through our trip, a judge in Florida ruled that masks could not be required on public transportation, no masks should be seen on buses carrying people to the Magic Kingdom and the Epcot Center. And everywhere, all the time, people seemed to be coughing, sniffling, or blowing their noses.

    As a science journalist covering COVID-19, I certainly knew I had to keep my mask on. And yet, my resolve quickly faltered. My kids commented that no one else was masking up, not even my parents who usually followed the rules. Putting on my mask meant confessing that I didn’t revel in sparkle, glitter and magic and making it all too obvious to my beloved extended family that I didn’t, in fact, belong. I kept my face covering in my pocket.

    Humans’ drive for conformity isn’t all bad. In a now classic study from the 1980s, researchers sought to reduce water use in drought-prone California. Signs at the University of California, Santa Cruz asking students to turn off the shower while soaping up only led to 6% compliance. The researchers therefore recruited male students to serve as standard-setting role models. These models hung out in the communal shower until they heard another student come in, then soaped up without water. When a model soaped up without a shower, roughly half of the involuntary students have also started turning off their taps when soaping. Compliance jumped to 67% when two models followed the panel.

    But conformity can also distort the way we make decisions. For example, in the summer of 2020, when the pandemic was still new, researchers asked 23,000 people in Mexico to predict how a fictional woman named Mariana would decide whether or not to attend a birthday party. Most attendees thought Mariana should not attend. But when they read a sentence suggesting that their friends would attend or that others approved of the party, their predictions that Mariana would also go increased by 25%, according to researchers PLOS ONE.

    My decision to conform to Disney normal ended predictably – with a positive COVID-19 test. After weeks of coughing and sleepless nights, however, my frustration is directed less at myself than at the political leaders who so blithely ignore both epidemiology and human behavior research and tell us to live as if it was in 2019. It is not. It’s not 2020 or 2021 either. It’s the murky year known as 2022. And the rules of behavior that reinforce our social norms – such as models who refrain from large indoor unmasked gatherings and leaders who uphold mask mandates on public transit to protect the most vulnerable — should reflect that liminal space.

    Data | Despite development, social norms prevent women from entering the labor market in South Asia Wed, 04 May 2022 07:00:00 +0000

    Social norms and attitude towards gender in South Asia are strongly linked to the low participation of women in economic activities

    Social norms and attitude towards gender in South Asia are strongly linked to the low participation of women in economic activities

    Despite decades of rapid economic growth, rising education and declining fertility, women in South Asia continue to be disadvantaged in accessing economic opportunities. South Asia’s female labor force participation rate (FLFP) is far below that of all other regions of the world except West Asia and North Africa. Education, a key determinant of FLFP, also does not explain low participation, as female gross enrollment in secondary schools has steadily increased in South Asia. Total fertility rate also declined in most South Asian countries, but this did not lead to an increase in FLFP. Thus, a World Bank document concludes that social norms and attitudes towards gender in South Asia are strongly linked to the low participation of women in economic activities.

    Fall behind

    The graph shows the female labor force participation rate (FLFP) in the regions of the world. South Asia lags behind all other regions of the world except the Middle East and North Africa. In 2019, only 23.6% of women in South Asia were in the labor force, compared to around 50-60% in other regions

    The graph seems incomplete? Click to remove AMP mode

    Registration rate

    The graph shows girls’ secondary school enrollment rates in all regions of the world. In 2020, enrollment rates in South Asia have improved significantly and moved closer to developing regions. However, this improvement did not lead to an increase in FLFP

    Falling fertility levels

    The graph shows the fertility rate (the number of children an average woman has in her lifetime) in all regions. In South Asia, with the exception of Afghanistan and Pakistan, all countries recorded a significant reduction in the fertility rate. This indicates that the decline in the fertility rate has also not impacted FLFP trends.

    Social Norms

    The graph shows the results of a global survey that measured personal beliefs (blue) and social expectations (red) about gender equality. South Asian responses to the statement “A woman’s most important role is to care for her home and her children” are among the most conservative, and the gap between personal beliefs and social expectations is also narrow.

    Source: World Bank Office of the Chief Economist for South Asia

    Click on here to access the research paper

    Read also: A step back in gender equality