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Effects Of Gender Bias And Discrimination In The Novel The Handmaid’s Tale And Play The Piano Lesson

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Gender is an inevitable thing that people cannot change about themselves making it impossible to escape the cruel injustices that we face on a daily basis. Gender bias and discrimination exist all over the world not only United states. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, she writes about a dystopian society called the Gilead in which women are deprived of their rights and live under male domination simply because they are women, and therefore are only meant for a position of get no opportunity or powerless. Somewhat, The Play The Piano lesson by August Wilson, is a play which focuses on the lives of the Charles family who are African American and their heirloom a family’s history under slavery. The main them in this movie is conflict about the piano between brother and sister. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano to be able to buy a land where his ancestors were slaves, but Bernice insists on keeping the piano in memory of their great grandmother and son whose faces carved on the piano. Therefore, gender bias and discrimination refer to the socially constructed preference for one gender over the other. As a social problem, gender bias can appear in various contexts such as, the educational system, the work environment and economy, families, and religious. However, I focused mostly on gender bias and discrimination injustice because research shows that gender bias and discrimination disproportionately affects women, mainly because of the patriarchal system embedded within the social structure of a given society. Likewise, the cultural and social obstacles have impacted and shaped the characters in The Handmaid’s Tale and the play The piano lesson through the social injustices of gender bias and discrimination.

Gender bias has consequences certain social roles in society, depending upon who fills the role. Such as, female dominant roles as nursing, childcare, or stay at home parenting are considered less masculine and are therefore viewed as less valuable in society. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale the society views women as less than man and society treated them powerless. In the society of Gilead men being equated with roles of power and women with domestic servitude. Therefore, the consequence of gender bias depicted within Gilead, where men are named according to military rankings and women are used solely as tools of reproduction. According to the novel, “Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn’t about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing” (Atwood 135). In the society of Gilead that men are hold the all power not the women because they think women are useless, they cannot able to hold any power. Likewise, “Where the missing Girl” of Explorations in Economic History explained the same issue the consequences of gender bias impacted in European societies that parents seem to have treated their sons and daughters differently throughout childhood. Research found that in 19th century, the livings standards of girls, relative to boys, seem to have deteriorated when they grew up, especially in economic conditions. In domestic chores also probably led to greater deprivation for older girls. Also, research shows that Spain in 19th century women faced sever discrimination in many amounts by legally subordinated to their fathers and husbands, women were expected to remain within the domestic province. There is gender bias has also involved other kinds of mistreatment towards girls. According to the research, “A glimpse of the existing son preference can be discerned from a popular proverb: ‘Wish I had a boy, even if he becomes a thief” (Beltran, Francisco, and Domingo 3). This such a male oriented society where male get preferential attention than female. Additionally, it appears that boys were breastfed longer than girls and that might have resulted in a greater likelihood of girls falling ill. The influence of family intervention favoring male infants have more important. Furthermore, gender bias can affect females in their daily life. The resource Women’s Inheritance, Household Allocation, and Gender Bias shows that how families are avoided giving their rightful land. This is because they bring the issue is that they saved this land for dowry payments when daughter get marry or an investment in education. But the main issue is when parents realize that their children’s education quality is low or poor then they take their sons out of school to train them in farming or nonfarming related skills, thereby increasing their future earnings potential. On the other hands, parents keep their daughters at home to doing house chores or train them for house parenting because parents believed that daughters are able to do house chores and sons for outside work. Also, in India the ancestral property, passed down through generations, could only be inherited by sons (Bose and Das). Additionally, resource also found that in Indian parents has to preferred with money for their daughter because dowry payments when daughter are close to marriageable age. Therefore, gender bias is a globally societal problem which can impacts against females. Another research “Gender bias and the female brain drain” shows that gender differences in the cause and consequences of female brain drain. They found that bias in a significant portion of the gap between male and female high frequency emigration rate. This is because, they observe outcomes of gender bias such as female get less opportunity in economic than man even if women are highly skilled or high educated than man because of they are women. Additionally, they show that the host countries have access to legal work status female immigrants than male immigrants because family visas that have allowed more women to migrate also forbid them from working, leaving them to seek informal work in less-skilled occupations. Whereas, eliminate these consequences family visas would allow them to find better job as their ability, as well as increase incentives for families to invest in educating their daughters (Bang and Mitra). Indeed, in somehow all societies women have impacted social injustice through confronted gender bias which is make them differences.

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Gender discrimination is still existing around us. Gender discrimination are generally discussed as pertaining to women. There’s an unfair imbalance between males and females. Males have much more superiority than females. Males are prone to be higher than females. There’s an inequality between genders because males have a better opportunity in everyday life. It affects society negatively because it causes an imbalance for females, making them seem like they don’t have the ability to do what males can do. However, the gender prejudice viewed as in the play The Piano Lesson by August Wilson shows in his movie that how a single mother a character named Bernice faced gender prejudice because the society tell her she cannot be independent unless she has a man by her side. She is thirty-five-year-old women who still in mourning for husband, Crawley. At this point she refuse to re marry because still she constantly thinks about her husband. Therefore, she is running for her family and she nicely take care and support her daughter, but the society said she is not because as a woman cannot able to independent by herself. According to Bernice “You trying to tell me a woman can’t nothing without a man. But you alright, huh? You can just walk out of here without me- without a woman- and still be a man. That’s alright. Aren’t nobody going to ask you, “Avery, who you got to love you?” That’s alright for you” (Wilson CH. 25). At this point the character female faced gender discrimination that society make her dependent by men. Therefore, gender discrimination can affect a person physically and mentally. Resource shows that “perceived gender discrimination is related to women’s poor mental health outcomes” (Kim and Hansol 1). They also said Gender discrimination is one of the social stressors of being a woman that negatively impacts mental health. Such as higher lifetime prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders. Resource tested a moderated mediational model involving married Korean working women’s perceived gender discrimination, self-esteem, believed just world, and depression. This study shows two hypotheses. First, married working women who perceive higher levels of identified discrimination reported lower self-esteem was significant only when the level of believed just world -self was high. Second, self-esteem meditated the relationship between perceived gender discrimination and depression at high levels of believed just world. The Women’s Studies International Forum states that, “In particular, the finding regarding the indirect effects of self-esteem provides support to racism-related stress model in that stress related to perceived discrimination has negative effects on mental health outcomes through low self-esteem” (Kim and Hansol 5). Although research has found that the harmful effects of felt discrimination on psychological well-being and low self-esteem as a negative consequence of identified discrimination. However, in the face discrimination, it would be tough to maintain high self-esteem. This is because of sociometer, which emphasizes the social nature of self-esteem or an internal gage of others’ evaluation of the individual. For example, gender discrimination could damage female’s self-esteem when conceptualized as social devaluation and disapproval messages against females. Society thinks males are capable to do things in everyday life than females which is negatively affects females lives. Atwood spoke in her novel that in the society of Gilead women are forbidden from their self-restricted such as women can not hold job, bank account, own property even their identities also, reading and writing. The society cracked down on women’s rights because they think women can not do outside work and they believed that women are only able to do house chores and produce children. However, they treated them unequal way or make them useless by break their rights. In the society all people should treated by equally, but the Gilead is treated by differently. The narrative state that, “It’s strange now, to think about having job. It’s a funny word. It’s a job for a man” (Atwood 173). She also states that, when her bank account frozen “But I’ve got two thousand dollars in the bank, I said, as if my own account was the only one that mattered. Women can’t hold property anymore, she said. It’s a new law” (Atwood 178). In this situation the narrative remembers losing her job and how her debit card suddenly stopped working. All of a sudden, women were second class citizens. However, when the take over control the Gilead society all women eliminate from their opportunity. At that time does not matter if these women are highly educated or not in this society. Same issue come up with a research that “Gender bias and the availability of business loans”. Journal of Business Venturing experiment shows that how women are confronted gender bias when two experiment were carried out significant differences in response to female and male applicants were observed in both experiments. In experiment one both sexes were equally likely to obtain a loan, but education was considered a more important factor for the female applicant than for the male. In experiment two the female applicant was less likely to obtain a loan than the male applicant. The author of this journal said, “The results support the widely held perception that women can experience gender discrimination when seeking start-up capital” (Fay and Lesley). Indeed, the social construction of differential gender roles in western culture such it is more likely that discrimination in unconscious. Therefore, In both position women are confronted in gender discrimination that impacted them in their career because in the novel the society crackdown their rights by eliminate them from the job position and froze their own bank account likewise the experiments women are obtain a loan even if they are more educated than male. In both societies view as women are less than men which is make differences between males and females. Furthermore, in the novel authors shows that women are not only less than men, but they also categorized all women based on their societal standard.

Lastly, in the novel and the play shows that how women are confronted gender bias and discrimination which can impacts both society’s women. At this point how society sees women by their gender and define them who are they and how they are treated in both societies even they don’t have any choice or any rights. Based on the discussions that the social injustice and obstacle have impacted through gender bias and prejudice where women are object to lower class in all around the world. Which is associated with low self-esteem and negatively impacted women career. These social obstacles are a global crisis and people cannot control their gender and this is an unchangeable.

Work Cited

  1. Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. N.p.: Anchor, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2017. Print
  2. Bang, James T, and Aniruddha Mitra. “Gender Bias and the Female Brain Drain.” Applied Economics Letters, vol. 18, no. 9, 2011, pp. 829–833.
  3. Beltran Tapia, Francisco J, and Domingo Gallego-Martínez. “Where Are the Missing Girls? Gender Discrimination in 19th-Century Spain.” Explorations in Economic History, vol. 66, 2017, pp. 117–126.
  4. Bose, Nayana, and Das, Shreya see. “Women’s Inheritance Rights, Household Allocation, and Gender Bias.” The American Economic Review, vol. 107, no. 5, 2017, pp. 150–153.
  5. Fay, Michael, and Lesley Williams. ‘Gender bias and the availability of business loans.’ Journal of Business Venturing8.4 (1993): 363-376.
  6. Khera, Rohan, et al. ‘Gender bias in childcare and child health: global patterns.’ Archives of disease in childhood 99.4 (2014): 369-374.
  7. Kim, Eunha, and Hansol Park. “Perceived Gender Discrimination, Belief in a Just World, Self- Esteem, and Depression in Korean Working Women: A Moderated Mediation Model.” Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 69, 2018, pp. 143–150.
  8. Wilson, August. The Piano Lesson. Plume, 1990.

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Effects Of Gender Bias And Discrimination In The Novel The Handmaid’s Tale And Play The Piano Lesson. (2021, September 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Effects Of Gender Bias And Discrimination In The Novel The Handmaid’s Tale And Play The Piano Lesson.” Edubirdie, 28 Sept. 2021,
Effects Of Gender Bias And Discrimination In The Novel The Handmaid’s Tale And Play The Piano Lesson. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2023].
Effects Of Gender Bias And Discrimination In The Novel The Handmaid’s Tale And Play The Piano Lesson [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 28 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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