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Lecture 3

WSTA03H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Gender Mainstreaming, Undoing Gender, Pluralistic Ignorance

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Anissa Talahite- Moodley

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WGSTA03H3S: Theories of
Fall 2012
Week 3 readings: Chapter 1(Pp.23-50)
According to Liberal Feminisms, where do gender
inequalities come from?
- Gendered socialization of children
- ’s responsibility of child care and house chores
- Division of paid work into women’s job and
men’s job in the society
- Restricted entry into top positions for women
- Limitations on procreative choice for women
Politics (solutions to inequalities):
- Gender-neutral child-rearing and education
- Giving men’s jobs to women
- Bringing more women into politics
- Promoting gender mainstreaming
- Sharing parenting and subsidizing child care
- Fighting for legal, accessible, and affordable
procreative services
Critiques of Liberal Feminism:
- It puts too much emphasis on the similarities of
women and men, hiding positive qualities of
women (empathy and nurturance)
- It puts too much attentions to paid work and
careers as the most meaningful lifestyle
- It gives too little recognition on the divisions
among women that add more disadvantages (ex.
racial, ethnic, and social class status)
- It doesn’t pay enough attention to sexual
violence and rape
Contributions of Liberal feminisms:
- Language, children’s books, and education
became more gender neutral
- It makes gender discrimination visible
- It countered the effects of gender discrimination
by mentoring and networking associations
- It works with civil rights organizations to frame
affirmative action guidelines and to bring
lawsuits for women and disadvantaged men
- More women in politics
- Workplace child care and paid parental leave
- Abortion legalized
- Procreative rights recognized as human rights
What were women viewed as in the 1960s and 1970s?
- According to the Feminine Mystique by Betty
Friedans: women were confined to the main jobs
of wife and mother
- Women who wanted careers in arts or politics
were suspect unless they were good mothers
- Women were not too bright, clothes-conscious,
and overly emotional
Claims made by liberal feminisms:
- Gender differences are not based on biology
- The women and men are not that different
- The law should not treat them differently
- Women should have same legal rights, education
and work opportunities
- Parenting abilities may seem biological, but men
learn them when they have the responsibility of
raising the children alone, so its NOT!
- Families, teachers, picture books, school books,
and mass media still encourage boys to be
“masculine” and girls to be “feminine”
Goals of liberal feminists:
- Undoing gender: reversing effects of gender
- Gender mainstreaming
- Let women work outside the home and men
- Promote non-sexist socialization and education
of children
- Promote media presentation of men and women
in non-traditional roles
The Persistence of Gender Inequality:
- In her article, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein addresses
that the global subordination of women and girls
still persists despite changes in society
o Women are assigned the survival tasks:
reproduction, gathering/preparing food
o Everywhere in the world, internalized
cultural schemas reinforce inequality
o “mindscapes” separate and segregate
women, believing that the practice is
inevitable and right. Psychologists call
them schemas: culturally set definitions
that people internalize
o Yes, women have moved up in the
continuum toward inequality in the past
30 yrs, this is NOT just because their
brains developed!
o Pluralistic ignorance (when people act
with reference to shared collective
opinions that are empirically incorrect)
still exists.
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