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Chapter 7-Gender Inequality-Economic and Political Aspects Nov 19 2008

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Sheldon Ungar

Reading Notes 11-19-08 New Society Chapter 7: Gender Inequality- Economic and Political Aspects Introduction O Social Roles: behaviours that are expected of people occupying particular social positions Understanding Inequality Gender Inequality Defined O Gender refers to the social meaning associated with being a man or women, whereas sex refers to the biological characteristics of men and women O Gender Stereotypes O Through parental behaviour, television, movies, etc, children learn to define certain social behaviours as inherent in being chromosomally male or female O Gender Stereotypes: by virtue of your physical sex, possess different personality traits and, as a result, may behave differently and experience the world in different ways O 1) gender identities, and behaviours are not stable and fixed, 2) gender identities need not to be congruent with the sex assigned to individuals at birth, 3) gender identities and behaviours are not polar opposites O Dimensions of Inequality O Gender inequalities: hierarchical asymmetries between men and women with respect to the distribution of power, material well being, prestige O (1) Power: the capacity to impose you will onto others, regardless of any resistance they might offer; the capacity to influence, manipulate, control others O (2) Material Well Being: access to the economic resources necessary to pay for food, clothing, housing, and other possessions and advantages (work related earningaccumulated wealth) O (3) Prestige: the average evaluation of occupational activities and positions that are arranged in a hierarchy; reflects degree of respect, honour Explaining Gender Inequality O Feminism : the body of thought on the cause and nature of womens disadvantages and subordinate position in society and to efforts that minimize or eliminate the subordination O Liberal Feminism: assumes that human beings are rational and will correct inequalities when they know about them; a good society is one where men and women have equal rights and opportunities; Gender inequalities are caused and perpetuated by gender stereotyping and the division of women and mens jobs O To achieve gender equality: (1) removing gender stereotyping and discrimination in education and paid work force, (2) changing laws so that men and women have equal opportunities in the labour forcepolitics O Marxists Feminism: womens unpaid work in the home maintains and reproduces the labour force O To achieve gender inequality: once socialism replaces capitalism O Socialist Feminism: gender inequality is caused by the gender division of labour and its exploitation by capitalism O (1) social relations oppress women, (2) patriarchy O To achieve gender inequality: government subsidized maternal benefits and child care, payment of equal wages and salaries to people who do equally valued work O Multicultural Feminism: importance of race when understanding gender inequality O Multiracial Feminism: (1) highlights differences among women in terms of gender inequality, (2) women of specific races and in certain class locations are positions of power and domination over other groups of women, (3) solutions; vary according to location
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