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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC101Y1
Professor
Sheldon Ungar
Semester
Winter

Description
New Society Chapter 7 Gender Inequality: Economic and Political Aspects 1. Understanding Gender Inequality Social roles are the expectations and behaviours associated with particular positions in society (e.g. 1950s woman = wives/mothers, men = provider/head of household) Since 1950s average marriage age has increased, women and men postponing marriage, other changes were happening that blurred the line between work in the home and work in the labour force HOWEVER a changed world does not mean an equal gender inequality still exists a. Gender Inequality Defined Say gender inequalities instead of sex inequalities because gender refers to the social meanings instead of biological meanings Gender Stereotypes o Children learn to define certain social behaviours as inherently male or female through parents and media o Gender stereotypes oversimplified beliefs about how men and women, by virtue of their physical sex, possess different personality traits, and as a result, may behave differently and experience the world in different ways o Gender related identities and behaviours are largely socially constructed o b/c gender-related identities are largely socially constructed: 1) Gender identities and behaviours are not stable and fixed 2) Gender identities need not be consistent with the sex assigned to individuals at birth 3) Gender identities and behaviours are not polar opposites www.notesolution.com o In studies men described aggressively, independent, active women describe as emotional, passive, not competitive etc. (1960s) today people still view women and men as having different, and opposite, personality traits Dimension of Inequality o Gender stereotypes are often important factors in determining the ideologies that perpetuate gender inequalities o Gender inequalities hierarchical asymmetries between men and women with respect to the distribution of power, material well-being, and prestige (on average, men have more wealth, greater power, and positions that are accorded higher prestige) o Power - the capacity to impose your will on others, regardless of any resistance they might offer refers to the capacity to influence, manipulate, and control others o Material well-being access to the economic resources necessary to pay for food, clothing, housing and other possessions and advantages o Prestige the average evaluation of occupational activities and positions that are arranged in a hierarchy o Stratification the result over time of routine and frequently recurring practices and often unstated rules gender inequality is social stratification based on gender b. Explaining Gender Inequality Feminism - the body of thought on the cause and nature of womens disadvantages and subordinate position in society and to efforts to minimize or eliminate that subordinations 1) Liberal feminism Assumes that human beings are rational and will correct inequalities when the know about them Assumes that a good society is one in which men and women enjoy equal rights and opportunities www.notesolution.com Gender inequalities are caused and perpetuated by gender stereotyping and the division of work into womens and mens jobs To achieve gender equality: a. Remove gender stereotyping and discrimination in education and paid work b. Changing laws so that men and women have equal opportunities in the labour force and in politics 2) Marxist feminism Womens unpaid work in the home maintains and reproduces the labour force Believe that gender equality is possible once socialism replaces capitalism 3) Socialist feminism Gender inequality is caused by the gendered division of labour and its exploitation by capitalism Classes constitute only one set of social relations that oppress women patriarchy predates capitalism Steps required to reduce gender inequality include government- subsidized maternal benefits and child care, equal wages, and salaries to people who do equally valued work 4) Multiracial feminism Emphasized the importance of race in understanding gender inequality Highlights differences among women in terms of gender inequality, and then it points out that women of specific races and in certain class locations are in positions of power and domination over other groups of women, then it emphasizes that solutions to gender inequality vary according to the location of groups of women in the matrix of domination www.notesolution.com c. Exercising Power Power pervades all social relations, routine behaviours, and commonly accepted practices Mens overt sexual gestures/comments are often considered normal draws on conceptualizations of femininity and masculinity that define women as sexy or available and men as sexual aggressors Sexual harassment essentially a display of power in which one person attempts to control, and often succeeds in controlling, another through sexual overtures the result of the general belief that men are superior to women and also the outcome of patterned ways of behaving that are based on this belief and that serve to reinforce it When the capacity or incapacity to control and influence becomes routine and patterned, we can speak of power as a system of dominance and exploitation Minority women experience the most harassment because they are both women and members of a minority group problematic for immigrant women who may be unsure of their rights and may have had different understandings in their home country as to what constitutes sexual harassment d. Separate Spheres Wealth and high income normally bestow power The public sphere was viewed as the domain of men, who were expected to be the breadwinners and heads of the households most housework is not done in the presence of husbands which adds to the devaluation of work in the home The housewife becomes economically dependent to the person who hands over the money The belief that a womans place is in the home disadvantages women relative to men in the distribution of prestige, power, and economic resources 2 main responses to this: 1. Some people have tried to eliminate the devaluation of domestic labour by having womens unpaid work recognized officially and having a dollar value assigned to it 2. Recognition of womens disadvantages emphasizes the entry of women into the public sphere womens growing labour-force participation and their www.notesolution.com
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