SOC101Y1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Unemployment Benefits, Foreign Corporation, Knowledge Economy

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8 Feb 2011
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
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
oChildren learn to define certain social behaviours as inherently male
or female through parents and media
oGender 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
oGender related identities and behaviours are largely socially
ob/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
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oIn 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
oGender stereotypes are often important factors in determining the
ideologies that perpetuate gender inequalities
oGender 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)
oPower - 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
oMaterial well-being access to the economic resources necessary to
pay for food, clothing, housing and other possessions and advantages
oPrestige the average evaluation of occupational activities and
positions that are arranged in a hierarchy
oStratification 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
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Gender inequalities are caused and perpetuated by gender
stereotyping and the division of work into womens and mens
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
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
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
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