Gender Inequality

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University of Toronto St. George
Sheldon Ungar

Sociology January 13 , 2011. Gender Inequality Reading: NS ch. 7, SiQ ch. 5 @ p. 55 New Society Social roles the behaviours that are expected of people occupying particular social positions 1950s: womens roles wives & mothers, mens roles (Provider and Head of household paying jobs, responsibilities included meeting familys needs for food, clothing, and shelter 1968 divorce laws revised, rise in divorce, signaling that fewer women and men would have a single spouse for their adult lives Changes blurring line bw work at home and work in labour force: Men were starting to become more involved in household maintenance and child rearing, and more women were joining paid labour force 2000s: people see themselves as eventually have spouse and raising children, however unlike 1950s, also see themselves sharing domestic responsibilities Gender inequalities inequalities bw men and women. Social scientists favour gender than sex inequalities because refers to social meanings rather than biological characteristics Gender found in social roles, institutions, and daily interactions Through parental behaviour, T.V., movies, and print media (schoolbooks), children learnt to define certain social behaviours as inherent in being chromosomally male or female In adulthood, have already adopted, identified with masculine or feminine personality traitsbehaviours And so likely to treat others through lenses of their own identities and understandings of masculinity and femininity conceptualizations are gender stereotypes over simplified beliefs about how menwomen possess different personality traits, and, as a result, may behave differently and experience the world in different ways Fact that gender is largely learned and that its content is continually altered through social interact had three implications: 1. Gender identities and behaviours are not stable and fixed. What people take to be masculinefeminine varies bw societies, and within any given society, over time 2. Gender identitiesinternalized sense of being manwomanand gender specific behaviours need not be congruent with the sex assigned to individuals at birth 3. Just like sexuality and sex, gender identities and behaviours are not polar opposites. There are degrees of masculinity and femininity Sociologists define gender inequalities as hierarchical asymmetries bw men and women with respect to the distribution of power, mater well being, and prestige ONLY on AVERAGE men have more wealth, greater power, and positions accorded with higher prestige www.notesolution.comSociology January 13 , 2011. Three Dimensions of Inequality 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 Material well being involves access to economic resources necessary to pay for food, clothing, housing, and other possessions and advantages. 2 important sources of material well being: work related earnings and accumulated wealth Prestige average evaluation of occupational activities and positions that are arranged in a hierarchy. Reflect degree of respect, honour, or deference generally accorded to a person occupying a give position Gender inequality is social stratification based on gender 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 subordination Feminist Theories 1. Liberal feminism is rooted in liberalism of 1700s Assumes that human beings are rational and will correct inequalities when they know about them Assumes that a good society is one in which men and women enjoy equal rights and opportunities According to liberal feminism, gender inequalities are caused and perpetuated by gender stereotypes and the division of work into womens and mens jobs 2 main ways to achieve gender equality are: (1) removing gender stereotyping and discrimination in education and paid work, and (2) changing laws so that men and women have equal opportunities in the labour force and in politics 2. Marxism derived from Karl Marx Womens unpaid work in the home maintains and reproduces the labour force Capitalists benefit because they obtain refreshed workers at the beginning of each day and mothers raise children who will become future labourers Capitalists also benefit from womens unpaid work because women in paid labour force, like men, help capitalists earn profit and because they act as a reserve army of labour that can be hired and fired as labour demands change Marxist feminists believe that gender equality is possible once socialism replaces capitalism 3. Socialist feminism builds on Marxist feminism Agree that gender inequality is cause by the gendered division of labour and its exploitation by capitalism
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