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Women in Canada Final Exam Revieww.docx

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1700
Nadiah Habib

Women in Canada – Final Exam Review ‘The personal is political’ a) What appears personal and private and an individual person‟s circumstances is shown to be shaped by institutional policies and ideologically based values that differ across time and space. This is not just an individual problem but a structural, political, and social problem. Therefore concepts of “the local” and “the global” do not exist apart from one another but rather constitute each other. Traffic between the intimate and the global further attest to “the personal is political.” Global concepts are often masculinized, whereas notions that are perceived on “local” or “intimate” terms are more feminized. Economic and political spheres are constructed as part of the global, seen as masculine in nature and of a greater importance than the local. Domestic and social spheres are confined to the local, seen as feminine in nature and considered of lesser value and importance. b) While capital is mobile, social reproduction is rooted in place. Migrant (domestic) workers have to make their own intimate lives invisible to facilitate the intimate lives of their employer. The domestic workers are still abused by the system even if their employers do not abuse them. They are at the mercy of employers because they can be sent back to their home country and that would eliminate any chance of getting landed immigrant status. It is important that these women say that they do not have dependents. In most cases, women lie to get in to Canada. The problem is that when they eventually apply for status they can be accused of fraudulent claims and sent back to their country. This system is government-sanctioned slavery. Transnational labour regulations also affect the intimate lives of women in the home. They are distanced from their home of origin for lengthy periods of time without the possibility of having their families with them. While working, these women develop a new “home”, where „home‟ has an alienating meaning: their families are not with them; they have no power over their living conditions; the women [workers] are always under surveillance; they are always “at work” when “at home” leaving them vulnerable to overwork and underpay, they are surrounded by strangers and are more susceptible to sexual harassment and abuse. Moreover, reunification with their families after years apart produces fractures in their family relations as they reunite with intimate strangers and the challenges these arrangements produce.  How you are mobile, relationship with your family is political  Battles and struggles with childcare is a systemic problem 1 Feminization of Poverty a) Diana Pierce coined feminization of poverty in 1978 as she saw the struggles of women. It describes how women represent the world‟s poor. It is the result of a deprivation encoded in government law. Women earned pin money and men earned a family wage. For the poor, the choice of staying home is not even an option. They find ways to supplement their income. Men and boys are encouraged to develop certain skills. This is what the dominant ideology states. Women at some time leave the work force to raise children. This break from employment affects their pensions, wages and career experiences. Gender and racialization are deeply implicated in the restructuring process. Women, the poor, and people of colour are deeply affected as a result of the changes in the new global economy. Part-time work, flexible work, work from home, piece work, sub-contracting, work without job security, work on demand, service oriented work, low paid work, no work, plus the burden of unpaid work for which women the world over bear most of the responsibility, and which is more labour intensive the poorer women are. b) 1 in 5 women in Canada live in poverty and they care for children and elderly family members. Women don‟t take vacation for themselves, they save their sick days for their children. If older women are not living with a man, they are a great deal poorer than if they were. Paid work, unpaid work, and low earnings go together for women. Many women cut down on paid work, take unpaid leave, or refuse promotions in order to care for children, elderly family members, or disabled relatives. This has lifelong implications on a woman‟s wages, pension benefits and career experiences. One factor in the wage gap is the presence of children. There is the choice of putting childcare ahead of career and this choice can diminish the woman. Only taking sick days and vacation days for your family can impact your health. Poverty limits choices which increases women‟s vulnerability to abuse. Many women don‟t leave abusive situations because they can‟t afford to do so. Older women, visible minorities, women with disabilities, and single mothers are more likely to live in poverty than men. Most of these women are hurt by the inadequate social assistance meant to help them. 2 Colourism a) Imposition of Western culture – cleanliness is next to Godliness and “cleanliness” is white. Social hierarchy based on gradations of skin within and between racial/ethnic groups. Light skin operates as a form of symbolic capital, as people who have lighter skin are supposedly wealthier because they have not had to work outside. Skin tone is especially critical for women because of the connection between skin tone attractiveness and desirability. The desire for lighter skin stems from the ideology of white supremacy that European colonists brought. Mulattos (half white, half black) were historically afforded better treatment than pure Africans. Mulattos tried to distance themselves from people of colour with darker-skin. b) Skin whitening and hair relaxing products are used a lot in the global south. People strive to emulate the European notions of beauty and these ideas disseminate throughout the world. The media helps perpetuate these ideas about beauty – they don‟t produce the dominant ideology, they just reflect it back to us. People of colour are underrepresented in mainstream TV which makes you believe the world is white, able-bodied, heterosexual. Women within certain ethnic groups start to devalue their skin colour and try to change it. In most cases the desire isn‟t to become white, just become lighter. This can be accomplished by skin lightening or by finding a lighter-skinned marital partner to ensure that children have a lighter complexion. The products used to lighten skin are extremely hazardous to the health of those who use them. 3 Globalization a) Globalization refers to the growing sense of interconnectedness between all parts of the world and the associated feelings of powerlessness and insecurity in the face of the spread and scale of global change. Globalization is a process of increasing speed and intensity and impact of global interactions. It both unites and divides, creating a more unruly and unequal world. Globalization is driven by a combination of: 1. Economic forces (the tendency of capitalism to expand), 2. Technological change (the informatics revolution) 3. Political shifts (away from state intervention toward economic liberalization) and 4. Increasing global awareness among national elites and social movements. There are three different sets of ideas that work to explain globalization and its effects: 1. Neo-liberal approach (globalization as a progressive force for creating in the global market civilization) 2. Radical approach (globalization as a process that works to exclude, to deepen the inequalities between people and reinforce the divisions of the world into core and periphery) 3. Transformationalist approach (globalization as a new process that has changed the configuration of global power). b) The impact of compression of time and space on women. There has been a shift from industrial to informational, which is predominantly a male and privileged enclave. Structural adjustment and liberalization policies increase women‟s impoverishment. Women are less geographically mobile than men yet they‟re still part of the migrant labour force from developing to developed as domestic workers. Traffic in women and children has more global reach. However, mobile women often accrue a taint of reputation [traditional conflicts]. Some women choose to stay rooted making MNC global labour an expression of rootedness, making life more difficult. Those few who are more mobile may have, although limited [unless privileged] more chances to escape that fate [but may meet another] unprotected by tradition and seemingly no longer able to access it both due to the new fragmented locale and/or the dissociation of the family from the women due to their „behaviour.‟ As a result many women [the majority] constrained by globalization. 4 Critical Disabilities Theory a) Places disability at the centre of analysis and challenges the ablest society. Stresses the social model and advances that disability is not as an individual deficit or defect that can be remedied solely through medical intervention or rehabilitation by "experts" and other service providers. But instead explores models and theories that examine social, political, cultural, and economic factors that define disability and help determine personal and collective responses to difference. It also works to de-stigmatize disease, illness, and impairment, including those that cannot be measured or explained by biological science. Finally, while acknowledging that medical research and intervention can be useful, the social model examines the connections between medical practice and stigmatizing disability. CDT's central theme is that disability is a social construct, not the inevitable result of impairment. The social disadvantage experienced by people with disabilities is the result of the failure of the social environment to respond adequately to the diversity presented by disability. b) Barriers for those who are understood to have disabilities (schooling, housing, healthcare, employment, leisure, travel, intimacy, sexuality). Women aren‟t in the habit of having others take care of them. Women are also more likely to have intermittent symptoms and may be thought to exaggerate their unwell being. This makes life even more difficult. Women frequently have their experiences dismissed and their need for assistance denied when they present less visible impairments such as pain and fatigue. Film, The Art of Disability – Heidi shows that if you really believe you can, you will be able to walk. Others would rather die than be disabled. People can‟t imagine a life worth living that isn‟t “normal.” People with disabilities become isolated and cut themselves off from society. Many women with long-term impairments also live with the effects of gender socialization and are expected to adopt and maintain caregiving roles even when these responsibilities clearly have a negative impact on their health. They are underrepresented in the workforce and yet they are often not provided with the level of home care assistance that would enable them to receive an education, job training, or volunteer experience. Women with disabilities are vulnerable to the effects of a society that devalues them while placing care providers under high levels of personal, physical, emotional, and financial stress. High levels of violence, sexual abuse, and neglect exist among disabled women. 5 Compulsory Heterosexuality a) Refers to the ideology and social practice that pushes properly gendered women and men into couples and makes them believe it is a free choice. It is part and parcel with the dominant ideology. Defines a way of thinking that places heterosexuality as normal and natural, but also expected, demanded and anticipated and therefore compulsory. With compulsory heterosexuality there is no range presented, everyone is assumed to be heterosexual unless otherwise specifically stated. This assumes heterosexuality has always been the norm constituting an unchanging sexual system that is universal. b) In our social environment, heterosexuality is produced as normative. Institutions produce and reinforce it. Compulsory heterosexuality makes lesbian existence non-existent or if existing then lesbianism is produced as deviant, aberrant, and hated. It was only when human sexual relations were beginning to be categorized into „types‟ through the work of people like Ellis and von Kraft-Ebing that there began to be types of sexuality along the axis of ideas of „normal‟ and „abnormal.‟ People could begin to give a name to their experience, in a sense make it real, and on the other hand since this experience was typed as abnormal it would be at once named and made deviant. 6 What does it mean to legislate difference? Outline and discuss two examples of how the Canadian state legislated difference? Alberta‟s sterilization – The Sexual Sterilization Act was paged in 1928 and lasted until its repeal in 1972. Women, Aboriginals, teenagers, and young adults were overrepresented in cases sterilized by the Eugenics Board and its affiliated mental health institution. There was also a bias toward poorer members of society, all indicators of a trend toward targeting marginalized groups in society. „Scientific‟ links between feeble- mindedness and social problems were being made by the experts at the same time media reports contributed to the spreading belief that the province was being overrun with defectives. Women in positions of power actively promoted the sterilization of individuals deemed unfit to reproduce, who would threaten the sanctity of marriage and family life and who ultimately had the potential to undo all the hard work and accomplishments of the suffragists, child savers, and other activists (goes back to colonial beliefs). Mental health personnel were twice as likely to suggest that women should be sterilized. In 1937, the Act was amended so that consent
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