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Chapter 7

Chapter 7: gender

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Kimberly Ellis- Hale

Chapter 7- Inequalities of Gender Issues of Sex and Gender  Gender inequality- males and females unequal access to power, property, and prestige on the basis of sex o Cuts across all aspect of life o Social class, age, race expectations attached to whether you are a male or a female  First thing that comes to mind when we think about how males and females differ= BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES  Gender is a social rather than biological characteristic o Varies from one society to another o What a group considers proper for its males and its females Biology or Culture? The Continuing Controversy  Answering questions about gender with, “they were born that way”  Biology is an extremely important part of our lives o Determines whether or not you are going to be a male or a female (number of chromosomes)  Sociological question: Do these biological differences control our behaviors?  Almost ALL sociologists take the side of “nurture” in the “nature versus nurture” debate o Some however believe that our biology determines how we act The Dominant Position in Sociology  Dominant position is represented by symbolic integrationist’s o Stress that the visible differences of sex do not come with meanings built into them o Rather each human group determines what these physical differences mean to its members  Sociologists find the argument that if biology were the principal factor in human behavior we would find women around the world to be one sort of person and men another quite compelling o Ideas of gender vary from culture to culture Opening the Door to Biology  Alice Rossi (a feminist sociologist) said that women are biologically better prepared for “mothering” than men o Contends that women are more sensitive to stimuli o Basic point: the issue is not biology or society but rather nature provides biological predispositions, which are then overlaid with culture  See page 148 for info on a medical accident which supports this Gender Inequality in a Global Perspective  Every society sets up barriers to provide unequal access to property, power, and prestige based on the basis of sex  The barriers ALWAYS favor men as a group o Not a single known society where women are dominant  Females are classified as a minority group o Although women outnumber men the term applies because it refers people who are discriminated against on the basis of physical or cultural characteristics Sex Typing of Work  George Murdock surveyed 324 pre modern societies around the world o Every society has sex typed activities  There are activities that are considered for females and some considered for males  Although he found no work that was UNIVERSALLY assigned to women o Did find though that making clothing, cooking, carrying water, and grinding grain was almost always a females task  From his research we can conclude that nothing about biology requires men and women to be assigned different work Prestige of Work  Universally there is a greater prestige assigned to the work that men do  Not the work that provides the prestige but the gender that is associated with that work  There is a stigma attached to being a female in the workplace must work harder for the same amount of respect Other areas of Global Discrimination Education:  Look at women’s illiteracy rate o 1 billion adults around the world cant read 2/3 =women  In less developed countries girls are much less likely to get any form of an education Politics:  Right for women to vote  Not many women in politics= mainly a male dominated profession  Women lack equal access to national decision making The Pay Gap  Women average less pay than men  In Canada women earn about 70-8- cents for every dollar than a man makes  On a global level women earn 16% less than men do  A man and a woman could have the same job but the man would b=make more because of his gender Violence Against Women  Examples= foot binding in China, genital mutilation, and female infanticide  Why do different cultures do different things to females?  Women are regarded as males properties o Can be raped for doing something incorrect in a relationship or marriage Gender Inequality in Theoretical Perspective The Origins of Patriarchy  Patriarchy= a male dominated society  In early history when life expectancy was shorter women had more children o They were limited to what they could do because they were pregnant for much of their lives  As a consequence males became dominant  Pregnant women would rely on men to do things for them because they physically could not  Women in turn were transformed into second class citizens Evaluating the Theory  Marvin Harris argued that universal physical differences between men and women together with social conditions account for patriarchy o Because men are often stronger and larger it is easier for them to handle more brutal tasks  Frederick Engles argued that patriarchy developed with the origin of private property  Men developed their own inherent superiority based on their dominant position in society Theoretical Perspectives on Gender  Functionalist perspective considers the different roles in family and society typically played by men and women  Perspective DOES NOT place importance on the question of power and inequality but rather derives from biological explanations  This CONTRASTS to the conflict perspective  Explains gender differences based on power differences between men and women o Conflict theorists questions men’s control over women Feminist Perspectives:  Feminism is the fundamental belief in equality between men and women  Feminists argue that gender has been sociall
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