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WOMEN: THE OPPRESSED MAJORITY. CHAPTER 15. Women and Minority Status. Subordinate status means confinement to subordinate roles not justified by a person’s abilities Biological differences between males and females Must separate differences of gender from those produced by sexism

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women and minority status
Women and Minority Status
  • Subordinate status means confinement to subordinate roles not justified by a person’s abilities
  • Biological differences between males and females
  • Must separate differences of gender from those produced by sexism
  • Feminist movement has a long history
  • Child care and housework still disproportionately responsibilities of women
Men and women find it difficult to conceptualize women as a subordinate group
    • Not all women live in ghettos
    • No longer attend inferior schools
    • Freely interact and live with their allege oppressors – men
Five properties of a subordinate or minority group
    • 1. Women experience unequal treatment
    • 2. Women have physical and cultural characteristics that distinguish them from the dominant group – men
    • 3. Membership in the subordinate group is involuntary
    • 4. Women are aware of their subordinate status and have a sense of solidarity
    • 5. Women are not forced to marry, yet many feel subordinate status defined within marriage
    • The ideology that one sex is superior to the other
  • Androgyny
    • The view that there are few differences between the sexes
      • Permits people to see that humans can be both aggressive and expressive depending on the situation
gender roles
Gender Roles
  • Gender Roles
    • Society’s expectations of the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females
  • Socialization has powerful impact on development of females and males in US
  • Origin of gender roles are not clear
    • Animal studies and gender
    • Cross-cultural studies and gender
  • Acceptable behavior for men and women change over time in a society
sociological perspective
Sociological Perspective
  • Sociologist Estelle Disch (1997)
    • Gender differences maintained in our culture through systematic socialization
  • Gender differentiation in US culture embedded in social institutions
    • Family, education, religion, politics, economy, medicine, and mass media
  • Functionalist
    • Sex differentiation contributes to overall social stability
    • Persuasive in explaining the way men and women are brought up is US society
Conflict Theory
    • Relationship between females and males is one of unequal power with men being dominant over women
  • Functionalists and conflict theorists
    • Acknowledge it is not possible to change gender roles drastically without dramatic revisions in a culture’s social structure
      • Functionalists see potential social disorder or unknown social consequences
      • Conflict theorists contend no social structure is desirable if maintained through oppression
the feminist movement
The Feminist Movement
  • Women activists and sympathetic men who spoke of equal rights were ridiculed and scorned
  • Emerged during the early part of the nineteenth century
  • Evolved out of the oppression of women and children within the colonial family and society
  • Role of women in the abolitionist movement and its influence on the development of the women’s movement
The Suffrage Movement
    • Suffragists
      • Worked for years to get women the right to vote
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Seneca Falls women’s rights convention of 1848
  • Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1919)
    • Remarkable achievement because it had to rely on male legislators to do so
  • Movement faded and regained prominence in the 1960’s
the women s liberation movement
The Women’s Liberation Movement
  • Role of the civil rights movement and the re-emergence of feminism
  • Several events delayed progress in 1960’s
    • Civil rights movement and the antiwar movement slow to embrace women’s rights
    • New Left as sexist as the rest of society in practice despite talk of equality
    • Protest groups rejected women leaders
  • Eventually civil rights movement, New Left, and established women groups endorsed feminist movement
Feminist movement underwent significant change
  • Betty Friedan
    • Founder of National Organization for Women (NOW)
    • Feminine Mystique
      • Recognizing that society saw women only as their children’s mother and their husband’s wife
    • Called for restructuring the “institution of home and wife”
  • Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild
    • Women’s movement stalled revolution in which women have more opportunities in the workplace but are forced to do everything
the economic picture
The Economic Picture
  • Occupational segregation of women
  • Women are concentrated in low paying occupations
  • Increase in female labor force participation over the last century
  • Sexism in employment
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics segregation index
    • 54% of women and men workers would need to switch jobs to create a labor force without segregation
occupational segregation and discrimination
Occupational Segregation and Discrimination
  • Occupational segregation by gender continues, but women have increased participation in labor force
  • Women earnings have increased significantly over the last quarter century
    • From 62 cents to 80 cents for every dollar earned by men
    • Show little further narrowing through 2012
Sources of discrimination
  • Primary cause is segregating influences in the labor market
  • The social and occupational roles of men and women have become segregated
    • Ideologically
    • Physically
    • Socially
  • Ideological devaluation of the occupational roles of women
Efforts to eliminate discrimination as it applies to women
    • 1964 Civil Rights Act
      • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
        • Address cases of sex discrimination
    • Pay Equity (Comparable worth)
      • Calls for equal pay for different types of work that are judged to be comparable by measuring:
        • Knowledge
        • Skills
        • Effort
        • Responsibility
        • Working conditions
  • Primary goal of feminists-eliminate sex discrimination in labor force and equalize job opportunities
Glass Ceiling
    • Refers to the invisible barrier blocking the promotion of a qualified worker because of gender or minority membership
  • Despite debate over affirmative action, consensus is that there is little room at the top for women and minorities
  • Mommy Track
    • An unofficial career track that firms use for women who want to divide their attention between work and family
      • Can’t be applied to all women
      • Implies that men are not interested in maintaining balance between work and family
sexual harassment
Sexual Harassment
  • Recognized as any unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances that interfere with a person’s ability to perform a job and enjoy the benefits of a job
  • Sociocultural theory of sexual harassment
    • Rooted within patriarchy and male dominance
  • Takes place where the hierarchy of authority finds White men at the top and in which women’s work is valued less than men’s
    • African American women 3 times more likely than White women to experience sexual harassment
Power theory of sexual harassment
    • Rooted within the distribution of power within organizations
    • Function of the difference in power relations
  • Conflict Perspective
    • Women, especially women of color, are most likely to be victims of sexual harassment
    • These groups typically are an organization’s most vulnerable employees in terms of job security
feminization of poverty
Feminization of Poverty
  • Poverty and women
  • Increase in the number of female headed households
  • Increase in divorce
  • Displaced Homemaker
    • Defined as women whose primary occupation had been homemaking but who did not find full time employment after divorce, separation, or widowhood
  • Declining alimony and the lack of child support
  • Lack of family friendly Federal policies
  • Sex-segregated classrooms (structure and tracking by gender)
  • Discrimination in admissions and financial aid by sex
  • Increase in the number female faculty on campuses
  • Equal access to educational resources
Education Act of 1972 and Department of Health, Education, and Welfare guidelines of 1974 and 1975
    • Collectively called Title IX provisions
      • Regulations designed to eliminate sexist practices from almost all school systems
    • Schools must make changes or lose federal assistance
      • Eliminate all sex-segregated classes and extracurricular activities
      • Cannot discriminate by sex in admissions or financial aid; cannot inquire if applicant is married, pregnant, or parent
      • Schools must end sexist hiring and promotion practices among faculty members
      • Although women do not have to be admitted to play on all-men’s athletic teams, schools must provide more opportunities for women’s sports, intramural and extramural
family life
Family Life
  • US society equates work with wages
    • Women who do household chores and volunteer work are given little status
  • Sociologist Susan Walzer (1996)
    • Mothers are much more involved than fathers in the invisible mental labor associated with taking care of a baby
  • Media attention (21st century)
    • Focused on high profile women who choose not to climb the last steps of corporate ladder
    • “opting out” led to generalization on all women
Seventy-two percent of care givers are women
  • Psychologist Mary Clare Lennon and Sociologist Sarah Rosenfield (1994)
    • 67% men suggested uneven distribution of housework fair to both spouses
    • Married women with fewest alternatives and financial prospects most likely to accept unequal household arrangements
    • Women who view unequal housework as unjust experience more depression
Sociologist Arlie Hochschild
    • Second Shift
      • Describes the double burden – work outside the home followed by child care and housework that many women face and few men share equitably
      • Issue increasingly important as more mothers work outside the home
    • Mommy Tax
      • Economic cost of “second shift”
        • Lower salaries women receive over their lifetime because they have children
        • Lose job experience
        • Trade off higher wages for following mommy track
        • Discriminated against by employers
  • Controversial subject affecting family life in US
  • Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973)
    • Applauded by pro-choice groups and condemned by pro-life
  • Social class issues and abortion
  • Abortion issue centers on the distribution of power and the (control) over the roles and rights of men and women in society
In terms of social class, right to terminate pregnancy affected poor people
    • 1976 Hyde Amendment
      • Banned use of Medicaid and other federal funds for abortion
    • Another obstacle – access to abortion providers
      • Fewer hospitals allowing doctors to perform abortions except in extreme cases
political activity
Political Activity
  • Women constitute 53% of the voting population
  • Under-represented in National political offices
  • More representation on Local and State level
  • Lack of representatives is a function of a number of factors.
    • 1. Fewer women in business and law– the grooming ground for a political career.
    • 2. Fewer women in political organizations and decision making.
    • 3. Some women may feel that a political career may interfere with family responsibilities.
matrix of domination minority women
Matrix of Domination: Minority Women
  • African American Feminist Patricia Hill Collins (1990)
  • Matrix of Domination
    • Whites dominate non-Whites; men dominate women; and the affluent dominate the poor
  • Gender, race, and social class not only systems of oppression
    • Profoundly affect women and people of color in US
  • Double Jeopardy: Minority Women
    • Subordinate status twice
How is women’s subordinate position different from that of oppressed racial and ethnic groups? How is it similar?
Explain the “Double-Jeopardy” status of minority women in America. How is this explained by the Matrix of Domination?