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Chapter 4 Gender Inequality. What is Gender?. Gender: the meaning a society attaches to being male or female Sex: the biological distinction between females and males. Gender Stratification and Patriarchy. Gender is an important dimension of social inequality.

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Chapter 4 Gender Inequality

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what is gender
What is Gender?
  • Gender: the meaning a society attaches to being male or female
  • Sex: the biological distinction between females and males
gender stratification and patriarchy
Gender Stratification and Patriarchy
  • Gender is an important dimension of social inequality.
    • Gender stratification frequently takes the form of patriarchy (social patterns by which males dominate females)
    • Patriarchy is widely evident in the U.S. and around the world
    • Sociologists see patriarchy - and the entire range of gender - as the creation of society itself
gender stratification and patriarchy4
Gender Stratification and Patriarchy
  • Gender stereotypes rigidly divide humanity by constructing femininity and masculinity in opposing terms.
  • Critics conclude that gender stereotypes overlook the fact that people are much more complex than stereotypes allow for.
the problem of sexism
The Problem of Sexism
  • Sexism is the assertion that one sex is innately superior or inferior to the other
  • Sexism supports patriarchy by claiming that men are “better” than women and therefore should dominate them.
gender and the family
Gender and the Family
  • The importance of gender to family life begins with the fact that most expectant parents prefer a son to a daughter.
  • The influence continues in the childhood socialization process.
  • After reaching adulthood, gender makes marriage two distinctive relationships
    • Jesse Bernard’s “his” marriage and “her” marriage
gender and education
Gender and Education
  • Even before starting school, children are exposed to gender bias in children’s books.
  • By 2000, 57.3% of college students were women
    • social pressures still steer women toward majors in English, dance, drama, or gender issues
    • men still are directed toward physics, economics, math, computer science, and engineering
gender and education8
Gender and Education
  • Research indicates that the social aspects of campus life discourages the career aspirations of many women
  • Despite the passage of Title IX in 1972, equality in athletic programs is more the exception than the rule
gender and the mass media
Gender and the Mass Media
  • By 2000, there were more than 200 million televisions in the United States
  • TV directs its advertising toward women but ignores them in TV programming
  • While gender biases in advertising is more subtle than in programming, it’s still very much in evidence
gender and religion
Gender and Religion
  • Religion has traditionally been patriarchal
  • In recent decades, more liberal denominations have moved toward greater gender equality
    • This liberal trend includes revising prayers, hymnals, and even the Bible to reduce sexist language, as well as ordaining both men and women as priests
  • Orthodox Judaism, Islam, and Roman Catholicism have retained traditional male leadership
gender and politics
Gender and Politics
  • Women have played only a marginal role in this nation’s political history
  • Thousands of women now serve at the local levels as mayors and council members
  • In 2001, 59 of 435 members of the House of Representatives and 13 of 100 Senators were women
gender and work
Gender and Work
  • By 2000, 60 percent of the adult labor force that worked full-time were women
    • This increase has been due in part to a reduction in the time spent doing housework and the drop in average number of children born compared to a century ago
gender and work13
Gender and Work
  • Even though more women work for pay, their range of jobs is still limited
  • Gender discrimination was outlawed by the Federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but even today, it continues to be an issue
gender stratification
Gender Stratification
  • Inequality between men and women is reflected in differences in income and in responsibility for housework, as well as in patterns of violence and even reproductive issues
  • Gender income inequality is the result of men holding different kinds of jobs, family life, and gender discrimination
violence against women
Violence Against Women
  • Perhaps the most serious problem linked to patriarchy is men’s physical violence against women
    • Assault, rape, and murder are common
  • Why is violence a gender issue?
    • Physical aggressiveness is a key element of the cultural definition of masculinity.
    • Gender violence is not so much sexual as an expressions of power
  • When it comes to serious violence, the most dangerous setting for women is the home
sexual harassment
Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Harassment:comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature that are deliberate, repeated, and unwelcome
    • Sexual harassment that is blatant and direct is a violation of civil rights
    • Other forms involve more subtle behavior
      • they are still wrong if they create a hostile environment
sexuality beauty and reproduction
Sexuality, Beauty and Reproduction
  • Men define women in sexual terms to gain power over them
  • Social norms encourage females to wear attractive clothes and to be attentive to men
  • Women’s reproduction has been regulated
    • regulation of birth control
    • restricted access to abortion clinics
women a majority minority
Women: A Majority-Minority
  • Numerically, women are a slight majority of the U.S. population
  • Women meet the test of being both a physically distinctive and disadvantaged category
    • women have less income, wealth, and power than men
minority women
Minority Women
  • Minority women are doubly disadvantaged
    • They earn less than white women
    • Minority women earn less than minority men
    • In 2000, African American women earned 64 percent as much as white men and Hispanic women earned 51 percent as much
structural functional analysis gender and complimentarity
Structural-functional analysis: Gender and Complimentarity
  • Functionalists contend that differences between men and women help build families and integrate society as a whole
  • The structural-functional analysis of gender was quite influential twenty-five years ago but is far less today
structural functional analysis gender and complementarity
Structural-functional analysis: Gender and Complementarity
  • Critics contend that:
    • functionalism ignores how men and women can and do relate to one another in a variety of ways that do not fit any norm
    • functionalism fails to take into account the personal strains and social conflicts produced by rigid gender patterns
symbolic interaction analysis gender in everyday life
Symbolic-Interaction Analysis: Gender in Everyday Life
  • The symbolic-interaction paradigm provides a micro-level analysis of gender at work in the everyday lives of individual people
  • Gender directly affects personal behavior, the use of space, and the language we use
  • Critics point out that symbolic-interaction overlooks the fact that gender is a basic part of social organization
social conflict analysis gender and inequality
Social-Conflict Analysis: Gender and Inequality
  • Friedrich Engels expanded Marx’s theory to include gender, arguing that the same process that allows a ruling class to dominate a worker places men in a dominant position over women
    • patriarchy is a system by which wealthy men transmit their wealth to their sons.
    • the double problem of capitalism lies in exploiting men in the factories and exploiting women in the home
social conflict analysis gender and inequality24
Social-Conflict Analysis: Gender and Inequality

Critics of this perspective point out that conflict theorists minimize the extent to which women and men live together cooperatively and in many cases quite happily.

  • Feminism:
    • the study of gender with the goal of changing society to make women and men equal
    • involves both theory and action
feminist foundations
Feminist Foundations
  • There is no one version of feminism but almost all feminists agree on:
    • the importance of gender;
    • the importance of change;
    • the importance of personal choice;
    • the need to eliminate patriarchy;
    • the need to eliminate violence; and
    • the importance of sexual autonomy
types of feminism
Types of Feminism
  • Types of feminists:
    • liberal feminists - want women and men to be treated as individuals but want change to occur within existing social institutions
    • socialist feminists -claim that a Marxist-style class revolution is needed to secure equality for all people
    • radical feminists -argue that patriarchy is built into the concept of gender itself and nothing short of erasing gender will bring about equality
politics and gender constructing problems and defining solutions
Politics and Gender: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions
  • Conservatives focus on the value of families
    • While most conservatives are willing to support women in the workplace and even in positions of national leadership, most also support policies to strengthen families
politics and gender constructing problems and defining solutions29
Politics and Gender: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions
  • Liberals contend that patriarchy is alive and well in the U.S. and is a serious social problem
    • Liberals seek government support for the kinds of families that exist today.
    • They support affirmative action and comparable worth policies
politics and gender constructing problems and defining solutions30
Politics and Gender: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions
  • Radicals argue that, at a minimum, basic change must come to the economic and political system
    • Some radical feminists promote the elimination of gender itself