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Chapter 9: Gender Inequality
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Chapter 9: Gender Inequality

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  1. Chapter 9: Gender Inequality

  2. Gender Inequality

  3. Overarching questions • Is gender biological, social, or both? • Why is power invested in the male category? • What does gender inequality look like and why? • Why is gendered violence so commonplace?

  4. “Gender warrior” 4

  5. Sex and gender • As sociologists we begin by separating sex and gender: • Sex is a biological category. • Gender is a social category. 5

  6. Biological differentiation • Chromosomes • XX and XY • XXY or XYY can occur in rare cases • Hormones • Estrogen and testosterone • The question: How important is biology in explaining behavioral differences? 6

  7. Socialization and environment • Gender roles are learned via socialization, both early on and throughout life. • Gender socialization now begins prior to birth. • Varying social environments produce different versions of “man” and “woman.” • Gender is socially constructed. 7

  8. Language and gender socialization • The language we use is not gender neutral; it is part of everyday life. • Much language glorifies the male category and demeans the female.

  9. Gendered language • Janet Shibley Hyde notes patterns in gendered language: • Male as normative/female as exception • Parallel words • Infantilization of women • Allowing language to devalue women and girls is part of socialization and contributes to inequality. 9

  10. Doing gender • Gender is more than simply a learned role, though that role is important. • Gender is something to be done—accomplished—each day.

  11. Gender in time and space • Gender has not always looked the same: • Consider changes in gender roles over the past 50–100 years here in the United States. • Gender does not look the same across cultures: • Mead’s research in New Guinea (1930s) showed significant variation between tribes and with outside cultures.

  12. Gender in time and space • Gender is not always confined to male and female. • Example: the Zuni berdache • Example: the Afghan bacha posh 12

  13. Gender systems • Patriarchy refers to the gender system in societies where men are dominant. • Nearly all societies are patriarchal, though the degree varies greatly. • Gender inequality refers to the difference in power, status, access, and choices between men and women. 13

  14. Figure 9.1 Women’s Participation in the Labor Force in the United States

  15. Inequality at work • Jobs gender-typed female are valued less and pay less. • The gender gap in earnings has narrowed but remains in place. • FT employees: 62%  82.1% (1970–2009) • Hourly: 64%  79% (1970–2008) • All employees: 46%  61% (1970–2008)

  16. Figure 9.3 The Gender Pay Gap

  17. Inequality at work • Policies like comparable worth aim to remedy the pay gap, but they have drawbacks. • Informal structures such as the glass ceiling and glass escalator reproduce gender inequality by favoring male employees. • Sexual harassment also continues to be a way for men to dominate women in the workplace. 17

  18. Gender, family, and work • The perception remains that work comes second to child-rearing for women. • Research shows that mothers are 44% less likely to be hired than non-mothers, regardless of equivalent qualifications and experience (Correll 2007). • Mothers also earn less money than non-mothers.

  19. Gender and family • The ongoing difficulty of balancing work and family rests largely on women. • Managers see women as more tied to family than work. • This affects women’s ability to get responsible positions. • Women also continue to do significantly more housework than their spouses.

  20. Gender and education • Differential treatment in schools perpetuates traditional gender socialization. • More attention—positive and negative—is paid to boys. • But something is changing: Today girls outperform boys on many measures.

  21. Gender and politics • In the United States, men outnumber women at all levels of political office, but especially at the state and national levels. • Local offices are far more likely to be held by women. • The U.S. in 2011: • 17 women senators (of 100); 77 women representatives (of 435) • 6 governors • 3 Supreme Court justices 21

  22. Gender and politics: globally • Globally, some thirty-eight countries have had female heads of state, but currently there are only 20. • In 2009 women made up only 19.3% of national parliaments (legislatures).

  23. Gender Inequality Around the World Source: UNDP 2011a.

  24. Gender Inequality Around the World Ten Countries Ranked by the Gender Inequality Index % of female population 25+ with at least a secondary education % of labor force participation rate % of seats in parliament Year women could vote Ratio of estimated female to male earned income SOURCE: UNDP 2011a.

  25. Violence against women • Violence against women is institutionalized in varying ways around the world. • Dowry disputes in India • Sharia law in Islamic countries • Foot-binding in China • Genital mutilation in many countries • Forced prostitution (sex trafficking) • Culture of misogyny 25

  26. Rape • Nearly one-quarter of women say they have been forced into a sexual encounter, but only 3 percent of men acknowledge coercive sex. • College campuses are a prime location for sexual violence and attempted sexual violence. • Rape • Coercion • Stalking 26

  27. Explaining gender inequality • Functionalism • Feminist theories • Liberal feminism • Radical feminism • Black feminism 27

  28. Functionalist theory • Sees gender differences as good for societal harmony • Problems: • Assumes gender roles are universal and static • Puts the broad harmony over problems caused by gender inequity 28

  29. Feminist theories • An activist approach that sees inequality as a systemic wrong that must be challenged • Today feminist theory is used to explain inequality in many social institutions and concerns aside from those explicitly dealing with gender. • Many versions of feminist theory; they do not necessarily agree with each other 29

  30. Chapter 9: Gender Inequality

  31. Clicker Questions 1. Your friend Meghan overhears you talking about the difference between sex and gender with your classmate Roger. Confused, Meghan chimes in: “Wait a minute! I thought sex and gender were the same thing!” You explain that a. sex refers to the physical differences in the body, whereas gender concerns the psychological, social, and cultural differences between males and females. b. sex is what couples do to conceive, whereas gender is an attribute of their baby. c. a culture’s understanding of gender determines what types of physical intimacy constitute sex. d. sex concerns the psychological, social, and cultural differences between males and females, whereas gender refers to the physical differences in the body. 31

  32. Clicker Questions 2. What is the definition of the term “patriarchy”? a. the practice of passing down property through male lineage b. societies in which male religious leaders control the government c. societies in which women are legally recognized as property of their fathers or their husbands d. male dominance over women in a society 32

  33. Clicker Questions 3. From 1970 to 2009, the gender gap in earnings (women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s) has a. remained the same. b. narrowed. c. widened. d. narrowed until 1990 and then remained the same.

  34. Clicker Questions 4. According to sociologists, why are women so often the target of sexual violence? a. Men are socialized to regard women as sexual objects and are socialized into a sense of sexual entitlement. b. Women are physically weaker than men and are unable to resist male advances. c. In an era of rapidly changing gender roles, males are often confused by the signals that women send them regarding their willingness to have sex. d. Men are unable to regulate their behavior when experiencing aroused sexual passion.

  35. Clicker Questions 5. What does it mean for men and women to “do gender”? a. to present ourselves as “male” or “female” through our choice of behaviors and appearance. b. the institutionalized domination of men over women c. to designate occupations as male or female d. the process by which children learn about traditional conceptions of gender roles.

  36. Clicker Questions 6. What is gender typing in occupations? a. It refers to the process of designating occupations as “male” or “female” jobs. b. It is the inequality between men and women in terms of wealth, income, and status. c. It is a promotion barrier that prevents a woman’s upward mobility within an organization. d. It refers to traditional conceptions of gender roles: men should be out at work providing for their families, and women should be at home looking after the children.