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Gender Stratification. Males’ and females’ unequal access to power, prestige, and prosperity. Gender is a MASTER STATUS Labels carry images and expectations about how we should act. Guide our behavior and serve a basis of power and privilege.

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Gender Stratification


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    1. Gender Stratification • Males’ and females’ unequal access to power, prestige, and prosperity. • Gender is a MASTER STATUS • Labels carry images and expectations about how we should act. • Guide our behavior and serve a basis of power and privilege. • Sociological significance of gender is that it is a device by which society controls its members • Sorts us into different life experiences – opens and closes doors to power, property, and prestige

    2. Sex and Gender • Sex: biological characteristics that distinguish males and females. • Primary Sex Characteristics: vagina or penis and other organs related to reproduction. • Secondary Sex Characteristics: physical distinctions between males and females not directly connected with reproduction. • Become evident during puberty • Males = muscles, lower voice, body hair, and height • Females = fatty tissue and broader hips, and breasts • Gender: behaviors and attitudes a group considers proper for its males and females • Social, not biological • Inherit your sex, but learn your gender (socialized)

    3. Differences in Behavior • Does biological difference control our behavior? • Does it make females more nurturing and submissive and males more aggressive and domineering? • Our visible differences of sex do not come with meanings built into them • Each human group makes its own interpretations of these physical differences and on this basis assigns males and females to separate groups – people learn what is expected. • If biology were the principal factor, all around the world we would find women to be one sort of person and men another. • Ideas of gender, however, vary greatly from one culture to another and so do male-female behaviors

    4. Biology has some say… • Biological factors are involved in some human behavior other than reproduction and childbearing. • Women are better prepared biologically for “mothering” than are men. • More sensitive to the infant’s soft skin and to their nonverbal communications. • Nature provides biological predispositions, which are then overlaid with culture. • Issue is not biology or society.

    5. Biology versus Culture - Culture • Differences are the result of social factors • Hunting and gathering societies - the roles of both women and men are less rigid than those created by stereotypes – separate but equal status of women at this level of development. • Types of work are created by social arrangements – informal customs and formal laws enforce it (barriers removed = women’s work habits are similar to men’s) • Rising female crime rates – aggression is related to social factors and not biology. • Social factors – socialization, gender discrimination, and other forms of social control – create gender differences in behavior.

    6. Biology versus Culture - Biology • Inborn differences that “give masculine and feminine direction to the emotions and behaviors” • Men dominate because they have a lower threshold for elicitation of dominance behavior… greater tendency to exhibit whatever behavior is necessary to attain dominance in hierarchies and male-female encounters. • Men are more willing “to sacrifice the rewards of other motivations –the desire for affection, health, family life, safety, relaxation, etc. – to attain dominance. • Medical Accident

    7. Different Cultures • Tunisia - Prostitution • China – bride selling • Japan – Beauty/Pain in Advertising • Africa – Female Circumcision

    8. Gender Gap • Boys’ reading achievement consistently lags behind girls’ as students get older. • Fewer boys than girls now study advanced algebra, geometry, and chemistry. • 42% of college students are male. • Boys earn 70% of report card D’s and F’s and are 50% more likely to be retained; 71% of school suspensions; 83% of students labeled ADD or ADHD • 3-5 times more likely to be labeled learning disabled. • Boys outnumber girls in high school sports, but girls greatly outnumber boys in every other extracurricular activity.

    9. Gender Gap continued… • Boys are more likely to express strong dislike for school. • Boys seldom find their work to be “meaningful or important” • Only 66% of male high school seniors say they will “definitely graduate from a 2-4 year college.” • Girls take 54% of AP exams (continuing to grow) • 82% of females say they will “definitely graduate from college”

    10. Differences in the Male/Female Brain • Processing: • Language Processing Areas • Spatial Processing Areas • Sensory System • Chemical: • Testosterone • Estrogen • Serotonin • Dopamine • Oxytocin

    11. Male and Female Hemisphere Dominance • Left Hemisphere dominance is more common in females (logical, analytical, objective). • Right Hemisphere dominance is more common in males (intuitive, thoughtful, subjective). • Although our brains function at times using both hemispheres, schools are traditionally designed to be more left hemisphere friendly. • Structured with time periods and ringing bells, organized around facts and rules, rely primarily on verbal processing, limit access to space and movement, require a lot of multitasking.

    12. Classroom Strategies to Benefit Boys and Girls • Movement • Physically, mentally, and emotionally “clumsy” in gender-specific ways. • When learning is paired with movement, learning is anchored in the body through procedural memory. • Increases motivation • Boys generally need more movement than girls – keeping the brain stimulated and controlling impulsive behavior. • Increases blood flow/neurotransmitters helping boys learn new concepts better, retain them longer, and cause less distraction.

    13. Strategies continued… • Learning Teams of Boys and Girls • Girls tend to do more overall processing during group work than boys – more concerned about seeing that everyone is included/picking a leader. Also taking in more opinions during a task (naturally break into groups of 3 or 4) • Boys find this style boring. • Become more highly engaged in learning when there is an edge of competition to a project (stimulates reward centers of the brain). • Gender-specific groups allow more clear instruction than co-ed groups – avoid the adolescent hormone-charged “mating behaviors.

    14. Strategies continued… • Relevance matters • Students care more about learning when it can be connected to real life and real purposes. • Generally girls are more willing to do things simply to please their teacher. • Central partners in learning = learning improves • Find student interests, motivations, passions, and talents (intrinsic motivations) • Social capital or “getting cool with your friends” is a powerful motivation for adolescents

    15. Do Split-Gender Class Really Work? • Single-gendered is preferred • Find it easier to concentrate • Like learning the best • Have more friends in a single-gender house • Feel more successful • Improved behavior, self-confidence, attitude • Increased desire to succeed, independence in learning • Higher grades

    16. Boys comments • There are not girls to make them like us • There are not distractions • You can’t say things to girls that you can say to boys • Boys understand each other • Raise my hand more • Boys tend to think alike

    17. Girls comments • Can’t get side tracked by boys • If you mess up girls don’t care; boys laugh • Don’t get embarrassed to go to the bathroom • Boys are loud and I can’t concentrate • Girls learn different than boys • Don’t like to talk around boys • Not afraid to be wrong or have a different opinion • We socialize better with teachers

    18. Journal Question • In a page Journal: • Based on what you know about the differences between boys and girls (both in “doing gender” – including the pressures in doing so – and in the education setting), what do you think is the best learning environment – single-sex or co-ed – and why? • Use details from your own experiences, the notes, and our class discussions to help answer this question.