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Women and girls

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  • 1. Social Problems:Sexism and Gender Inequality
  • 2. Gender Inequality as aSocial Problem Sexism: the subordination of one sex, female, based on the assumed superiority of the other sex, male Patriarchy: a hierarchical system of social organization in which cultural, political, and economic structures are controlled by men Though women comprise 51% of Canadians, they are called a minority group because they don’t have the resources of men. Women  Are victims of sexual assault  Earn 71 percent of what men earn
  • 3. Defining Sex and GenderSex: biological differences between males and females.Gender: the culturally and socially constructed differences between females and males based on meanings, beliefs, and practices that a group associates with femininity or masculinityIntersexed: having unrecognizable genitalia or both male and female genitaliaTransgendered: one’s gender not the same as biological sex
  • 4. Sexism and Gender Inequality Sexism refers to the range of attitudes, beliefs, policies, laws and behaviors that discriminate on the basis of gender Results in a system of gender inequality Power and Male Hegemony Male hegemony refers to the political and ideological domination of woman in society
  • 5. Sexism and Gender Inequality Power and Male Hegemony Males have greater access to:  Cultural prestige  Political authority  Corporate power  Wealth  Material comforts Ideology plays a role in legitimizing male hegemony
  • 6. Biological and Social Bases forGender RolesGender roles: rights, responsibilities, expectations, and relationships of women and men in a societyAt birth, males and females are distinguished by primary sex characteristicsAt puberty, hormonal differences produce secondary sex characteristics
  • 7. Biological and Social Bases forGender RolesTo what extent are differences culturally determined? Gender ideology: ideas of masculinity and femininity that are held to be valid in a particular society and time Gendered division of labour : the process whereby productive tasks are separated on the basis of gender
  • 8. Gender Inequality and SocializationAgents of socialization: Parents and family: treatment, clothes, toys, or chores Peers: pressure for behaviour and aspirations Religion Media and language Education:  Gender bias: favouritism toward one gender, e.g., aggressive boys and dependent girls get attention
  • 9. The Family Traditionally,the role of wife and mother has been a subordinate role in society Increase in working wives and moms and the juggling of work and family See Table 5.1 on Unpaid Housework (p.190) On average, women do 4.3 hours daily while men do 2.8 hours Women also responsible for bulk of senior care
  • 10. Language and the Media Language often reinforces traditional sex role stereotypes :  i.e. Policeman vs. police officer, or calling women “girls” Media portrays men and women in traditional roles  Underrepresent women, and  Reinforce stereotypical ideas about women and physical attractiveness Stereotypes are a source of prejudice and discrimination  Feminine mystique  Masculine mystique Stereotypes place limits on us and on our behaviour
  • 11. Organized Religion Religion has reinforced secular traditions and gender roles in many cultures, including our own Religion has been male dominated In the last few decades some religions have begun to ordain women as ministers  Episcopalians  Presbyterians  Reformed Jews
  • 12. Sexism in Schools Today, there is more focus in schools on  Female achievement  Girl’s sports  More involvement in school politics Gender gap in higher education and in certain disciplines is narrowing but still persists today However, research show sexism still a significant factor in schools
  • 13. Sexism in Schools (cont.) Research results on sexism in schools shows that generally,  Teachers pay less attention to girls than boys  Girls lag behind in math and science scores  Girls tend not to choose careers in math and science  Textbooks and gender stereotypes still persist  Biased tests  Minority girls tend to be ignored School counselors still channeling girls into sex typed occupations
  • 14. However… “The Gender Gap” (2004) text p. 197 Montreal study on gender differences in achievement in school  Boys falling behind especially in language skills  More likely to drop out or not continue  Have more behavioural, learning and social problems in school Study notes that girls see educational achievement as key to better life, whereas boys rely on traditional masculinity to get ahead
  • 15. Contemporary Gender InequalityGender inequality is maintained by: Individual sexism: anti-female prejudice by individuals Institutionalized sexism:discrimination engaged in at the organizational level Also, when inequality, prejudice and discrimination exist, the imbalance in power leads to sexual harassment
  • 16. Gender Inequality andSexual HarassmentSexual harassment: unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature  Occurs at work and school Sexual harassment is also a growing problem in schools  The results of a recent U.S. survey found that 83 percent of girls and 79 percent of boys have been harassed  Both boys and girls are limited by sexual harassment and stereotypical notions
  • 17. Gender Inequality and WorkGendered division of paid work : women have high labour force participation, but are concentrated in different occupations.  Pink-collar ghetto: jobs held by women that are low-paying and semi-skilled.  Contingent work: part-time work, temporary work, and subcontracted work that offers advantages to employers, but detrimental to workers.  Years of work experience – women are more likely to have interruption in their work histories  Hiring and promotion practices  For minority women, there is even a larger wage gap
  • 18. Gender Inequality and Work Wage gap: disparity between women’s and men’s earnings  Pay equity: equal pay for work of equal or comparable (worth of the job) worth Sexual harassment: unwelcome sexual attention at work
  • 19. 2004 Census Approximately 58% of women worked full time vs. 68% of men in Canada 83% of 2 parent families have 2 income earners Women made up 46.8% of workforce 72.5% of women with children under 16 in the home work
  • 20. 2004 Census Average income  women $36,500  men $51,700 In 2004 women made 70.5 cent for every $1 men earned 3.4% of “clout” positions (CEO’s, presidents, etc.) of Fortune 500 companies held by women At age 40, 90% of working men vs. 35% of working women had at least one child Women still concentrated in teaching, nursing, service and clerical jobs (67% of employed women)
  • 21. Gender Inequality and Work“Glass Ceiling” and “Glass Escalator”: Glass Ceiling: invisible barrier constructed by male management to prevent women from reaching top positions. Women do advance in the service sector Glass Escalator: upward movement of men in women’s occupations disproportionate to their numbers
  • 22. Gender Inequality and Unpaid Work Double shift: women are wage earners and also do most of unpaid household work, now recorded in the census  90% of Canadians do unpaid work, but the majority, especially child care, is done by women
  • 23. Gender Inequality and UnpaidWork However, roles in homemaking have been changing Women still continue to bear the primary responsibility for homemaking Husbands and fathers with working wives that support non-traditional roles are taking on a larger share of homemaking responsibilities
  • 24. Perspectives: SymbolicInteractionist Focus on socialization and labelling Also note existence of double standard Language is extremely important in defining social realities Linguistic sexism: communication that ignores, devalues, or makes sex objects of women. Genderlects : men’s and women’s styles and contents of language differ. Non-verbal communication : men control more space, than women, including sexual harassment
  • 25. Perspectives: FunctionalistEarly thinking (Parsons, Kingsley-Davis): Men are more suited to instrumental (i.e., goal- oriented) tasks Women perform expressive tasks This was functional for societyMore recently: Differences in human capital of men and women (capital diminishes with time off for child-bearing and childcare)
  • 26. PerspectivesConflictSocial life is a continuous struggle in which the powerful seek to control economic and social resources Gender inequality results from capitalism and private ownership of the means of production  A result of structural and historical relations  Beneficial to capitalists to have unpaid female workforce
  • 27. Perspectives: Feminist  Socialist: men gain control over property and women  Radical: men’s oppression of women is deliberately supported by media and religion  Liberal: inequality is rooted in gender-role socialization  Black, Indigenous, and other women of colour face inequalities compounded by racialization, class, and gender
  • 28. Can Gender Inequality be Reduced?Symbolic Interactionist Perspective: Redefine social realities with languageFunctionalist Perspective: Redefine gender roles Educate women about how their decisions affect human capital Enforce existing anti-discrimination legislation and use the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms
  • 29. Can Gender Inequality be Reduced?Conflict Perspective: Marxist: abolish capitalismFeminist: Socialist Feminists: abolish capitalism and create a new economy Liberal Feminists: change gender socialization Radical Feminists: abolish patriarchy Black and other feminists: treat all women more equitably