Chapter 10 Inequalities of Gender
Gender Inequality • Gender Stratification – refers to men’s and women’s unequal access to power, property, and prestige • Gender = master status • Label that guides our behavior and serves as a basis of power and privilege.
Gender • Sex – biological distinctions between male and female. • Includes primary and secondary sex organs • Gender – the expectations and behaviors which varies from one society to another and refers to what is considered proper for males and females; acquired through socialization. • Gender identity – an awareness of being masculine or feminine, based on culture.
Gender • Gender roles – culturally-based expectations associated with each sex. • Represent an ideal since people do not always behave as expected. • Sex stereotypes encourage men to be masculine and women to be feminine.
Biological Evidence • Biological determinism – attribution of behavioral differences to inherited physical characteristics. • Obvious differences between sexes include muscle and bone structure and fatty tissue composition. • Dominant Position in Sociology • Social Factors Primary, Not Biological • If Biological, Should Be Less Variation
Functionalist Perspective on Gender • Division of responsibilities between males and females survived because it was beneficial for human living. • Early humans found sex-based division of labor efficient and enduredbecause it promoted the survival of the species. • The traditional division of labor has dysfunctions, especially for modern society.
Conflict Perspective on Gender • Men and women have differential access to the necessary resources outside-the-home success. • By keeping the traditional division of labor intact, men can maintain the status quo and preserve the privileges they enjoy;protect their dominance of women and society. • Marxist and socialist feminists – position of women in capitalist society: • patriarchal (male-dominated) institutions and • the historical development of industrial capitalism.
Symbolic Interactionism Perspective on Gender • Gender definitions are imparted through socialization. • They are learned and reinforced through interaction with parents, teachers, peers, and the media. • Gender socialization occurs through elements of the mass media such as books, television, and advertising.
Parents Contribution to Gender Socialization • Parents begin socializing children at birth. • Transfer values and attitudes regarding the ways boys and girls should behave. • As parents respond to their children’s behavior, they usually intentionally as well as unconsciously continue to transfer their gender-related values. • Children are evaluated according to their level of conformity to gender definition.
Schools Contribution to Gender Socialization • Teachers encourage different behaviors from girls and boys. • Girls are systematically taught passivity, a dislike of math and science, and a deference to the alleged superior abilities of boys. • Teachers are more likely to call on boys and accept answers given by boys who call out answers.
Peer Contribution to Gender Socialization • Children who imitate the opposite sex meet considerable opposition. • Adolescence is the time when an individual is establishing an identity, and identity is closely linked with definitions of masculinity and femininity.
Media Contribution to Gender Socialization • In general, the media present the most stereotypical version of gender definitions, thus reflecting and reinforcing the limits on the options available to both sexes. • Nowhere in the mass media are gender role stereotypes more prevalent than in advertising.
Women as a Minority Group • Gender is the primary division between people. • Women suffer the effects of sexism: a set of beliefs, norms, and values used to justify sexual inequality. • Sexist ideology – the belief that men are naturally superior to women. • Is sexism disappearing? • Yes and No
Gender Inequality in the US • Until the 20th century, US women did not have the right to vote, hold property, make legal contracts, or serve on a jury • While women enjoy more rights today, gender inequality still continues to play a central role in social life. • Gaps continue to be reflected in the continuing occupational, economic, legal, and political inequality experienced by American women.
Gender Inequality in the US • Evidence of educational gains made by women. • More females than males enrolled in college. • Females earn 56% of all bachelor degrees • Women complete bachelor degrees faster than men • Proportion of professional degrees earned by women has increased sharply.
Gender Inequality • Despite gains some old practices persist • Women’s sports are still underfunded • Gender tracking – channeled into different fields • 81% of engineering degrees – males • 88% of library science degrees – women • Higher education • Women professors less likely to be in the higher ranks of academia • Paid less than their male counterparts • Less likely to be taken seriously
Gender Inequality in the Workplace • The Pay Gap • Women earn about 80 cents to the dollar of what men are paid. • All industrialized nations have a pay gap. • Research found that half of the gender gap is due to women choosing lower-paying careers. • The other half is due to gender discrimination and the “child-penalty” –women missing out on work experience while they care of their children.
Gender Inequality • Women of all races and ethnic groups earn less than men • African American and Latino women have a significantly lower wage gap with their male counterparts than white and Asian women experience
Changing Face of Politics • Women majority in population yet women are underrepresented in government • About ¼ of state legislators are women. • Women occupy about 17% of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, yet comprise about ½ of the population. • Women Underrepresented in Law and Business Careers • Patterns are changing – more women going into law and business.
Political Gender Equity • The right to vote is now granted to practically all people in the world. • Female representation in national parliaments slowly increased, from 11 percent in 1995 to 19 percent in 2010. • On average across the globe, women hold only 17 percent of cabinet positions, up from 8 percent a decade ago.
Changing Gender Roles in the US • Although men may not be aware that their suppression of women is to their own advantage they can see little reason to change the way things have always been. 2. Even if men were willing to relinquish their dominant position, it would be costly to them to do so. 3. Some women resist giving up some advantages they see for themselves in the traditional gender role arrangement. 4. An ideology still exists that supports members of both sexes who wish to maintain their traditional gender roles.
The Feminist Movement • The women’s movement is a social movement aimed at the achievement of sexual equality—socially, legally, politically, and economically
Gender Roles in the Future • Women are living longer, bearing fewer children, becoming better educated, and entering the labor force in greater numbers than at any other time in history. • If these trends continue, certain gender role changes should occur. • Barriers Coming Down • Activities Degendered • New Consciousness
Questions for Consideration • What are factors that promote change in gender roles, gender inequality, etc.? • What is your reaction to the identified definition of feminism as “a social movement aimed at the achievement of sexual equality”? Based on this definition, would you classify yourself as a feminist or non-feminist?
Gender Inequality • More progress toward gender equality has occurred in developed countries than in developing countries, and gender parity remains a future goal around the world, despite some progress over the last two decades.