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Feminism and its diversity

Feminism and its diversity

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Feminism and its diversity

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  1. Feminismand its diversity

  2. Sex and Gender • Sex: the biological distinction between male and female • Gender: the social construction of masculinity and femininity • Sex is a rather fixed category • Gender is fluid; it varies with history, culture, location, individual behavior

  3. Patriarchy • Patriarchy: rule by the father. It describes the institutionalization of male power and authority in society and the subordination of women • Feminist critique the private/public divide and the assumptions underlying some of the major categories of political thought • Jean Bethke Elshtain wrote Public Man, Private Women (1981): questions canonical texts and rethinking of classical political concepts from a feminist perspective • The personal is political (2nd Wave of U.S. Feminism)

  4. Sexual Division of Labor • Feminists challenge the sexual division of labor • Sexual division of labor is not natural • Comparable worth: equal pay for equal work Paying women lesser wages than men for the same job was outlawed by the 1963 Equal Pay Act, yet women in the United States earn 76% of what men make (even less for minority women) • “feminization” of the labor: women move into certain job positions and the wages for these position go down; describes emerging gendered labor relations born out of the rise of global capitalism. For instance, manufacturing jobs are now often considered women’s work. • Results of feminization of labor: Gender discrimination, violence, sweatshops, and sexual harassment are some of the adverse effects of the global effects of feminization of labor.

  5. Diverse forms of oppression or Being labeled “The Other” • Women around the world are oppressed but in potentially varied ways • The social cleavage of patriarchy is often accompanied by other significant social divisions, such as class, race, ethnicity, age • These various factors complicate women’s liberation struggle

  6. Mobilization of Bias • Feminists have exposed the “mobilization of bias” which has traditionally operated within political theory (and conventional ideologies) • Generations of male thinkers, unwilling to examine their privileges and power which their sex has enjoyed, have succeeded in keeping the role of women off the political agenda

  7. Belief in Change and its Social Repercussions • Belief that sexual inequality or oppression can and should be abolished • Feminists differ in their assessment of the causes of women’s oppression thus making a unified feminist movement difficult to attain

  8. Voting Rights • In the U.S., women were granted the right to vote in the 19th Amendment in 1920; • U.S. Black women and other minorities were aided by the 1965 Voting Rights Act • Universal suffrage including women: Finland in 1906; Switzerland in 1971; Kuwait: 2005

  9. Marriage • Polygamy was outlawed in the United States in 1862 and officially forbidden by the Mormon Church in 1890, although cases continue to be reported • Legal Polygamy: Kenya, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania and Sudan; the president of Sudan urged polygamy in his country in 2001 to boost the population

  10. Divorce • In the U.S., women hold the right to divorce their husbands, though state laws within the Union vary • The first “no-fault” divorce laws in the U.S. , allowing couples to divorce by mutual consent, were enacted in California in 1969; all states had followed suit by 1985 • 1999: France granted legal rights to people cohabiting to collect insurance and retain property in the event of a separation even without a legal marriage. • Morocco: women gained the right to divorce an adulterous husband in 2000; • Turkey: women gained the right to divorce in 2002

  11. Maternity Leave • Women in the U.S. are allowed up to 12 weeks unpaid medical or maternity leave in a year under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 • Women in France receive 26 weeks paid maternity leave • Germany and Algeria: women receive 14 weeks of paid leave • Women maquila (textile) workers in Guatemala are denied health benefits guaranteed by Guatemalan law and can be fired for becoming pregnant

  12. Domestic Violence • The Violence Against Women Act, authorized by Congress in 1998, provides funds for training authorities about domestic violence against women, shelters for battered women, and counseling • Jordan: men who kill their wives in so-called honor crimes, or because they believe their wives have committed acts that violate social mores (f.ex. Adultery), receive reduced penalties from the state; • Ecuador: outlawed physical and mental assaults against women in 1995

  13. Workplace Rights • 1963 Equal Pay Act • Turkey: women were granted the right to get a job without their husband’s consent only in 2002 • Sweden: men and women are eligible for paid leave from their jobs when they have children

  14. Violence Against Women • Nebraska (1976): introduction of first marital rape law, making it illegal for a husband to rape his wife • All remaining 49 U.S. states have followed suit since • Female genital mutilation, or the practice of removing a women’s clitoris and/or stitching the vulva together to discourage sexual contact or promiscuity is officially forbidden in Somalia, Kenya, Senegal, and Togo • 75% of female genital mutilation takes place in Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and the Sudan (justified as cultural and religious practice) • UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) estimates 130 million women worldwide are still subjected to the practice each year, and few measures are taken to prevent this practice

  15. Dress Codes For Women • Traditional dress codes for women (prohibiting wearing pants to work etc.) have effectively fallen out of fashion, but women were not officially given the right to wear pants to work in California until 1995 • 2001 Supreme Court Decision: upheld a similar 1989 decision making sex-specific dress codes legal in the workplace • Women under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan were required to wear a burqa, or garment that covers them from head to toe with only a mesh opening at the mouth and eyes to see and breathe through, as well as shoes that do not make any noise

  16. Women in State Legislatures • According to a 2006 report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 16% of all parliament members in the world are female. In 1995, the United Nations set a goal of 30%.[5] • The top ten countries are Rwanda with 56.3%, Sweden (47.0%), Cuba (43.2%), Finland (41.5%), the Netherlands (41.3%), Argentina (40.0%), Denmark (38.0%), Angola (37.3%), Costa Rica (36.8%), Spain (36.3%). • Cuba has the highest percentage for countries without a quota. • The US House of Representatives contains 77 women, and the US Senate contains 16. Eight states have female governors.

  17. Liberal Feminism • Cause of discrimination: • denial to extend equal rights and autonomy to women • Societal inhibitions to female opportunities and participation • Socialization and education define sexual inequality; differences , roles, attitudes, expectations, and behavior of sex and gender roles • Vision of change: legal equality; men and women should have equal access to all jobs/profession in society • How? Affirmative Action; ERA, Equal Opportunity Laws and Policies • Created NOW (1966): National Organization for Women

  18. Marxist Feminism • Cause of Oppression: Capitalism • Gender inequality will only disappear when capitalism is replaced with socialism • Once women’s economic dependence on men dissolves, the material basis for women’s subordination will also fade • Women relate differently to the means of production in society than men Capitalism is tied to an inherent sexual division of labor: women produce goods and service in the home that have no exchange value master/slave relations applied to husband/wife Private labor of women is seen as superior to public labor of women women become reserve army of labor (paid less, first fired or laid off)

  19. Marxist Feminism Continued Radical Solution: Abolition of Private Property and capitalism More moderate Marxism: bring women fully into economic production; socialize housework and child care; eliminate male-dominated inheritance system

  20. Socialist Feminism • Cause of oppression: Class and Patriarchy Division of Labor and Sexuality are linked • Focus on how class and gender relations intersect and reinforce each other • Assessment of inequality needs to include a. how are basic needs of food, clothing , and shelter met? b. means of satisfying needs for reproduction, sexuality, nurturance, and babies? c. how does human reproduction affect gender (power relations) in society? Solution: transform basic structural arrangements of society so that categories of class, gender, sexuality, and race no longer act as barriers to equal sharing of resources Construct a new social order based on equality of class, gender, and racial/ethnic categories

  21. Radical Feminism • Cause of female Oppression: Patriarchy and the nature of man (man’s biological need to control and exploit women); male heterosexuality- women’s oppression is most deep and widespread form of human oppression • Subordination and sexual exploitation of women male control of female sexuality; male domination in social institutions perpetuating the devaluation of women Solution: create women-centered and all-women social institutions that are void of power relations