Essentials to Sociology: a Down to Earth Approach Chapter 10 Study Guide

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Each society establishes a structure that, on the basis of sex and gender, permits or limits access to power, property, and prestige; this structure is referred to as gender stratification. Sex refers to biological distinctions between males and females; gender refers to the behaviors and attitudes a society considers to be proper for its males and females. In the “nature versus nurture” debate, almost all sociologists take the side of nurture.

• Male dominance, or patriarchy, appears to be universal. The primary theory about how women became a minority group focuses on the physical limitations imposed by childbirth.
• Although feminist movements in the United States have battled to eliminate some of the most blatant forms of gender discrimination, there are still many areas of inequality. More females than males now attend college, but both generally end up in gender-biased academic fields. There are signs of change, as indicated by the growing number of women in such fields as law and medicine.

• Women continue to face discrimination in health care; for example, they are referred for heart surgery later than men and are given unnecessary surgeries. • Over the course of this century, women have made up an increasing proportion of the work force, although they continue to be paid less than men. Women continue to face sexual harassment in the workplace.

• Women are generally the victims of battering, rape, incest, and murder; female circumcision is a special case of violence against women. According to conflict theory, men use violence against women to maintain their position of power. • In the past, the traditional expectations associated with women’s roles kept them out of politics. Although women are still underrepresented, there is a trend toward greater political equality.

• As women’s decision-making roles continue to expand, a reasonable goal is greater appreciation of differences combined with greater equality of opportunity. • Attitudes, beliefs, and...
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