Chapter summary # 1
What is gender? Gender is the personal traits and life chances that a society links to being female or male. But gender is more than that it something that in most parts of the world defines you before you can even define yourself. Gender is sometimes confused with sex, but sex is just a biological thing while gender is something that society defines and only humans posses. There is something called gender stratification that is the unequal distribution of wealth, power and privilege between men and women. This something that relates to and everyday basis and seen everywhere. The most common thing is discrimination and prejudice. Most of the time this kind of behavior is against women because this is has been always dominated by men and despite a great change over the course of time were women have fought to obtain the same right as men is still very related to machismo. Most of this discrimination is not much different from race or ethnicity discrimination and mainly concerning many stereotypes people believe, like women belong doing housework only and raise the children while man has to go to work to bring the sustenance of the family.
The most common type of discrimination is sexism. Sexism is the belief that one sex superior than other. It is most commonly known to exist sexism toward women being males considered the superior sex. This shown all world because in most workplaces men have most of the important jobs at the companies, in religion men posses most of the roles with power or authority and in politics, most of the positions elected are men.
Some examples of places where gender inequalities apply are families: most commonly sometime back and still in poor countries families favor the man over the women because he could go to work and create money while for women you to find her a husband and was a burden, make abortion a female child more common than males.
In education: there are some stereotypes that push women away from certain major that are considered just to be suited for men example engineering. Another problem in schools is in sports were they trying not being bias, but they use most of there funding in male sports rather than women.
Another broad area is mass media: what happens here is that mostly women have being used as supporting roles in movies and television, while at the time of selling products they give men stuff or luxuries such as sport cars or tools while women are stuck with cleaning products and house stuff.
One of the most common is politics: politics since history can date has always favor men. Most of the important rulers from everywhere were men and women were subject to role with less powers, now a days women only hold 20% of the seats in the world´s parliament, not just until 1920 women were barred from voting in the United States. While religion should one of thing should not hold bias it very realistic to say that is very favorite of men. Most religions only permit men to be leaders and many if not all of the writings in religion give women the idea to submit to men.
The military has being always consider something for men and has only give a place for women in extreme cases like world war II, but now a days women are allowed in the army and even represent a 14% in the U.S armed forces, but despite the progress in this field some assignments are not allowed for women because they are simply not strong enough as men..
And finally work has being one of the most protested by women, because they have always felt as capable as men to do any kind of job, but the things most people still believe some works are for women and some for men. And despite discrimination in the workplace is illegal is one of the easiest places to find this kind of discrimination.
As mentioned earlier gender stratification is a concern and one the most regular thing for gender inequality is income. Just as discuss earlier the work place is were most the gender discrimination occurs. A perfect example is that women in the United States working a full time job earn 77% as much as men. This is a pretty huge gap for working people doing the same; just one side is being rewarded more because of their gender. Most employers also are worried while hiring women, because of how work laws protect women who get pregnant, and that is a very big issue that give and edge to men to succeed in there area of expertise. This is why there is a believe that women opportunities are ruled by term known as glass ceiling that states that there is a subtle discrimination that effectively block the movement of women into the highest positions in organizations.
The most common thoughts for people who have gender discrimination is that women should be attending their house and serving their husband, and despite being more and more active in a work place women still are the ones that have to take place of the housework.
Despite this discrimination one of the most serious problems throughout the entire world is the fact that violence against women is something that occurs everyday. Just in the United States there are 1.5 millions reports of nonsexual assaults and 169,000 reports of sexual assault against women every year, that is only the women that get the chance to put the report; just imagine the amount of women that don’t get the chance of putting or submitting a report because they are afraid and fear for their lives.
Another big issue around the workplace is sexual harassment. This is defined as unwanted comments, gestures, or physical contact if a sexual nature. It is now being considered as a social problem, because about 50% of women in the work place claim they have received unwanted sexual attention. Most of this thing are associated with the fact that our ideas about sexuality and beauty have consequences for giving men power over women. We can go on in this topic only, but the fact is this mentality men get it from everywhere, an example is advertisement that devalues women as objects and uses their beauty to sell products. Now since the creation of birth control and the availability for this kind of products for women, they were available to take a step forward being more present in a work environment without any distractions.
Some theories of gender inequality are: Structural – Functional Theory. This theory states that people view gender in terms of complementary roles linking men and women, building families, and integrating society as a whole. What it says is in traditional societies, women bear children and are primarily responsible for the household; men link the family to the larger world by their participation in the workforce. This is what most people in society believe despite living in a modern era, but with a greater control over reproduction societies have being able to control this and imply they have less gender specialization.
Another theory is the Symbolic – Interaction Theory. This theory highlights how gender influences people´s actions in everyday situations. For example it says that gender involves social power and says that society gives more freedom for men in their personal behavior than women, and says one fact is how we see the use of language and how it reflects male dominance.
The Social – Conflict theory sees gender as a dimension of social inequality, with men having greater wealth, power and privileges than women. One idea proposed by Friedrich Engle linked gender stratification to men´s desire to pass on property to their offspring. And it also says that while capitalism grew the men had work longer hours leaving the housework to none other that the women. Intersection theory analysis of how race, class and gender interact often creates multiple disadvantages for some category of people.
Feminism is an important social conflict theory in sociology that views all the world around them as to what is like to women and how should it be. There is more than one version of feminism, but almost all feminists agree on the following six general points. The importance of gender. The importance of equality. The importance of choice. The importance of sexual freedom. Activism against patriarchy. Activism against gender violence. Despite having great thing in common there are some types of feminism.
Liberal feminism, it seeks reform within existing intuitional arrangements. Social feminism that links gender equality to broader class revolution, following Marxist principles. Radical feminism that calls for the elimination of gender itself, partly through the use of new reproductive technologies to liberate women form childbearing.
The views of politics and gender are always link to three sides the liberals conservatives and the radical left.
Liberals pursuit equality. Liberals object to gender inequality that limits the earning power of women and discourages women form leadership positions. It also looks to force the government to raise the social standing of women so gender discrimination can end and promote opportunities for women economic growth and provide affordable childcare.
Conservatives appreciates the values of family, the place great importance on traditional family. They see the trend toward gender equality as a problem. They think that there is a great importance in parenting and that children suffer from the fact now days most families have two working parents.
Radical left wants to change the system and says that the gender stratification is active in present social institutions. They also imply that for an equal world with no gender discrimination there must be radical changes in the economy, political system and family life.
This broad topic of gender is very complicated and despite this chapter pursuing to point very specific ideas this topic can be looked a very feminist stand point, because despite the enormous changes occurring over so short span women still complain there is no change. At the end of the days the systems works, and there is no need for a drastic change, because the would be the only way ever achieving someday that coveted “gender equality” .