(Erika Primdahl, Leslie Hitt, Ashleigh, Van Straten, Stephanie Sisk, Jeff Florian, Jon Bentley)

CH 6, 7, (and a little bit of 8)


CH 6

  • Statistics show that women working outside of their home continue suffering from discrimination and devaluation in their work environments.
  • Gender segregation, exclusion from administrative positions and inequities in pay are all include in women’s marginalization in industry.
  • Women, although many still work in the household, even face discrimination and devaluation in respect to terminology termed for their work. “Just a housewife”
  • Many tasks that stay at home mothers do, although domesticated, still relate to those ties of earlier civilizations such as obtaining and preparing food, maintaining the home, purchasing/making clothing, tending to family illness, and supervising children and the education of their children.
  • Women who work in the homes are technically dependent on their husbands, due to their lack of income, but in reality, husbands are also dependent on their wives.
  • Women’s roles in the household compare to those of paid employees who have contractual relationships with their employers.  Where paid employees have deadlines and demands of them that their paychecks will reflect, and women in the household have demands of their families that their family will suffer if they fail to do.
  • Recently, since the 1980s the amount of time dedicated to all these specific tasks around the house by housewives have decreased because of laborsaving technological advances.
  • A few things that have increased, strictly because society has changed their level of cleanliness, is the amount of time spent cleaning and doing household chores such as cleaning and laundry.
  • A decline in childcare and homecare providers has happened because of the money drain that it has shown. Having a family is more cost effective due to the fact that you have many more people to complete each task desired.
  • More married women seek employment > Number of hours spent on housework has significantly declined
  • Employed women spend more than 2/3 less time doing household work than that of women who are unemployed housewives and mothers
  • Judith Schor’s survey found that 24 percent of wives in her sample did ALL of the work in the home, where 42 percent said they did MOST of the work.
  • Women are willing to work for less than men because of their socialization in a male-dominated culture that undermines their self-worth
  • Men fall victims to capitalist economies values of patriarchal families. Men are made to accept that they are going to fall right into the American family life, and expect they will just get a job, and support a wife and child.
  • Because men fall captive to this American dream, men will take jobs in environments that are relatively unsafe where they fear for their job often, just because they feel that they have to have this job to please their family and live the American dream.
  • Men still are rewarded in the capitalist economy more than women with things such as higher wages, more prestigious jobs, and better authority in the work place.
  • After WWII a new theory was put to the test that stressed an interest between women and men’s Personal Psyches.
  • Men and women were no longer differentiated by their physical characteristics and social relationships but now solely on inner psyches.
  • Men are inherently aggressive, assertive, driven to competition and domination
  • Women are passive and docile and wanted to be dominated.
  • Children even became a part of the Psychic development. A child’s earliest years of life are considered to be the crucial emotional growth and adjustments.  Mother’s responsibility for their children’s mental and physical health became paramount.
  • Although this theory was seen as very important and very interesting, after WWII this theory slowly died back out and women’s pressures for rights within the workplace came showing through again.
  • Women who asserted their rights to economic, social, and legal equality are seen as attacking the structure of American society. But in reality, Men in the workforce with a women at home as a wife, has proven to work for our economy and society just perfectly.
  • Concepts proffered by sociobiologists claim that distinctions in social behavior of women and men are derived from innate genetic differences.
  • “As women have entered the workforce, women and men have question patriarchal expectations and constructs, adherents of the traditional order develop inevitability of men’s dominance and women’s subordination.”
  • Women who worked outside of the home were looked at as neglecting their duties to nurture their husbands and children.
  • Men with working wife’s, were not fulfilling their proper role as full-time supporter and were therefore considered less of a man.
  • In most institutions, women were schooled in domestic science, the arts and humanities, and child rearing—all in women’s accepted roles.
  • Birthrates among middle and upper class women began to decline, while poor white women and African Americans stayed the same, during the late nineteenth century.  This was because public leaders were warning the wealthy white women about ‘race suicide’.
  • Many women who obtained an advanced education usually had jobs that were compatible with the accepted stereotype of women’s nature—Ex. Nursing, teaching, and social work.
  • Careers became a respected alternative to marriage and motherhood.
  • New technology helped to open up many new jobs for women.
  • Women filled many secretarial positions and had no chance of advancement in the workplace.  Men on the other hand, moved up the administrative hierarchy.
  • Women were told by doctors that working may cause harm to reproduction.
  • Women were told to take pride in their management of the household—she was expected to keep house clean and improve standards of living.
  • Mothers were mainly responsible for the health and success of the children—sick children were a signal for a women lack of commitment to motherhood.
  • Child and home life changed radically from earlier centuries in Europe and the United States.
  • In the Middle Ages children were thought to be demonic.  Misbehaving children were given opium to calm them.
  • During the Enlightenment period children were thought to be innocent and need guidance in a loving home.
  • At the end of the 19th century, mothers were responsible to mold their child’s moral character, be attuned to their emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development.
  • More women needed to work to gain incomes because of economic necessities.  This causes competition between men and women.
  • Employers were often biased against women.
  • Patters of employment among women changed—they were able to obtain jobs that had previously been barred including manager positions and jobs in heavy industry


  •  Global Economic Development:


  • Development theory emphasizes the importance of modernizing technology, agricultural production for trade, and mobile industrialization
  • Researches question impact of economic development- Men benefit while women often encounter social, political, and social deterioration.
  • First explored in Boserup’s, Women’s Role in Economic Development (1970), which said that in Asia and Africa, even though agricultural duties are placed on women, agricultural development projects alienate women from using the land.
  • BUT men do most of the farm work in Asia. Women’s income from farm employment has decreased due to mechanization.
  • Others argue Boserup’s work saying that “Women’s role in biological and social reproduction (that is, household maintenance and services, child care, and care of sick and elderly members) is pivotal to understanding the ways in which women are limited in their ability to seek work outside the home.” (214)
  • Latin America: development has led to agriculture by large corporations and conglomerates that control huge pieces of land worked by members of a labor force who have lost access to their own land.
  • A common response is that women in peasant communities who may migrate to urban centers to seek jobs. Majority of these female immigrants are young, unmarried daughters of poor families. Work to relieve families.
  • Generally end up doing domestic work (social reproduction, preparing food, purchasing goods, household maintenance)
  • Class is significant in determining women’s participation in the work force.  (ie: upper-class women can afford to work outside the home)
  • Rates of employment also vary with education and marital status.
  • In the 1960’s, the Mexican gov made a policy to join multinational corporations based in the US with the hope of attracting and building more jobs, investments and fix poverty.
  • Border Industrialization Program (BIP)- opportunities for Mexican migrant workers to legally work in the US
  • Africa: similar to Latin America trends
  • Subsistence farming -> cash cropping has deprived women access to land and productive roles
  • More traditionally, African women were often the primary producers or subsistence and trade goods.
  • Land allotted for house-hold use by land-controlling lineages
  • India: Lace makers in city of Narcapur example,  documented how commercialization and expansion of the industry have marginalized the women who are the primary producers.
  • Simple and inexpensive technology caused low wages be paid to workers. As lace making became more profitable, men began to replace women in all capacities EXCEPT primary producers.
  • Asia:  Development programs aimed at expanding economic growth increase opportunities while at the same time increasing overall burden.
  • Most women workers were young and unmarried.
  • Women are represented most in light manufacturing such as textiles and electronics (drawn to Singapore since the 70s).
  • Goal to improve standard of living led to increase in married women seeking employment outside the home.
  • Jobs generally require technical skills.
  • Universal education is promoted by the Singapore government, gender differences still exist in the type of schooling.
  • Status of factory workers in Taiwan increases because they are able to monetarily contribute to the household.
  • Changing Attitues toward Child Care 
  • By the end of the 19th century children were becoming the focus of their mother’s attention and began to play a central role in the life of the family
    – This attitude also led to a greater emphasis being placed on the mother’s role of raising children in the proper manner
  • Women and Work Through the Middle of the 20th Century 
  • As more women entered paid employment, competition between men and women intensified.
    – employers were often biased against women
    o women were “better adapted, cheaper, more reliable, and more easily controlled” than men when it came to factory jobs
    – labor unions function to solidify men’s dominance in the work place when faced with competition from women
    – The period during WWI witnessed a shift in womens employment as women replaced men who had joined the army
  • Women, Men, and Work into the 21st Century 
  • Throught the 20th century, rates of women’s labor participation rose steadily
    – Despite the growth in numbers of women who are in paid employment, discrimination in wages and lack of access to all kinds of jobs still hinder women’s equality as workers
    – In addition to inequities in pay, women continue to face occupational segregation in terms of both types of jobs for which they are hired and workplace hierarchies.
  • Housework
  • Women who remain at home and fulfill the traditional patriarchal idea of domestic roles also suffer.
    – devaluation of women’s household work results, in part, from the social context in which it is performed
    – housework is also devalued because it is unpaid
    – because more married women now seek employment outside the home for both personal and economic reason, the number of hours spent in housework has correspondingly begun to declin
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of economic support as well as a reduction in markets for Cuban products in Eastern Europe–causes: Unemployment rates to rise, expensive social services such as child care and health care reduction, and many Cuban families face hardship.
  • Since women tend to be the most recently hired, they are more vulnerable to loss their job and are likely to be fired before their male colleagues, because of their lack of seniority.
  • Economic activity rate: Men-77%, Women-47%
  • Russia now experiences a population decline-This adds pressure on women to become full-time mothers and housewives.
  • Women are more than twice as likely as men to be unemployed and a women’s earned income is .64 % of men’s income—this is a further indicator of the weakness of women’s status in the former Soviet Union and is the fact that women’s political representation on the national level has dropped.
  • Women’s status is reflected in; statistics on population, literacy rates, income, labor force participation, occupation, and representation in parliaments, decision-making bodies, and appointed ministerial positions.
  • In all but three of the 46 nations in the “developed” world, the number of women is equal to or slightly greater than the number of men, but nowhere is the ratio of women to men below 95:100.  Therefore, one can assume that where the proportion of women falls significantly below the adult male population, girls have suffered disproportionately form factors such as infanticide, neglect, poor nutrition, and inadequate health care.
  • These factors contribute to the low ratio of women in the Middle East and Asia, where extreme patriarchal social and religious ideologies create conditions and practices that harm girls and women’s chances of survival.
  • Women are somewhat more likely to be illiterate than men except in Malta and the United States, where men’s rates of illiteracy exceed those for women.
  • In the developing world, girl’s school enrollment has increased, however still falls below that of boys—The most important factor which contributes to the low enrollment of girls, is the attitude of the parents (mainly the father) to the status and education of women.
  • 89%-thought it was important for their sons to go to school
  • 56%-Thought it was important for their daughters
  • Women tend to be concentrated in services and underrepresented in industry work.
  • Underrepresentation of women is universal in all existing national governments (either as elected officeholders or as appointed officials in decision-making capacities)—Norway and Sweden have the highest percentage of women in elected parliaments.
  • Women’s role in household life gained them the respect of their families, but as these roles have lost value, women have lost status relative to men, who have been monopolizing the occupations that earn income and prestige.
  • As women’s work becomes devalued, their status within their households and communities deteriorates.
  • Gender segregation in the workplace generally relegates women to jobs with low social prestige, low financial compensation, and few opportunities for decision making, control, and advancement.
  • Some governments are sensitive to these issues and have passed legislation to protect women’s rights, but legislation alone is not sufficient and has not yet led to fundamental changes in social attitudes.
  • In reports published by the United Nations, show trends that women are discriminated which results in marginalization in the paid labor force, low wages, and their underrepresentation in governing bodies.
  • In most of the developed world, the ratio of women to men is 95:100, but some countries particularly in the Middle-East have ratios significantly less than this due to social and religious ideologies preventing them from surviving.
  • Women in society have shown trends to fall behind in education, boys tend to show statistically more enrollment in school, and attendance at higher-levels.  Statistics show literacy levels for women are much less lower than that of men due to opportunity for education.
  • In most of the developing world, girls school enrollment has increased during the last several decades.  Even with this percentage increasing annually, it still lacks the amount of boys.
  • Women suffer socially and politically due to their lack of visibility as active economic providers in government in the United States.
  • Women in the labor force ranks highest in developed regions
  • Women tend to be significantly concentrated in the services and underrepresented in Industry work
  • In many countries in South America, Asia and Africa the labor force consists of over 50 percent of all women working in the Agriculture area, where as that is significantly different of that in developed countries.
  • In these countries, there are men in the Agricultural sector, but the amount of women significantly outweighs the amount of men
  • The underrepresentation of women in politics makes wages for these certain fields make it so the amount lacks significantly than that of a man in that same field.
  • The majority of countries in the world have twenty percent or less of elected representatives as women
  • Women in the industrial sector are recruited into low paying, dead-end, or temporary jobs especially in textile and electronic industry
  • For women to be represented more efficiently in the labor force they must first be able to obtain jobs that confer the same kinds of prestige as men receive, and second by protecting and advancing where only social values confer respect and rewards for their work.
  • As a whole, legislation has been in the process of dealing with women’s rights, but even today in the twenty-first century, women still lack equal rights and benefits economically, politically, and socially.
  • Apaches have a special ceremony for changing women going through puberty, where she has spiritual powers in which they can do many productive things for their community such as bring rain, cure illness and ensure long healthy lives etc.
  • In contrast the Tiwi women have restrictions  on pubescent  girls activities, they are isolated during first menstruation  and compelled to many taboos, she and her mother and co- wives build a hut in the bush and the pubescent girl cannot do many things on her own and relies on others.( the fathers choose who the girl will marry
  • In India Women are isolated during all of their periods.
  • Boys  maturity is not usually associated with a dramatic biological change, but boys coming of age is significant and has rituals.
  • The kpelle initiate boys into a secret society where they isolated in the bush and taught many important skills needed to function productively. they are physically beaten and verbally harassed / they get circumcised and scars on their body to symbolize adulthood. They receive a new name after the ceremony.
  • Native American boys are encouraged to seek out visions and spiritual powers.
  • Cultures believes differ in the physiological contributions made by mother and father
  • Jewish writings state that the father gives the characteristics of bones tendons nails, brain and the whites of the eyes from the white sperm. Skin flesh blood hair and black of the eyes from the mothers (red sperm) and the rest is from god.
  • Malaysians believe a fetus begins to grow as a liquid in humans brain before it enters the uterus it gains emotions and rationality while in fathers brain and then and gains emotions from the mother while growing in the womb.
  • Women are often blamed if a baby dies or has a deformation or disease because of actions during pregnancy
  • Women are blamed for lack of reproduction or being sterile and blamed from adultery, violation of taboos or disrespect to the spirits
  • Medical doctors in Europe  and America have campaigned against inexperience health practitioners delivering babies
  • Women that asserted their healing powers were accused  of being witches in the 15th and 16th century
  • Midwifes delivering babies were more successful than deliveries excluding midwives.
  • Laying on the back and drug therapy renders women passive and less control of  bodily process.
  • menstruation and menopause is considered an illness defined by men
  • Women’s overall health was associated with their vital reproductive organs health and there were procedures to correct them.
  • Women that know of PMS and its symptoms reported to have more of the physical as well as physiological symptoms compared to the women that were not knowledgeable of PMS and it’s symptoms.
  • In this chapter it is discussed that there is a “third gender.”  It is described as being separate from the normalized gender being from the biological body.  Two-Spirit is the name given of the third gender.  They existed mostly in the Western part of the U.S. and there were very few located in East and Artic areas.  The numbers of male Two-Spirits were larger than the number of female Two-Spirits; “social values stressed the importance of women’s reproductive roles and made females less likely to abandon customary gender expectations” (258).
  • To become a Two-Spirit, it was either a spiritual calling or being of this third gender was seen through a dream or a vision.  Females participated in hunting, trapping, and fighting; males participated in sewing, gathering, and embroidery.
  • One of the consistent features of the third-gender tradition was that members wore clothing and hairstyles associated with their chosen social role rather than with their biological sex.  Male Two-Spirits adopted women’s clothing, and female Two-Spirits dressed as men did.  This pattern demonstrates that gender distinctions can be given symbolic as well as practical value (260).
  • Menarche is the term used to explain the onset of “sudden and obvious sematic change” (263).  Social availability is just as important as biological readiness to procreate.  Nai’s is the name of the ritual that is performed to make the young woman ready for transformation into becoming a woman and delving into adulthood.  The term literally means “preparing her” and “getting her ready” (264).  Once her menstrual cycle is beginning, she is taken to a bush camp where the young woman may not speak to anyone and must follow a set of rules.  For five to ten days, she must follow the set of taboo rules which are as follows:
  • She cannot dig yams, gather or cook any foods, o touch any foods directly with her hands.  In order to eat, she must use a stick or have someone else place food in her mouth.  If she were to ignore this, her body will swell up.
  • She cannot touch water to drink.  Someone else must give her water from a container.  If she touches water, she will get sick.
  • She cannot scratch herself with her fingers but must instead use a stick.  If she scratches herself, her arm will break.
  • She cannot make a fire of she will get burned.
  • She cannot break any sticks or her legs will break.
  • She cannot look at any bodies of water.  If she were to do so, spirits living in the areas will kill her.
  • She cannot leave camp alone or talk in a normal voice bust instead must whisper.  If her husband were to see her or hear her voice, he would get sick and die (Goodale, 1971, pp. 48-49)(266).
  • These rituals and beliefs are carefully constructed, believed and carried out.  I get the feeling that for the Two-Spirit belief, it is simply a woman taking on a non-traditional role and a man also taking on a non-traditional role.  As for the menstruation cycle for a young woman, I feel as though it is looked at as being a disease and the woman is punished for it.
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