Gender Inequality

Gender Inequality

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  • Gender & Sex
  • Gender Inequality
  • Votes for Women!
  • Functionalist Perspective
  • Sex refers to the biological characteristics of an individual, such as the primary sex characteristics that are determined at birth, as well as the secondary sex characteristics that develop at puberty (Little, Chapter 12). Gender are man-made perceptions and expectations of masculinity and femininity; these ideals vary socially and across cultures (Whittington-Walsh, powerpoint). 
  • Marxist-Feminist Perspective
  • Gender Inequality is the unequal perception and/or treatment of individuals based on their gender(Whittington-Walsh, powerpoint). This influential discrimination begins in the early stages of socialization, and continues throughout the person's life. Patriarchy is an example of gender inequality, being a perception that men should have complete domination, power and control over women and children (Whittington-Walsh, powerpoint). 
  • Example One
  • The Functionalist Perspective was developed by Talcott Parsons, based on the male and female roles within the family (Little, Chapter 12). The male is the picture of the father - an instrumental leadership role, while the woman is seen as the mother- a nurturing, caring and expressive role (Whittington-Walsh, powerpoint). Talcott Parsons believed that to deviate from this ideal, would cause society to become dysfunctional and fall apart (Little, Chapter 12).
  • Example Two
  • The Marxist-Feminist Perspective describes the enforcement of the gender roles according to capitalism (Little, Chapter 12). With the private ownership of property and businesses came the fear that property would be lost to others; women must be faithful to their husbands to ensure wealth be passed on within the family (Whittington-Walsh, powerpoint). Women were property of men, who had more rights and privileges as the owners and social representations of their family and business (Little, Chapter 12).
  • In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, gender roles are very troublesome in the eyes of the young girl Scout. Scout's Aunt Caroline, a picture of femininity according to society, emphasizes the need for Scout to begin changing her appearance and daily activities to better suit the ideals of a lady as well as be a proper representation of her family's societal class (Lee, 83).
  • Because Scout's father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer, Scout is able to see the inside of a courtroom, specifically the jurors that consist of men only (Lee, 225). This law, that women are not able to serve in the courtroom, reinforces gender inequality; women have less rights and privileges than men because they are seen as fragile and irrational - the weaker sex - that in this example from the novel would be unable to endure the pressure of rational decision making in a difficult case (Little, Chapter 12).
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