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Women’s Status and Power

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1 Women’s Status and Power
Submitted By Sunny Paliwal BA.(Hons)LL.B 2nd year

2 Economic Power Power globally linked to economic power
Employed women’s earnings range from 50-95% of men’s (International Labor Organization, 2003; UN, 199). The average is about 2/3 Majority of 1.5 billion people in the world living on $1.00/day or a less are women. Referred to as “feminization of poverty.”

3 Political Power In most countries, voting rights have only been awarded to women in the last 30 years 15% of the world’s lawmakers are female (2003) US ranks 59th among 125 countries with female representatives. US, France, and Japan all lag behind 13 sub-Saharan countries 15 countries have no female representatives: Armenia, Bahrain, Micronesia, Palau, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Barbados, Kiribati, Libya, Nauru, Nigeria, Tonga, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait

4 Males’ Higher Status Anthropologists Margaret Mead and Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo have noted that “the prestige values always attach to the activities of men” According to the UN, women worldwide are almost always in less prestigious and lower-paid jobs than men. In US: majority of prestigious and professional jobs are held by men: 71% of computer scientists 74 % of doctors 64% of college professors 77% of architects 90% of engineers

5 Males’ Higher Status Son preference: in most countries, families value male children over female children The Turkana people of Northern Kenya, great feasting held for birth of boy but not for girls Female children aged 1 to 4 are most likely to die than male children in all countries in south central Asia (India, Bangladesh, Nepal) and in nearly ¾ of the countries in northern Africa and Western Asia Discrimination in the care and feeding of female infants and higher rates of morbidity and malnutrition are reported in many countries listed as well as Bolivia, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, and others

6 Males’ Higher Status Sex-selective abortion:
In Mainland China, Taiwan, S. Korea, and India, some parents use amniocentesis and ultrasound to determine fetal sex so that female fetuses can be aborted India now has one of the most distorted sex ratios in the world: 927 females for every 1000 males (globally the average is 1060 females for 1000 males) In two Indian states, Haryana and Punjab, it is 793 girls for every 1000 males Why? Shift from subsistence agriculture to settled agriculture which is controlled by men (UN Commission on Human Rights) where value is attached to property and money. Sons are source of family income and provide for parents in old age and bring prestige—interpreters of religious teaching, holders of political power and high status jobs, soldiers. Daughters are expected to marry and have children and leave the family. They do not enhance the family’s economic or social position.

7 Females as Property In many cultures, females are property. In Pakistan, a father may take his daughter to court if she marries without his permission. In the United Arab Emirates and Northern Africa, women follow parental orders to marry cousins so as to keep property in the family In Pakistan’s NW Frontier Province and tribal territories, practice of swara persists (amnesty International, 2002)—handing over girls and women to rival partners to settle conflicts by establishing a blood tie. In Ethiopia, women and girls are viewed as the property of male family members who may exchange them as they wish.

8 Domestic Violence Worldwide
Includes: Prenatal sex selection Female infanticide Sexual abuse Female genital mutilation Sexual harassment in schools and the workplace Trafficking Forced prostitution Dowry-related violence (--a dowry consists of good or money paid by the price’s family to the groom or his family) Domestic violence Battering Marital rape

9 Women’s Rights as Human Rights
When women are socially, politically, and economically subordinate, this subordination fosters a climate that produces Intimate partner violence War rape Forced or voluntary prostitution Lack of police protection and a cultural acceptance of violence against women

10 Domestic Violence in India
When violence is committed at home it becomes domestic violence and involve family members such as children, spouse, parents or servants. Domestic violence may involve different means such as hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, throwing objects Economic growth is not an indicator to suggest that women are safe in a financially potent country. Facts, relating to violence against women, are surprisingly shocking even in developed countries A new survey has named India among the top five countries in the world that are considered as 'most dangerous places' for women. In south Asian countries women are said to be tolerant and very patient. This is more true for Indian women. However, their patience and tolerance is subject to newer ways of testings by the male dominated society. Sometimes they are subject to honor killing and as it was not enough, a new wave of vengeance killing has recently surfaced in India and several other countries. Violence is also known as abuse and include any sort of physical aggression or misbehave

11 Domestic violence, divorce, and economic power
Question for discussion: Divorce divide and education level: Evidence is given that among college-educated couples, the divorce filing rate by women approaches 90%. Couples with high-school level education are twice as likely to divorce as those with college degrees. Why might education and income level be linked to marital stability? Or the initiation of divorce by women? Carillo, R. 1992: Battered Dreams, Violence against women as an obstacle to development, New York: UNIFEM

12 Domestic Violence Carillo study (1992) links domestic violence to socially constructed and economically reinforced dependence of women on men. Unpaid women’s labor unvlaued Women are trained to believe that their value is attached to the men in their lives

13 Divorce Challenges to leaving abusive marriages:
Great social stigma attached to divorce Woman’s status is significantly reduced if she is divorced India: women have no right to matrimonial assets upon divorce (Jaising, 1995) United Arab Emirates and in Iran, a divorced mother is only entitled to custody of her children until they are 7 Israeli women are not allowed to divorce their husbands if the husband refuses but husbands may be granted a divorce if the wife refuses In the Sudan, a man may enact a divorce by stating “You are divorced” while a woman must go to court In Ireland, divorces were not granted until 1997

14 Dowry Death and Honor Killings
Dowry Death—the murder of wives by husbands or in-laws in India and Pakistan, when the bride’s family is unable to provide the agreed-upon dowry, when the husband wants to get rid of her so they may get another dowry form a new bride, when a woman does not produce a son Sometimes called “bride burnings” because most victims are held over the cooking stove until their saris catch fire 2001: Indian government reported over 7000 of these fatalities Honor Killing: a man is obliged to kill a female relative if does something believed to tarnish the honor of the family—unmarried women who have sex, marital infidelity or suspected infidelity, seeking a divorce, flirting, being raped, dating without parental approval all quality. 1998 case of Saharan Abdullah of Jordan who shot his sister in the head four time because his brother-in-law raped her. He was released from jail after 6 months UN estimates about 5000 deaths from honor killings annually, Pakistan, about 2 killings daily, about 20% prosecuted. The family of the victim may compromise with the killer, who is in this case a relative Brazil fails to prosecute honor killings because of alleged infidelity Jordan, perpetrators receive sentences of 3 months to a year

15 Sexual Violence Rape: of concern to feminists because
1. rape is a threat to women everywhere: in the US, 74 women are raped every hour, 1 in 4 women in her lifetime. In India, a woman is raped every 35 minutes and 1 in 10 reported to police 2. Rape laws are weak and poorly enforced: most of the world’s rape laws conceive of rape as an act against the property of another man—the father or husband. In most countries, rape victims receive little support and feel shamed and humiliated. Consequences like in Pakistan, being charged with sex outside of marriage or honor killings explain why many women do not report such crimes. She may also become unmarriageable because she is no longer a virgin 3. Many victims of rape are girl children or adolescents: Especially true in parts of Africa such as Zimbabwe and South Africa where some unscrupulous folk healers prescribe sex with a virgin to treat AIDS Mosse—1993, Copelon, 1995

16 War Rape Rape of women during wartime is often used as a tactic to “punish” the enemy—ubiquitous in war WWII—Moroccan soldiers rape Italian women, Japanese soldiers raped Korean women, Nazi soldiers raped Jewish women 1990s: Bosnian Serbs raped between 20,000 and 50,000 Muslim women in the former Yugoslavia In Somalia’s civil war, all factions raped women to punish rival factions An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were raped during a civil war in less than 100 days in Rwanda in 1994 In 2003, reports from Liberia, Zimbabwe, and Burma indicate that government soldiers used rape to terrorize and control groups that oppose the government

17 Types of War Rape Genocidal rape: Rwanda, Balkans, intended to destroy an ethnic group or political group perceived as the enemy, ethnic cleansing Opportunistic rape: when men take advantage of the breakdown of law and order that may occur during wartime to commit crimes against women, knowing they it is unlikely they will face punishment Political rape: punishes individuals, families, or communities that hold different political views. When daughters or wives are raped to punish their male relatives (variation on women as property theme) Forced concubinage: kidnapping of girls and women to wash, cook, serve, and have sex with soldiers and militia. Documented in Uganda in 1980s and Zimbabwe and Burma in early 2000s

18 Prostitution Effect of prostitution overlooked by governments in Thailand, Korea, and the Philippines who use prostitution to boost their economies and militaries Sexual tourism: Thailand, Brazil, Hungary, tourism based on the travel of men from first world countries to third world countries to buy cheap sex from “Exotic” women. Pimps control about 80-95% of prostitution World wide, most prostitutes are women with no other economic choices because of multi-layered systems of sex discrimination

19 Explanations for Women’s Lower Status
In cultures historically and presently where women have little control over reproduction along with males’ greater size and strength, some types of work were more appropriate for each gender Women’s work became concentrated in the private sphere, men’s in the public sphere because they were not constrained by childcare Resultant Gender stereotypes: beliefs about the qualities of each gender Gender norms/gender roles: social rules regarding what is appropriate for each gender to do

20 Explanations for Women’s Lower Status
Gendered division of labor is often a function of biology (pregnancy and breastfeeding), but men’s dominance in the public sphere has often been linked to having greater property rights, political and economic power and the increased value placed on paid labor Theories: Development of patriarchy linked to Neolithic period when agriculture developed and the labor of children were needed to increase the production and further surpluses (women as commodities)—resources to be traded, controlled, and acquired (Lerner, Creation of Patriarchy, 1986) Control of women means control of paternity (even so, about 1 in 25 men are unknowingly raising children not their own, or 4%) Devaluing of women’s work linked to development societies based on money—women’s labor has private use value (for the family) while men’s has exchange value (yielding money or exchange of goods). Power and status linked to ability to make money We’ll explore this more with Crittenden

21 Oppression Often men’s individual acts of dominance over women are the reflections of cultures’ overall systems of gender power relations Lips notes that the occurrence of many forms of routine oppression of women by men is mindless and unintentional Similarly, women often discourage girl children from challenging traditional gender relations FGM Brokers of sexual slavery Women of the upper class often exploit women of the lower classes (video later in semester) Lips: 1991, women, men, and power, Mayfield Press

22 Some of Women’s “Rights” Today
In 1972, 26% of men and women said they would not vote for a woman for president. In 1996, that sentiment had plummeted to just over 5% for women and to 8% for men. Ninety-two percent of adults now say (2007) they would vote for a woman for president from their political party if she were qualified for the job. This support has increased steadily over the past 50 years. On July 5, 1993, marital rape became a crime in all 50 states. However, when his wife is most vulnerable (e.g., she is mentally or physically impaired, unconscious, asleep, etc.) and is legally unable to consent, a husband is exempt from prosecution in 33 states. In the United States, a woman is raped every three seconds, a woman is abused every 18 seconds, and four women are killed by their boyfriends or husbands every day. In May of 2004, the FDA blocked women’s over the counter access to the morning after pill, a high dose of birth control pills that can prevent pregnancy after sex, despite the findings of two different scientific boards which supported increasing women’s access to Plan B. Plan B would be particularly useful in cases of sexual assault, in rural areas, and for lower income women and would substantially reduce the number of abortions.

23 The Third Wave The Third Wave is in our hands, either to create or ignore. Some central issues affecting women now: Loss of reproductive freedom Domestic inequity Pornography Violence against women Environmental destruction Feminization of Poverty

24 Loss of Reproductive Freedom
Less than one third of all women in the world have access to contraceptive information, and more than half have no trained help during pregnancy and childbirth. Forty-three (43) percent of women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old. Legal abortion is one of the safest and most common medical procedures available in the world today. Legal abortion entails half the risk of death involved in a tonsillectomy and one-hundredth the risk of death involved in an appendectomy. The risk of death from legal abortion is even lower than that from a shot of penicillin. The most effective way to reduce the need for abortion is to reduce unintended pregnancies. Almost half (49%) of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, including more than 30 percent within marriage. Better access to contraception, responsible sex education and emergency contraception could cut the number of unintended pregnancies and abortion dramatically. Abstinence-only sexual education, sexist insurance policies, lack of access to health care, and restrictions on abortion rights are all negatively impacting women’s reproductive freedom.

25 Domestic Inequity Women do 70-75% of the housework, and if there are children in the household, 70-75% of the child raising. Because of this “second shift,” women work, on average, 15 more hours than men every week.

26 Violence Males are the least likely to report a sexual assault, though it is estimated they make up 10% of all victims. Young females are four times more likely than any other group to be a victim of sexual assault. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger – 38% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 28% were an intimate and 7% were another relative. National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005 Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault, and one in 33 men. In , there were an average annual 200,780 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. About 44% of rape victims are under age 18, and 80% are under age 30. Since 1993, rape/sexual assault has fallen by over 69%. --from Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network Statistics Collection

27 Perpetrators Perpetration
Most perpetrators of sexual violence are men. Among acts of SV committed against women since the age of 18, 100% of rapes, 92% of physical assaults, and 97% of stalking acts were perpetrated by men. SV against men is also mainly male violence: 70% of rapes, 86% of physical assaults, and 65% of stalking acts were perpetrated by men (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000).

28 IPV Nearly 5.3 million incidents of IPV occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older, and 3.2 million occur among men. Most assaults are relatively minor and consist of pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000a). In the United States every year, about 1.5 million women and more than 800,000 men are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner. This translates into about 47 IPV assaults per 1,000 women and 32 assaults per 1,000 men (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000a). IPV results in nearly 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths nationwide every year (CDC 2003). From 1976 to 2002, about 11% of homicide victims were killed by an intimate partner (Fox and Zawitz 2004). In 2002, 76% of IPV homicide victims were female; 24% were male (Fox and Zawitz 2004). The number of intimate partner homicides decreased 14% overall for men and women in the span of about 20 years, with a 67% decrease for men (from 1,357 to 388) vs. 25% for women (from 1,600 to 1,202; Fox and Zawitz 2004). Previous literature suggests that women who have separated from their abusive partners often remain at risk of violence (Campbell et al. 2003; Fleury, Sullivan and Bybee 2000). Firearms were the major weapon type used in intimate partner homicides from 1981 to 1998 (Paulozzi et al. 2001). A national study found that 29% of women and 22% of men had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological IPV during their lifetime (Coker et al. 2002). Between 4% and 8% of pregnant women are abused at least once during the pregnancy (Gazmararian et al. 2000). Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: findings from the national violence against women survey. Washington: National Institute of Justice; Report NCJ  

29 IPV: Victimization The National Crime Victimization Survey found that 85% of IPV victims were women (Rennison 2003). Prevalence of IPV varies among race. Among the ethnic groups most at risk are American Indian/Alaskan Native women and men, African-American women, and Hispanic women (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000b). Young women and those below the poverty line are disproportionately victims of IPV (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000b).

30 Pornography There is a difference between pornography (unequal power, violence, dominance, and conquest) and erotica (warmth and sensuality). Sexual exploitation (pornography) violates human dignity and bodily integrity and is a violation of human rights. If a woman’s life is constrained by lack of education and employment opportunities by racism, by economic or political crisis, by childhood sexual, physical or emotional violence, or by poverty, then sexual exploitation aggravates and intensifies the harm. Even when women voluntarily enter into these situations, in hope of making money or finding a better life, the dynamics of the brutal, often illegal sex industry, quickly leave the women with few other options and a feeling of powerlessness in their own lives. Multiple studies have found direct evidence of a causal relationship between the consumption of pornography and increases in social levels of violence, hostility, and discrimination. Substantial exposure to violent sexually explicit material also leads to a greater acceptance of the “rape myth”– that women enjoy being coerced into sexual activity, that they enjoy being physically hurt in sexual context, and that as a result, a man who forces himself on a woman sexually is in fact merely acceding to the “real” wishes of the woman, regardless of the extent to which she seems to be resisting.

31 Environmental Destruction
Toxic waste, pesticides, nuclear fallout, and other pollutions take their first toll as cancers of the female reproductive system, and in stillborn infants and birth deformities. The George W. Bush presidency has the worst environmental record in the history of the United States. Bush weakened the Clean Air Act, allowing power plants to increase the amount of pollution they put into the air. What's more, the White House has scheduled a meeting for later this month to decide how much further they will go to weaken clean air laws. Bush endangered our water by allowing mining companies to pollute streams with impunity. Bush cut the EPA budget for 2004 by $500 million, gutting the agency's ability to enforce environmental laws effectively. Bush made significant cuts to the Superfund program, reducing the burden on polluters to pay for their own messes at the taxpayers' expense. (New Jersey, the state to which Whitman is returning, has the highest number of Superfund sites. Welcome home.) Bush declared open season on the nation's parks, monuments, and forests, opening them to drilling, road building, and other potentially damaging activities. Bush weakened protections for endangered species and made it more difficult to put new species on the endangered list.

32 Feminization of Poverty
Almost half of all homeless women are refugees of domestic violence. One third of the one million women who seek emergency shelter each year can find none. Two thirds of all illiterates are women. Women and children comprise eighty percent of all poverty population.

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