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Feminism. Concerned with the emancipation of women as human beings Goals are to eliminate barriers that prevented women from achieving development as.

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Presentation on theme: "Feminism. Concerned with the emancipation of women as human beings Goals are to eliminate barriers that prevented women from achieving development as."— Presentation transcript:

1 Feminism

2 Concerned with the emancipation of women as human beings Goals are to eliminate barriers that prevented women from achieving development as individuals Assumptions: –Men and Women are equal. –Women’s roles are socially driven and therefore changeable. –Women are identifiable as a social group and may thus act to change their status.

3 Feminists Those who identify themselves as feminists and those who advocate women’s rights. Someone who supports political, economic and social equality for women. Believe that the unequal and inferior social status of women is unjust and needs to be changed.

4 Feminists and Issue Definition What are women’s interests? What constituted women’s liberation? Answering these questions is problematic and difficult

5 The Conservative View The differential treatment of women as a group is NOT unjust. Because women are inherently different from men. Some individual women will suffer but this is not part of systematic social oppression of women

6 Differences in Women’s Roles Female role is not inferior to the male role. –“complementary but equal” Women are inherently better adapted than men to the traditional female sex role. –Nurturing, patient, giving, supportive, etc. –Inherent inequality between the sexes. All feminists reject the first and most feminists reject the second.

7 Conservative Views Men and women SHOULD fulfill different social functions. These differences SHOULD be enforced by law where opinion and custom are insufficient. Such action is justified by the INNATE differences between men and women.

8 Thus… All sexual conservatives presuppose: –That men and women are inherently unequal in abilities –That the alleged difference in ability implies a difference in social function –That one of the main tasks of the state is to ensure that the individual perform his or her proper social function.

9 Justice? Social differentiation between the sexes is not unjust since justice not only allows but requires us to treat unequals unequally.

10 Various Feminist Approaches All feminists are not the same Varieties of feminist thought exist Types include: –reformist feminists, radical, socialist, radical revolutionary, cultural feminists, lesbian separatists, traditional liberal and modern liberal feminists, marxist feminists

11 Traditional Liberal Feminists Individual women should be able to determine their social role with as much freedom as do men. Traditional liberal feminists are willing to wait for social change. Modern liberal feminists advocate the use of law to advance the status of women more quickly.

12 Liberals: Traditional vs Modern Laws shouldn’t discriminate Equality means each individual should have equal opportunity to seek whatever social position that individual wishes Freedom is the absence of legal constraints to hinder women in this purpose The law should be used to make discrimination illegal Can temporarily discriminate in favor of women to redress past inequalities Maternity leaves should be considered a social service like military leave (reservists) women should not lose jobs.

13 Marxist and Radical Feminism Source of women’s oppression is the family because within this social structure women provide free labor. Class based society burdens women more than men because women are of lower class and will therefore command the lowest wage. Rejects the liberal view that women’s oppression stems from the lack of political/civil rights. Rejects the Marxist view that women are oppressed because they live in a class society. Advocates the transformation of society from patriarchy, racism and capitalism.

14 Determinants of Feminist Attitudes Individual level characteristics such as: –Education –Marital status –Employment –Religion Men and Women in the US and Western Europe are more likely to endorse feminist goals or show high levels of feminist consciousness if they are highly educated, have little religious involvement and live in families where women work in the paid labor force

15 Determinants of Feminist Attitudes What about aggregate level attitudes? Structural features of Western societies and labor markets. National level information sometimes hides what’s going on within each nation (variance is lost). In principle cross-national variation in support of feminism can be explained by the effects of several aspects of social structure and culture.

16 Determinants of Feminist Attitudes Two additional approaches: Social Context – are individuals influenced by their environment and is this effect a simple linear relationship between social context and attitudes? Status Discontent – do individuals react against the social context especially when the context is viewed as hostile to their own status?

17 Social Context Religiosity of a region (higher) appears to have little effect on feminist attitudes. Educational level (higher) of a region appears to positively impact feminist attitudes. Women’s employment (high) appears to have a negative effect on feminist attitudes. Regional divorce rate (high) appears to have a negative effect on feminist attitudes.

18 Status Discontent: Workforce Women’s overall participation in the labor force has no effect on those women IN the labor force. The negative effect emerges for women OUT side of the labor force. Domestic women become increasingly conservative as more of their female neighbors become economically active. Men with stay at home wives show similar attitudes.

19 Status Discontent: Education Women with low levels of education living in areas where female educational levels are high exhibit high levels of support for feminist attitudes (the same effect exists for men). This is a different effect from workforce. The effect of context decreases as women become more educated…and their individual level support for feminism decreases!

20 Questions Why is the effect of higher education so strong and positive? –Could this be because women with higher education represent an attainable goal? (successful role models) Why has women’s entry into the paid labor force not resulted in uniformly pro-feminist attitudes? –Economic competition? Equal access to higher education poses no immediate economic threat to men and wives of male bread winners. Women pressing for equal pay cut into the available pie of money. This constitutes a material threat.

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