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Gender Politics

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Title: Gender Politics


1
Gender Politics
2
  • Women do two-thirds of the worlds work
  • but receive only 10 of the worlds income
  • and own less than 1 of land.
  • Women in developing countries on average carry 20
    litres of water per day over 6 km
  • Women in many cases are the primary care givers,
  • and balancing the challenges of work and family
    is complex.
  • Globally there is still a gender pay gap,
  • a lack of women parliamentarians,
  • and women's health overall around the world is
    worse than that of men..
  • http//www.internationalwomensday.com/

3
  • The Global Gender Gap Report, World Economic
    Forum
  • https//members.weforum.org/pdf/Global_Competitive
    ness_Reports/Reports/gender_gap.pdf
  • 2010 rankings http//www.csmonitor.com/World/Glob
    al-News/2010/1012/Global-Gender-Gap-Index-Iceland-
    tops-France-drops-and-US-breaks-into-top-20

4
  • Gender politics is an approach to the study of
    politics which focuses on
  • the social construction of gender - masculinity
    and femininity
  • the role of gender in political and social life

5
  • Biological differences between human beings, such
    as sex and race, have traditionally been used as
    grounds for social and political inequality,
    discrimination, subjugation, and oppression
  • The division of social roles between men and
    women in the family is historically the earliest
    form of division of labour
  • It is also the earliest class division, which
    arises hand-in-hand with the establishment of the
    institution of private property
  • Patriarchy (literally, rule by the father, now
    understood as the dominant role of men in
    society) is the oldest form of social inequality
  • Perception of patriarchy as a natural order.
    How natural?

6
  • US President Nixon (1969-74) once said, in a
    conversation with aides "Im not for women in
    any job. I dont want any of them around. Thank
    God we dont have any in the cabinet ... I dont
    think a woman should be in any government job
    whatever. I mean, I really dont. The reason why
    I do is mainly because they are erratic. And
    emotional. Men are erratic and emotional, too,
    but the point is a woman is more likely to be.

7
  • Women dominate Swiss politics
  • http//www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11387996

8
  • Until recent times, womens issues, interests and
    concerns had been excluded from the political
    arena, for two basic reasons
  • 1. The division between private and public
    spheres
  • 2. The patriarchal assumptions of the language
    and practice of politics
  • Womens struggle for equality of rights has been
    one of the key components of the global struggle
    for democracy

9
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), founder of
modern feminism
10
  • From Mary Wollstonecrafts book A Vindication of
    the Rights of Woman (1792)
  • If women be educated for dependence that is, to
    act according to the will of another fallible
    being, and submit, right or wrong, to power,
    where are we to stop?
  • The divine right of husbands, like the divine
    right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this
    enlightened age, be contested without danger.
  • I do not wish (women) to have power over men,
    but over themselves.

11
  • Historian Henry Noel Brailsford, in Shelley,
    Godwin, and Their Circle (1913), considered the
    Rights of Woman
  • "perhaps the most original book of its century."
  • "What was absolutely new in the world's history
    was that for the first time a woman dared to sit
    down to write a book which was not an echo of
    men's thinking, nor an attempt to do rather well
    what some man had done a little better, but a
    first exploration of the problems of society and
    morals from a standpoint which recognized
    humanity without ignoring sex."

12
Elizabeth Stanton (1815-1902), a founder of the
womens suffrage movement in the US
13
  • Elizabeth Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments,
    1848
  • "The history of mankind is a history of repeated
    injuries and usurpations on the part of man
    toward woman, having in direct object the
    establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To
    prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid
    world.

14
  • Married women were legally dead in the eyes of
    the law
  • Women were not allowed to vote
  • Women had to submit to laws when they had no
    voice in their formation
  • Married women had no property rights
  • Husbands had legal power over and responsibility
    for their wives to the extent that they could
    imprison or beat them with impunity
  • Divorce and child custody laws favored men,
    giving no rights to women
  • Women had to pay property taxes although they had
    no representation in the levying of these taxes

15
  • Most occupations were closed to women and when
    women did work they were paid only a fraction of
    what men earned
  • Women were not allowed to enter professions such
    as medicine or law
  • Women had no means to gain an education since no
    college or university would accept women students
  • With only a few exceptions, women were not
    allowed to participate in the affairs of the
    church
  • Women were robbed of their self-confidence and
    self-respect, and were made totally dependent on
    men

16
  • 3 waves of the womens liberation movement
  • 1. 19th early 20th century
  • Main goal political equality (right to vote)
  • 2. 1960s 1980s
  • Main goal social and cultural equality
  • 3. 1990s
  • Continuing struggle for social equality

17
  • In the most basic sense, political (electoral)
    democracies began to appear in the world only
    with the extension of political rights to women
    in the early 20th century
  • Labour movements and socialist parties played a
    key role in the struggle for womens rights
  • Every Socialist recognizes the dependence of the
    workman on the capitalist, and cannot understand
    that others, and especially the capitalists
    themselves, should fail to recognize it also but
    the same Socialist often does not recognize the
    dependence of women on men because the question
    touches his own dear self more or less nearly.
    August Bebel, Leader of German Social Democratic
    Party, in Woman and Socialism, 1883

18
Clara Zetkin (1857-1933), a German
socialist feminist
19
Womens suffrage march, New York, May 1913
20
  • Suffrage (right to vote) in the USA
  • 1776 landed (owning real estate) white men over
    21
  • 1920 women
  • Women allowed to vote
  • UK 1928
  • Canada mid-1920s (in all provinces)
  • In 20th century revolutions
  • Granting women the right to vote is a standard
    feature, reflecting economic needs and womens
    demands

21
Petrograd, Russia, February 1917. Women in line
for groceries spark the Russian Revolution
22
Russia, March 1917. Womens demonstration
Voting rights are nor universal if women dont
have them
23
Larisa Reisner, Russian revolutionary and
feminist leader (1895-1926)
24
Civil marriage registration, Russia, 1920s
25
Soviet poster, 1920s Down with kitchen slavery!
26
Women mastering male professions, Russia, 1920s
27
World War II Soviet women medics
28
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29
Soviet women in the war pilots
30
Children workers assembling weapons
31
  • The fundamental economic, social, and cultural
    structures of patriarchy remain strong
  • Inertia and resistance
  • Continuing struggles for equality and justice
  • Reproductive rights
  • Domestic violence
  • Maternity leave
  • Equal pay
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual violence

32
(No Transcript)
33
  • The plight of girls in the Global South (Julie
    Mullins, Gender Discrimination Children In Need
    Inc. )
  • When a boy is born in most developing countries,
    friends and relatives exclaim congratulations. A
    son means insurance. He will inherit his father's
    property and get a job to help support the
    family.
  • When a girl is born, the reaction is very
    different. Some women weep when they find out
    their baby is a girl because, to them, a daughter
    is just another expense. Her place is in the
    home, not in the world of men. In some parts of
    India, it's traditional to greet a family with a
    newborn girl by saying, "The servant of your
    household has been born."

34
  • In developing countries, the birth of a girl
    causes great upheaval for poor families. When
    there is barely enough food to survive, any child
    puts a strain on a family's resources.
  • But the monetary drain of a daughter feels even
    more severe, especially in regions where dowry is
    practised.
  • A new bride is at the mercy of her in-laws should
    they decide her dowry is too small. UNICEF
    estimates that around 5,000 Indian women are
    killed in dowry-related incidents each year.

35
  • The developing world is full of poverty-stricken
    families who see their daughters as an economic
    predicament. That attitude has resulted in the
    widespread neglect of baby girls in Africa, Asia,
    and South America.
  • In many communities, it's a regular practice to
    breastfeed girls for a shorter time than boys so
    that women can try to get pregnant again with a
    boy as soon as possible. As a result, girls miss
    out on life-giving nutrition during a crucial
    window of their development, which stunts their
    growth and weakens their resistance to disease.

36
  • Sex-selective abortions are even more common than
    infanticides in India. They are growing ever more
    frequent as technology makes it simple and cheap
    to determine a fetus' gender. In Jaipur, a
    Western Indian city of 2 million people, 3,500
    sex-determined abortions are carried out every
    year. The gender ratio across India has dropped
    to an unnatural low of 927 females to 1,000 males
    due to infanticide and sex-based abortions.

37
  • China has its own long legacy of female
    infanticide. In the last two decades, the
    government's infamous one-child policy has
    weakened the country's track record even more. By
    restricting household size to limit the
    population, the policy gives parents just one
    chance to produce a coveted son before being
    forced to pay heavy fines for additional
    children.
  • In 1997, the World Health Organization declared,
    "more than 50 million women were estimated to be
    'missing' in China because of the
    institutionalized killing and neglect of girls
    due to Beijing's population control program."

38
  • Statistics show that the neglect continues as
    they grow up. Young girls receive less food,
    healthcare and fewer vaccinations overall than
    boys.
  • Not much changes as they become women. Tradition
    calls for women to eat last, often reduced to
    picking over the leftovers from the men and boys.

39
  • Women in every society are vulnerable to abuse.
    But the threat is more severe for girls and women
    who live in societies where women's rights mean
    practically nothing. Mothers who lack their own
    rights have little protection to offer their
    daughters, much less themselves, from male
    relatives and other authority figures. The
    frequency of rape and violent attacks against
    women in the developing world is alarming.
    Forty-five percent of Ethiopian women say that
    they have been assaulted in their lifetimes. In
    1998, 48 percent of Palestinian women admitted to
    being abused by an intimate partner within the
    past year.

40
  • In some cultures, the physical and psychological
    trauma of rape is compounded by an additional
    stigma. In cultures that maintain strict sexual
    codes for women, if a woman steps out of bounds
    by choosing her own husband, flirting in public,
    or seeking divorce from an abusive partnershe
    has brought dishonor to her family and must be
    disciplined. Often, discipline means execution.
    Families commit "honor killings" to salvage their
    reputation tainted by disobedient women.

41
  • For the young girls who escape these pitfalls and
    grow up relatively safely, daily life is still
    incredibly hard. School might be an option for a
    few years, but most girls are pulled out at age 9
    or 10 when they're useful enough to work all day
    at home. Nine million more girls than boys miss
    out on school every year, according to UNICEF.
    While their brothers continue to go to classes or
    pursue their hobbies and play, they join the
    women to do the bulk of the housework.

42
  • Housework in developing countries consists of
    continuous, difficult physical labor.
  • A girl is likely to work from before daybreak
    until the light drains away. She walks barefoot
    long distances several times a day carrying heavy
    buckets of water, most likely polluted, just to
    keep her family alive. She cleans, grinds corn,
    gathers fuel, tends to the fields, bathes her
    younger siblings, and prepares meals until she
    sits down to her own after all the men in the
    family have eaten.
  • Most families can't afford modern appliances, so
    her tasks must be done by handcrushing corn into
    meal with heavy rocks, scrubbing laundry against
    rough stones, kneading bread and cooking gruel
    over a blistering open fire.
  • There is no time left in the day to learn to read
    and write or to play with friends. She collapses
    exhausted each night, ready to wake up the next
    morning to start another long workday.

43
Feminist Theory
  • A summary by Professor Sandra Whitworth, York
    University

44
  • Even though the word feminism implies a single
    monolithic approach, in fact feminists argue and
    disagree with one another quite strongly about
    the main sources of oppression and what to do
    about them

45
  • Liberal feminists concerned with representation
    (and primarily, the under-representation) of
    women within the public spheres of modern life
  • Why are women under-represented? How do we make
    that representation more equal?

46
  • Radical feminists locate relations of inequality
    in patriarchy
  • Women and men are essentially different from one
    another
  • They would agree with liberals that women need to
    be more represented in the public sphere, but not
    on equality rights grounds, but rather on the
    ground that women bring a different voice to
    politics
  • They would also expand the sites of politics
    not simply the public sphere, but also the
    private sphere, the bedroom, the family, the body

47
  • Postmodern feminists agree that politics exist
    everywhere, but resist the radical feminist
    impulse to define women and men
  • More interested in deconstructing the assumed
    naturalness of various political categories,
    including the category woman

48
  • Critical feminists agree with postmodernists that
    the prevailing discourses about femininity and
    masculinity are essential to understand how both
    women and men are oppressed,
  • but argue for greater attention to the material
    conditions of peoples lives i.e. their real
    lived condition, which will be affected by class,
    race, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and so on

49
  • Islamic feminism
  • aims for the full equality of all Muslims,
    regardless of gender, in public and private life.
  • advocates womens rights, gender equality, and
    social justice grounded in an Islamic framework.
  • Rooted in Islam, the movement's pioneers have
    also utilized secular and Western feminist
    discourses and recognize the role of Islamic
    feminism as part of an integrated global feminist
    movement.
  • Advocates of the movement seek to highlight the
    deeply rooted teachings of equality in the Quran
    and encourage a questioning of the patriarchal
    interpretation of Islamic teaching through the
    Quran, hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad), and
    sharia (Islamic law) towards the creation of a
    more equal and just society.

50
The Better Half Helping Women Help the World, by
Isobel Coleman, Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb
2010 http//www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65728
/isobel-coleman/the-better-half
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