Gender Stratification and Women in Developing Nations
Axia College – SOC 120
“More countries have understood that women's equality is a prerequisite for development,” Kofi Annan, 2001
In developing nations, women are not provided with the same rights as women in America. In America women have equal rights with men in all areas of society; such as education, career, and the government. However, there are still many countries where women do not have equal rights with men. Social inequality exists in many countries where women do not receive that same education and treatment as men. Women also are not given the same opportunities to succeed in life, with many women in developing countries not given the option to enter a career. If we are to move towards a future with equal rights and equal treatment to all women, then we first must learn and understand about gender stratification and women in developing countries. In order to learn about stratification and the treatment of women, we must learn about the differences between genders and societies view of women.
Many view gender as simply as stating that somebody is a female or male depending upon physicality. However gender is more complex than the physical aspect of sex. Society has determined that there are specific personal traits and social aspects that categorize somebody as female or male. In the eyes of society, women have been categorized throughout centuries as the fairer sex. This meaning that women are considered anything such as: weak, fickle, dainty, dependent, nurturing, loving, and emotional. While men are considered to be the opposite of women, and as such they are the head of the household and need to be strong and providing, in both a mental and physical sense. Men need to be strong by keeping their emotions in control, as well as physically strong in order to protect the family. This type of viewpoint of man has been around for centuries, and even though modern times have given women more rights in some nations, society still views men as having those types of characteristics. The differences society has placed on men and women have nothing to do with biology, and everything to do with the culture of a society. Wermuth & Monges (2002) state that it is culture that “plays a mediating role in shaping the status of women (p.2). Due to the differences between gender, society has also placed men above women. This is what creates a gender stratification; which is the “unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women” (Macionis, 2006).
The type of society that has been discussed reflects that of American society, where the culture has advanced throughout the years and men and women have equal rights in all aspects of society. However, there are other types of societies that culture has placed a different relationship between man and woman. These types of societies are: hunting and gathering societies, horticulture societies, advanced horticulture societies, agrarian societies, and industrial societies (Wermuth & Monges, 2002). Hunting and gathering societies could easily describe small tribes such as Native Americans. In this type of society, there is a low inequality between man and woman due to the need for mutual cooperation for survival (Wermuth & Monges, 2002). In this type of society man has a specific role, as does the woman. These roles are split between the sexes in order for fair work and respect between the two. Without mutual cooperation in this society, then the tribe would not be successful. The next type of society according to Wermuth & Monges (2002) is a horticulture society. A horticulture society places high values in family lineage, and uses marriage as a way of connecting families of importance. Within a horticulture society, the importance of family lineage does not always revert to the male line, as it could be the female who has the lineage desired and also has the...
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Long, R. (2008). Gender stratification. Retrieved from http://www.delmar.edu/socsci/rlong/intro/gender.htm
Macionis, J. J. (2006). Society: The basics (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall
Seguino, S., & Grown, C. (2006). Gender equity and globalization: Macroeconomic policy for developing countries. Journal of International Development, 18(), 1-46.
Wermuth, L., & Monges, M. (2002). Gender Stratification. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 23(1), 1. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
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