Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues


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By tracing the lineage of current feminist literature on globalization to women and development research, Joan Acker shows both the continuities and distance traveled from the previous terrain of debate. New feminist scholarship on globalization owes a debt to these important, albeit limited, studies of women at work in Latin America, Africa and Asia, but acknowledges the need to go beyond the category of women to analyze specific forms and cultural expressions of gendered power in relationship to class and other hierarchies.

This extends the case she made in her earlier pioneering research on gender relations being embedded in the organization of major institutions. For the study of globalization, Acker posits that the gendered construction and cultural coding of capitalist production separated from human reproduction has resulted in subordination of women in both domains. As an article outlining debates on the nature of globalization and of gender, it serves as a good introduction to the topic.

This definition encompasses the economic, political cultural and social dimensions of globalization.


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This article could serve as background reading or as part of an introductory section. Arlie Russell Hochschild, Arlie Russell. Metropolitan Books. Women in rich countries are turning over care work nannies, maids, elder care to female migrant workers who can be paid lower wages with few or no benefits and minimal legal protections. Women migrate not only to escape poverty, but also to escape patriarchy in their home countries by earning an independent income and by physical autonomy from patriarchal obligations and expectations.

Many female migrants who leave poor countries can earn more money as nannies and maids in the First World than in occupations nurses, teachers, clerical workers if they remained in their own country. This chapter can be used in a section dealing with the specific topic of globalization and care work or in a section introducing the topic of gendered labor activities. This group of prominent social geographers from the UK collaborates to great effect in a welcome addition to the literature theorizing the complex articulations of gender and class in global cities.

Parrenas, Rhacel Salazar Walby, Sylvia.


  1. Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality.
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  6. Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities. London: Sage. It synthesizes and reviews a vast literature, ranging from the social sciences to the natural sciences to construct a new approach to theorizing the development of gender regimes in comparative perspective.

    Sylvia Walby seeks to explain the different patterns of inequalities across a large number of countries. As in the past, Walby is not afraid to tackle big questions and to offer new answers. There is more to the book than abstract theoretical debates. Walby poses and assesses alternative political projects for achieving equality.

    Welcome to the Purdue OWL

    The book is an original contribution that will likely influence sociology in general and theories of social change in particular. The website includes information on global initiatives such as zero tolerance of violence against women, the impact of the economic crisis on women migrant workers, and strategizing for gender proportionate representation in Nigeria. These separate indicators in addition to the gender equity index are arrayed by country.

    Mapping these indicators across countries presents a comparative picture of the absolute and relative standing of women and gender equity in the world. To what extent is globalization new?

    Feminist Approaches to Literature | Great Writers Inspire

    Or is globalization another phase of a long historical process? Are patriarchal arrangements changing as a result of greater economic integration at the world level? How does it relate to the case of Philippine migrant workers? Do new flexible production processes and flexible work arrangements undercut such legal protections? If we place feminist movements and practices into theorizations of globalization, how do we change the ways we understand politics in the contemporary moment?

    London: Arnold. Amin, Ash and Nigel Thrift. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gottfried, Heidi. In Greece men do not participate significantly in family issues; they participate more than previous years, but still this is not enough.

    Feminist Approaches to Literature

    At the higher echelons of the medical profession there are few women, even though they are very good, of very high standard. The few women I know in leadership positions in medicine are high performers and must be better than their male counterparts. Women have to prove themselves constantly, which is different from men who, once they reach a certain level, are more accepted by fellow men.

    Here it is a male dominated situation in terms of power, […] even though women are treated as equal to equal in terms of scientific competence. Our organization is male dominated; the rules of the game are quite male friendly and women unfriendly. Social and professional exclusion due to stereotypes and bias was articulated explicitly as being one of the major barriers to career advancement:.

    Women are in a disadvantaged position. To be honest, we have not yet reached a satisfactory level of women representation. The strong positioning of traditional cultural values in the Maltese social reality appears to demarcate the boundaries of expected roles, responsibilities and claims for women and induces social consequences when trespassing these boundaries:. Our culture, our society, enforces a lot of guilt on women coming not only from men, but from women as well.

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    So being a woman, a doctor and occupying a top position, is strange, you know; there is so much unjustified jealousy and criticism. On the contrary, Greek society seems to be more concerned about gaining power and social status; the achieved and ascribed status is desirable and sought after:. A woman in Greece coming from a middle or lower social class faces often tough criticism from her social environment should she choose to prioritize her career over her family.

    Furthermore, a dysfunctional gap between gained professional recognition and the respective culturally legitimized authority was reported:. Medicine is a science, there is no hierarchy, but this is not always given within social system. Age was proposed by interviewees as a biological barrier holding back women during career stages of critical importance due to its coinciding with pregnancy and childbirth.

    Furthermore, sexual harassment as a means of power exertion to offer or to pursue career advancement top down to bottom up and vice versa was reported as a well-known, often unvoiced occurrence limiting opportunities on non-meritocratic grounds. These were deemed instrumental in retaining highly qualified women leaders in middle management ranks. On the other hand, complying with social expectations and in the absence of supporting structures and flexible working policies, women often opted for more family-friendly specialties.

    For example, specialties with programmed working hours eg, public health, radiology, dermatology were more likely to be sought by women compared to more time-demanding, unprogrammed and stressful specialties eg, surgery, oncology. This has the effect of limiting career choice. Compromising aspirations for career endeavors have also been approached as a culturally driven type of competition between spouses, affecting both genders in terms of social status.

    However, it was commonly accepted that, even though talented women have typically equal access to career advancement opportunities, career—family dilemmas, deeply socially rooted biases and organizational culture and practices reduce their odds for attaining success. For example, time constraints in clinical leading roles may manifest differently than in academic roles urgency vs long hours. This would contribute to evidence-based research, facilitating the development of evidence-informed policy in this field. For example, Newman et al 39 , 63 discuss several gendered constraints in pre-service and in-service education and employment systems hindering gender equality and diversity in health workforce research, leadership and governance.

    Similarly, Kuhlmann et al 64 , 65 consider challenges in terms of leadership at all levels of management and organizational performance. Bismark et al 47 identified and interpreted a range of barriers across medical leadership roles through the perceptions of capability, capacity and credibility. Schuh et al 66 reported sociocultural constraints lowering power motivation to aspiring women leaders and, thus, mediating the link between gender and leadership role imbalances.

    The plethora of barriers 20 for Greece and 21 for Malta with striking differences in the reported frequency corroborates essential sociocultural features of EU-Med countries. Cultural expressions include the ability to gain compliance and recognition, the distinction between power and culturally legitimate authority, 9 as indicated by the. Yet, generalization may be dangerous and lead to misunderstandings and prejudices 1 unless subculture context, such as the healthcare profession, is taken into consideration.

    Paraphrasing Parsons, 69 it may be argued that anything so general as gender asymmetries may be the result of a canvas of different factors deeply involved in the foundations of society, the qualities of which are sociocultural dependent. In alignment, the Maltese approach that. Men have more of a lust for power, they are after power for the sake of power; women are more consensus seekers, cooperative and very logical.

    Following Durkheim, 11 that the structure and quality of social relationships in terms of private life influence modes of thinking and cultural interaction, it may be suggested that gender-ascribed roles and responsibilities have been institutionalized and culturally legitimized in both countries. In line with this, Fox et al 71 noted that the hierarchical gender stratification of careers is being seconded by informal gender classifications in the society. This was also reported by an interviewee.

    Nonetheless, health professions are still held in high regard socially. However, even though culture should be considered a mix of constant influences, the boundaries among societies are vague. The observed cultural tightness seems to moderate the degree to which egalitarian practices may be receptive by social dividends to accept, implement and sustain such changes.

    Approaching gender equality through a feminine lens

    However, healthcare professions being in high social regard, their potential to serve as a catalyst to social and cultural transformation, to challenge established norms and values and offer role models to social settings should not be underestimated. Considering the multiple social identities a person bears and the societal impact that they may generate, it may be argued that healthcare leaders should be reckoned as a critical component in an agenda for positive social change. Further research on the impact of these tripartite interactions across cultures is very much needed.

    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues
    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues
    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues
    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues
    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues
    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues
    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues
    Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender: A Guide to Gender Issues

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