Women and Gender in the Modern World
Module 1 – What is Women’s Studies?
Ward and Edelstein: Introduction,
Crow and Gottell: Pp.1-9 “Introduction”
Pp. 11-16 “Who is the woman of Canadian Women’ Studies?” Pp. 29-35 “Introducing Racism: Notes towards an Anti-Racist Feminism” Pp. 35-48 “Canadian Anti-Racist Feminist Thought: Scratching the Surface” Pp. 65-70 “Riding the Feminist Waves: In with the Thirds” Brettell and Sargent: Pp.13-28 “Delusions of Gender: What Does It all Mean, Anyway? And Brain Scams.”
Peggy McIntosh: “White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack” This article will be cited several times throughout the course. Students are urged to bookmark the URL.
This module introduces the student to the subject of women’s studies. The focus of the readings includes: (a) a review of what women’s studies is and why we need to continue to offer it in the curriculum; (b) how women’s studies has evolved over the years, especially since it was first taught in North American Universities in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. (c) To embrace the similarity, difference, privilege, oppression, power and sexuality that is a part of women’s lives. Attention is given to debunking some of the public myths and misconceptions about women’s studies and feminism.
The learning objectives of this lesson are:
1. To introduce students to a brief history of the development of women’s studies and how it has evolved as a discipline.
2. To enable students to understand that women’s studies is quite diverse and that the subject matter itself has both theoretical and methodological tensions.
3. For men and women to locate themselves in the material based upon their own life experiences (including race, ethnicity and culture).
4. For students to recognize that women’s studies are about gender issues which affect all people: men, women, transgendered–such as violence and economic exploitation.
5. To introduce students to some of the terms, concepts and theoretical views presented in the curriculum, such as sex, gender, gender roles, gender ideologies, the social construction of gender, agency.
· How hard is it for women in 2017? – https://ca.yahoo.com/news/quora-hard-women-2017-090002281.html
· Bibliography on gender bias in all academic disciplines – http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/03/08/newly-updated-for-international-womens-day-gender-bias-in-academe-bibliography/
· Gender inequality persists in Canada, around the globe: Ipsos poll – http://globalnews.ca/news/3291058/gender-inequality-persists-in-canada-around-the-globe-poll/
· Celebrating Women – http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/women/index-e.html
· Journal articles of interest – http://www.msvu.ca/atlantis/
This lesson will raise some questions, which will challenge you to think about feminism, its many definitions, and what it means to be a feminist. The so-called ‘first wave’ of feminism in the 60’s and 70’s focused on gender-based oppression. However, as bell hooks has pointed out, this first wave of feminists did not consider race, class or ethnicity. As hooks argues, “all forms of oppression are linked in our society because they are supported by similar. …structures” (1993). The second wave of feminism and in particular, the current ‘third wave’ focus on the various ways in which feminism can be understood, with all its branches, diversity and interpretations.
Assignment # 1
Why do we need women’s studies? What do the authors mean when they refer to the ‘third wave’ of feminism? How has women’s studies become linked with feminism? What comes to mind when you hear the term? Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not? Are there any particular groups of women absent in the literature on women’s studies? How does ‘white privilege’ as discussed by McIntosh, affect our worldview? Explore some of these issues as you reflect upon the readings for this module.
Module II – Women’s Culture: The work of gender and the gender of work
Ward & Edelstein: Chapter 1 “What’s for dinner, honey”? Work and Gender
Brettell and Sargent: Pp. 77-80 Domestic Worlds and Public Worlds Pp. 81-88 “The Domestic Sphere of Women and the Public World of Men” Pp. 119-123 Equality and Inequality: The Sexual Division of Labor and Gender Stratification” Pp. 124-130 “Woman the Hunter: The Agta” Pp. 131-138 “Gender, Horticulture and the Division of Labor on Vanatinai”
This module is a review of patterns of work and gender, the sexual division of labour and the multiplicity of work that women do- – from production to reproduction: piece work, homework, child work, sex work and the work of marriage. Particular attention is given to the socio-cultural issues of housewives and housework—is it valued? How is it valued? The readings examine what the sexual division of labour means for men and women in different cultures. It also begs the question of whether or not men ‘help’– in the home, with the children, with the chores and routines of daily living. Even asking the question automatically signals it as something out of the ordinary- – i.e., it is ‘expected’ of women, but men ‘help.’
The learning objectives of this lesson are:
1. To examine the different kinds of work that women do: kin-work and familial gatherings, home work, informal work and formal work, the double work day (second shift), and how this work affects women’s status within the society.
2. To outline ways in which women balance work and family and the implications and backlash for women who work both inside and outside the home.
3. To critically analyze ways in which men and women contribute to the family and household.
4. To examine why women’s work is underpaid and under-valued.
5. For students to become aware of some of the ways in which women’s work is ‘invisible’ and/or ‘made’ invisible.
· Icelandic Women protest – https://unitedhumanists.com/2016/10/27/women-in-iceland-protest-pay-gap-by-leaving-work-14-percent-early/
· How gender may define us – http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/why-do-the-norms-of-gender-dominate-our-existence/?utm_source=Aeon+newsletter&utm_campaign=aafdfa7066-Aeon_weekly_newsletter8_14_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_411a82e59d-aafdfa7066-68687929
· Women and the media – http://www.womenaction.org/global/wmrep.html
· Value of a ‘housewife’ – http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/shine-on/stay-home-mom-salary-worth-survey-suggests-125-174604921.html
See Power Point – Women, Work and Women’s Culture
This lesson examines women’s work and how it is viewed within our own culture, as well as cross-culturally. Since the work that women do is usually less visible and does not appear to contribute to the marketplace, it is often regarded as non-existent. But, the job of acquiring all the things needed to make a household and run that household is just that—a job. Just as we experience “the practice of sexist domination in family settings”, we also inherit biases about work and its sexual division through our enculturation (socialization). These ideas contribute to the invisibility of women’s contributions.
Assignment # 2
This assignment asks you to consider the sexual division of labour in our own society. Some of the questions you might address are: How is work ‘marked’ by gender? Who decides which jobs are done by men and which by women? Is shopping work? Is shopping gendered in our society? What kind of work is it and what skills are involved? If shopping is work, then do rich women work? How about poor women or those on social assistance? Can the State be considered as a ‘husband?” Do you think women’s work is de-valued and if so, why? How are household tasks allocated in your household and who is responsible for which tasks?
Alternative Option: Write an essay around some of the questions posed at the end of the chapter in Ward and Edelstein (p. 36).