Introduction to Week 3: gender inequality at home and in society
What do we mean by the home?By ‘the home’ we are including domestic responsibilities, such as housework, shopping and childcare and also other caring responsibilities – for example caring for ageing relatives. The boundary of the home therefore extends beyond the physical boundary of the home to include relationships and activities that span that boundary. Exploring the gendering of the home means understanding the nature of the unpaid work undertaken and who takes on certain roles. It also captures the decision-making processes, such as how and who makes decisions in the household.
What do we mean by the media?When exploring the media we are focusing on how women are represented in the public arena. By media we include any media, such as films and television programmes, posters and televisual advertisements, the news and increasingly social media. Media is important as it send messages about what is considered to be appropriate or even ideal behaviour and appearance, for example. The way people are treated in the media sends clear messages as to the possible reactions to or consequences of choices and actions. In other words who is praised, who is ridiculed, who is found attractive and who is found unattractive sets out some of the norms that we can anticipate experiencing in our everyday lives. The media plays a crucial role in forming and reforming our opinions, understandings and consequently our actions over time. Media offers us the most immediate insight into prevailing attitudes and how these are changing. Whilst historically largely driven by large organisations, the rise of social media means that these opinion forming ideas are also coming from the population at large and increasingly span the globe in their effects.
What do we mean by politics?Here we are not addressing politics as a workplace, but the implications of women’s representation in positions of political power. The more frequently that women secure positions of power the more opportunity there is to have their perspectives reflected in and influencing government policy. Whilst we have to be careful to avoid essentialising the experiences of women and assuming that women in positions of power necessarily means that the diversity of women’s experiences are adequately captured, it is clearly better to have women represented than not. As we have already touched on when exploring intersectionality – we also need to consider the intersection of class, race and so on to fully get the breadth of experiences in government and of course all women’s experiences are different. But having women in positions of influence is a crucial part of increasing gender equality. The introduction of gender mainstreaming has also influenced gender equality. Gender mainstreaming is a strategic focus requiring organisations to consider gender equality in all their activities, such as the development and implementation of policies, allocation of resources and legislation. This requires consideration of the interests of both men and women in policy-making.
This week we will
- Review the discussion from last week
- Explore the gendering of the home and domestic roles through a contemporary and historical lens.
- Consider the role of women in politics and why occupations of with power matter
- Explore representations of women in the media, and their stereotypes
Want to keep
University of Exeter online course,
Understanding Gender Inequality
Understanding Gender Inequality
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