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12. Gender and Society

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the more restricted usage of gender. The aim of the chapter is to emphasize three main aspects relevant to a comparative approach. First, is the ubiquity of gender differences in all societies and the way gender ascriptions shape individual lives. In most societies this differentiation entails inequality and disadvantage. Second, a comparative approach to gender reveals the variability and cultural specificity of gender relations in different epochs, nations and contexts. This in turn points to a third key aspect of gender differences: their potential changeability and the consequent hope of feminists for increased equality. A positive step towards gender equality was the increase in women's labor force participation. The major exception is in South Asia, where, industrial development appears to have had a negative effect on women's employment.

Keywords: gender differences; gender equality; gender relations; industrial capitalist society; women's employment



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