18 - Family Transition Status Women

18 - Family Transition Status Women - SOCI 121: Population...

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F AMILY AND H OUSEHOLD T RANSITION : THE S TATUS OF W OMEN Objectives: Discuss the Family and Household Transition and the Status of Women Talk about gender equity and the role of demographic change in women’s empowerment Class Notes: The Family Transition and the Status of Women A critical element in explaining how demographic changes have contributed to the increasing diversity in household structure is the changing set of life chances that people are experiencing in the US and all over the world. o These include especially education, labor force participation, occupation, and income, which in turn affect gender roles (the social roles considered appropriate for males and females) and marital status. Given the fact that societies have historically changed in response to demographic conditions, it should be no surprise to you that since the end of World War II, with demographic conditions undergoing tremendous change all over the globe, the status of women is one of the facets of social organization undergoing a significant transition. Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women The demographic transition does not inherently produce gender equity and the empowerment of women, but it creates the conditions under which they are much more likely to happen. o The combination of longer life and lower fertility, even if achieved in an environment in which women are still oppressed, opens the eyes of society – including women themselves – to the fact that women are in a position to contribute to society in the same way that men do when not burdened by full-time parenting responsibilities. o The combination of low mortality and low fertility typically occurs in an urban setting, which means that women have many more opportunities than would exist in rural areas to achieve the same kind of economic and social independence that men have had for much of human history. At no time in human history has there been a good justification for the domination of women by men, but the demographic conditions that prevailed for most of human history facilitated that domination. o Demographic conditions no longer provide that prop and in most of the world. Therefore the impediment to full social, economic, and political empowerment of women is simply the attitude of men, often aided by women who have grown up in the system of male domination. The changes under way mean that the life chances of women are beginning to equal those of men, and thus women are in a position to voluntarily head their own household if they want to, or to do so successfully even if forced into that position. o It is certainly no coincidence that those countries still in the earlier stages of the demographic transition are also those were the rights of women are most trampled. 1
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2008 for the course SOCI 121 taught by Professor Lazar during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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18 - Family Transition Status Women - SOCI 121: Population...

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