Advertisement

Gender Issues

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 61–86 | Cite as

Gender inequality in childhood: Toward a life course perspective

  • Dawn Michelle Baunach
Articles

Abstract

Gender inequality does not begin with adulthood, yet scholarship has dealt most appreciably with indicators summarizing patterns for adults. Life course differences need to be recognized and incorporated into the study of gender inequality. I propose various societal practices (such as female infanticide, harsher punishment, social ceremonies, and inclusion) and beliefs (such as son preference, affection, and evaluation) as cross-cultural indicators of gender inequality in childhood. The analysis of preindustrial societies in the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (Murdock and White, 1969) finds that childhood gender inequality is related to hunger, warfare, patrilocality, and the economic contribution and control of women. Childhood gender inequality shares some similarities with adulthood gender inequality but differs in theoretically relevant ways; for example, familial explanations, which are often relegated to secondary status in gender inequality theory, are high-lighted. The implications of focusing on childhood and the life course for gender inequality theory are discussed.

Keywords

Gender Inequality Gender Issue Economic Contribution Gender Stratification Guttman Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aden, A. S., M. M. Omar, H. M. Omar, V. Hogberg, L. A. Person, and S. Wall. 1997. “Excess Female Mortality in Rural Somalia—Is Inequality in the Household a Risk Factor?” Social Science and Medicine, 44, 709–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aries, P. 1962. Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life. (R. Baldick, Translator). New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  3. Barry, H., III, L. Josephson, E. Lauer, and C. Marshall. 1980a. Traits Inculcated in Childhood: Crosscultural Codes 5. In H. Barry III and A. Schlegel (Eds.), Cross-Cultural Codes and Samples (pp. 205–236). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  4. — 1980b. Agents and Techniques for Child Training: Cross-cultural Codes 6. In H. Barry III and A. Schlegel (Eds.), Cross-Cultural Codes and Samples (pp. 237–276). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  5. — and L. M. Paxson. 1980. Infancy and Early Childhood: Cross-cultural Codes 2. In H. Barry III and A. Schlegel (Eds.), Cross-Cultural Codes and Samples (pp. 161–203). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  6. — and A. Schlegel. 1982. “Cross-cultural Codes on Contributions by Women to Subsistence.” Ethnology, 21, 165–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ben-Amos, I. K. 1995. “Adolescence as a Cultural Invention: Philippe Aries and the Sociology of Youth.” History of the Human Sciences, 8(2), 69–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blumberg, R. L. 1978. Stratification: Socioeconomic and Sexual Inequality. Dubuque: William C. Brown Co. Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. — 1984. “A General Theory of Gender Stratification.” Sociological Theory, 2, 23–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. — and R. F. Winch. 1972. “Societal Complexity and Familial Complexity: Evidence for the Curvilinear Hypothesis,” American Journal of Sociology, 77, 898–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bradley, C. 1993. “Women's Power, Children's Labor.” Cross-Cultural Research, 27, 70–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brison, K. J. 1999. “Hierarchy in the World of Fijian Children.” Ethnology, 38, 97–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Buchmann, C. 2000. “Family Structure, Parental Perceptions, and Child Labor in Kenya: What Factors Determine Who is Enrolled in School?” Social Forces, 78, 1349–1378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Burton, A. 1989. “Looking Forward from Aries? Pictorial and Material and Material Evidence for the History of Childhood and Family Life.” Continuity and Change, 4, 203–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chafetz, J. S. 1984. Sex and Advantage: A Comparative, Macro-Structural Theory of Sex Stratification. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Allanheld Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. — 1988. “The Gender Division of Labor and the Reproduction of Female Disadvantage.” Journal of Family Issues, 9, 108–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Collins, R. 1975. Conflict Sociology: Toward an Explanatory Science. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  18. —, J. S. Chafetz, R. L. Blumberg, S. Coltrane, and J. H. Turner. 1993. “Toward an Integrated Theory of Gender Stratification.” Sociological Perspectives, 36, 185–216.Google Scholar
  19. Coltrane, S. 1988. “Father-Child Relationships and the Status of Women: A Cross-Cultural Study.” American Journal of Sociology, 93, 1060–1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Corson, D. J. 1992. “Language, Gender and Education: A Critical Review Linking Social Justice and Power.” Gender and Education, 4, 229–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cubbins, L. A. 1991. “Women, Men, and the Division of Power: A Study of Gender Stratification in Kenya.” Social Forces, 69, 1063–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Divale, W. T. 1974. “Migration, External Warfare, and Matrilocal Residence.” Behavior Science Research, 9, 75–134.Google Scholar
  23. — and M. Marris. 1976. “Population, Warfare, and the Male Supremacist Complex.” American Anthropologist, 78, 521–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dunn, D., E. M. Almquist, and J. S. Chafetz. 1993. Macrostructural Perspectives on Gender Inequality. In P. England (Ed.), Theory on Gender. Feminism on Theory (pp. 69–90). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  25. Dunn, D., E. M. Almquist, and J. S. Chafetz. 1993. Macrostructural Perspectives on Gender Inequality. In: P. England (Ed.), Theory on Gender. Feminism on Theory (pp. 69–90). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  26. Durkheim, E. [1915] 1965. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. (K. E. Fields Translator) New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ember, C. R. 1974. “An Evaluation of Alternative Theories of Matrilocal versus Patrilocal Residence.” Behavior Science Research, 9, 135–50.Google Scholar
  28. Ember, M., and C. R. Ember. 1971. “The Conditions Favoring Matrilocal versus Patrilocal Residence.” American Anthropologist, 73, 571–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Engels, F. [1884] 1986. The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  30. Freeman, M. R. 1971. “A Social and Ecological Analysis of Systematic Female Infanticide among the Netsilik Eskimo.” American Anthropologist, 73, 1011–1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Friedman, D., M. Hechter, and S. Kanazawa. 1994. “A Theory of the Value of Children.” Demography, 31, 375–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gottlieb, A. 2000. “Where Have All the Babies Gone? Toward and Anthropology of Infants (and Their Caretakers).” Anthropological Quarterly, 73(2), 121–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Harris, M. 1993. The Evolution of Human Gender Hierarchies: A Trial Formulation. In B. D. Miller (Ed.), Sex and Gender Hierarchies (pp. 57–79). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. — and E. B. Ross. 1987. Death, Sex, and Fertility: Population Regulation in Preindustrial and Developing Societies. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hendrix, L. 1994. “What is Sexual Inequality? On the Definition and Range of Variation.” Cross-Cultural Research, 28, 287–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. — and Z. Hossain. 1988. “Women's and Mode of Production: A Cross-Cultural Test.” Signs, 13, 437–53.Google Scholar
  37. Hewlett, B. S. 1991. “Demography and Childcare in Preindustrial Societies.” Journal of Anthropological Research, 47, 1–37.Google Scholar
  38. Heyzer, N. 1996. “The Girl Child at Risk.” Development, 1, 58–62.Google Scholar
  39. Huber, J. 1986. “Trends in Gender Stratification, 1970–1985.” Sociological Forum, 1, 476–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. — 1990. “Macro-Micro Links in Gender Stratification.” American Sociological Review, 55, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jackson, S., and S. Scott. 2000. Childhood. In G. Payne (Ed.), Social Divisions (pp. 152–184). New York: Saint Martin's Press.Google Scholar
  42. Jeffe, D. B. 1995. “About Girls' ‘Difficulties’ in Science: A Social, Not a Personal, Matter.” Teachers College Record, 97, 206–226.Google Scholar
  43. Jeffery, R., P. Jeffery, and A. Lyon. 1984. “Female Infanticide and Amniocentesis.” Social Science and Medicine, 19, 1207–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Johnson, G. D., and L. Hendrix. 1982. “A Cross-Cultural Test of Collins's Theory of Sexual Stratification.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 44, 675–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Matthews, S., O. Manor, and C. Power. 1999. “Social Inequalities in Health: Are There Gender Differences?” Social Science and Medicine, 48, 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McCall, L. 2000. “Gender and the New Inequality: Explaining the College/Non-College Wage Gap.” American Sociological Review, 65, 234–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mead, M. [1928] 1961. Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation. Morrow Quill.Google Scholar
  48. — [1935] 1963 Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.Google Scholar
  49. Miller, B. D. 1981. The Endangered Sex: Neglect of Female Children in Rural North India. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Murdock, G. P. 1967. “Ethnographic Atlas: A Summary.” Ethnology, 6, 109–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. — and D. O. Morrow. 1970. “Subsistence Economy and Supportive Practices: Cross-Cultural Codes 1. Ethnology, 9, 302–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. — and C. Provost. 1980. Measurement of Cultural Complexity. In H. Barry III and A. Schlegel (Eds.) Cross-Cultural Samples and Codes (pp. 147–160) Pittsburgh: University of Pitts-burgh Press.Google Scholar
  53. — and D. R. White. 1969. “Standard Cross-Cultural Sample” Ethnology, 8, 329–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. — and S. F. Wilson. 1980. Settlement Patterns and Community Organization: Cross-Cultural Codes 3. In H. Barry III and A. Schlegel (Eds.), Cross-Cultural Samples and Codes (pp. 75–116) Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  55. Nieuwenhuys, O. 1996. “The Paradox of Child Labor and Anthropology.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 25, 237–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ortner, S. B. 1974. “The Virgin and the State.” Feminist Studies, 4, 19–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. — 1990. “Gender Hegemonies.” Cultural Critique, 14, 35–80.Google Scholar
  58. Pampel, F. C. and M. Hardy. 1994. “Changes in Income Inequality during Old Age.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 13, 239–263.Google Scholar
  59. Prus, S. G. 2000. “Income Inequality as a Canadian Cohort Ages: An Analysis of the Later Life Course.” Research on Aging, 22, 211–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ren, X. S. 1995. “Sex Differences in Infant and Child Mortality in Three Provinces in China.” Social Science and Medicine, 40, 1259–1269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Riches, D. 1974. “The Netsilik Eskimo: A Special Case of Selective Female Infanticide.” Ethnology, 13, 351–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sacks, K. 1974. Engels Revisited: Women, the Organization of Production, and Private Property. In M. Rosaldo and L. Lamphere (Eds.), Women, Culture, and Society (pp. 207–222). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Sanday, P. R. 1974. Female Status in the Public Domain. In M. Rosaldo and L. Lamphere (Eds.), Women, Culture, and Society (pp. 189–206). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. —. 1981. Female Power and Male Dominance: On the Origins of Sexual Inequality. New York: Cambridge Unversity Press.Google Scholar
  65. Schlegel, A. 1979. “Sexual Antagonism among the Sexually Egalitarian Hopi.” Ethos, 7, 124–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. —. 1987. “Child Survival: A Village-Level Investigation of some Cultural Factors Associated with Morbidity and Mortality in South India.” Human Organization, 46, 348–55.Google Scholar
  67. Shostak, M. 1981. Nisa, The Life and Words of a Kung Woman. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  68. Smith, D. E. 2000. “Schooling for Inequality.” Signs, 25, 1147–1151.Google Scholar
  69. Stromquist, N. P. 1990. “Gender Inequality in Education: Accounting for Women's Subordination.” British Journal of Sociology of Education, 11, 137–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Suar, D. 1974. “Discrimination Against the Girl Child in India.” Social Action, 44, 14–26.Google Scholar
  71. Tienda, M. and H. Stier. 1996. “Generating Labor Market Inequality: Employment Opportunities and the Accumulation of Disadvantage.” Social Problems, 43, 147–165.Google Scholar
  72. Tsai, S. L., H. Gates, and H. Y. Chiu. 1994. “Schooling Taiwan's Women: Educational Attainment in the Mid-20th Century.” Sociology of Education, 67: 243–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Turnbull, C. M. 1962. The Forest People: A Study of the Pygmies of the Congo. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc.Google Scholar
  74. — 1972. The Mountain People. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc.Google Scholar
  75. Tzannatos, Z. 1999. “Women and Labor Market Changes in the Global Economy: Growth Helps, Inequalities Hurt and Public Policy Matters.” World Development, 27, 551–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Volman, M., E. Van Eck, and G. Ten Dam 1995. “Girls in Science and Technology: The Development of a Discourse.” Gender and Education, 7, 283–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Whyte, M. K. 1978. “Cross-Cultural Codes Dealing with the Relative Status of Women.” Ethnology, 17, 211–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Young, G., L. Fort, and M. Danner. 1994. “Moving from ‘the Status of Women’ to ‘Gender Inequality’: Conceptualisation, Social Indicators and an Empirical Application.” International Sociology, 9, 55–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zimmerman, L., B. Mitchell, A. Wister, and G. Gutman. 2000. “Unanticipated Consequences: A Comparison of Expected and Actual Retirement Timing among Older Women.” Journal of Women & Aging, 12, 109–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlanta

Personalised recommendations