I need to write a paper on inequalities among men and women and their roles in society, using social interactions, norms, social organizations, and job expectations as guides.
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This sort of inquiry is best examined through Claude Levi-Strauss’s structural theories, notably the consistent social structures of gender roles in the family. In virtually every society, the tasks of survival are shared by a male and a female couple, and the division of tasks is determined by the simple facts of strength, pregnancy, and (more complicated) social predeterminism. The male was the hunter for clear reasons; with the hunt’s results came “power” in the tribe. The term “inequalities” only comes into play in modern societies, where freedom of choice and privilege are emphasized and allowed to be questioned, where the “natural” (ie., biological) predilections are challenged. The modern (post-WWII) western workplace is a clear example: when the world war allowed, in fact demanded, a more amorphous interpretation of gender roles (for example, women in military assembly lines), the presumptions of gender roles broke down, bringing about a more modern set of criteria – intelligence, flexibility, etc., traits that crossed gender lines. Today, women in the military are commonplace, as in the workplace, and with this de-emphasis on gender differences come revivified opportunities for promotions and power. It is difficult to make arguments for inequalities in modern society (not that they don’t exist; just that they are no longer defendable). The most fruitful area of inquiry for the essay-writer is the managerial skill required to adjust to the new demand for equality – how does a manager, for example, accommodate workers with pre-school age children? Or how can a manager benefit from a larger, more diverse, work force? Or to what degree are the statistics of unemployment, etc. warped by the fairly recent changes in the relation of family to work society? A larger question, dealing more with economics than sociology, might be how the economy has adjusted to the two-provider family model.
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