Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
WOMAN AND SOCIETY

Woman and the Institutions. From the previous chapters in which we have studied the family, family relationships, problems of child welfare, and youth, we have noted many phases of life in which woman's position has been constantly changing. These changes have had to do not only with her position in society but with her individual development as well. So important, however, are they that further consideration must be devoted to the subject in its own right. In Chapter II we listed as one of a half-dozen of the most important worldwide social problems that of the readjustment of life and labor between men and women. If it were true that "woman's place is in the home" only, and on the same terms as have been prescribed in the past, it would not be necessary to continue the study of this problem in a separate chapter. But woman's place in all the other institutions and in social life in general has so changed as to make necessary many adjustments throughout society. In the family, in religion, in education, in politics, in industry, in the community at large, in the newer emphasis upon the individual and leadership, woman's place has not only changed greatly but has already altered numerous situations. In many respects man's attitude toward woman has not changed in proportion as she has advanced, thus leaving another serious "lag" in social relationships.

Man's Attitude Toward Woman. In our introductory chapters we emphasized the fact that in the common attitudes toward social problems and their study will be found one of our first fields of interest. Similarly it may be well to begin this study of woman's part in modern society in somewhat the same way. Although, as has often been pointed out, the most earnest efforts and the most eloquent pleas for the newer freedom of women have been made by men, it is still true that the great majority of men have inherited through many generations an adamant and stubborn attitude toward woman and her place. These attitudes

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