Culture, Class, and Work among Arab-American Women

By Jen’Nan Ghazal Read | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Theoretical Significance of
Women’s Labor Force
Participation

A considerable body of research over the past thirty years has addressed the historical origins and persistence of gender inequality. Male domination has characterized every known society, and evolutionary theories of gender inequality have identified many possible determinants of macrolevel variations in gender stratification. Although theories differ, most scholars agree that the relative economic power allocated to men and women is one of the most important determinants of gender inequality in any given society (e.g. Blumberg, 1984; Chafetz, 1988; Cotter et al., 1998). In other words, gender equality is greatest where there is a greater balance of economic power between men and women.

Sociologists, anthropologists, and historians concur that women’s economic power is primarily determined by the division of labor between the domestic and public spheres (Blumberg, 1984; Kerber, 1988; Sanday, 1974). Women’s biological ability to reproduce and the subsequent social prescription of domesticity confines them to the home and keeps them dependent on men. Conversely, men are freer to participate in and control the public sphere. This

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Culture, Class, and Work among Arab-American Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Theoretical Significance of Women’s Labor Force Participation 11
  • Chapter 3 - The Case for Arab Americans 25
  • Chapter 4 - Arab-American Women in Comparative Perspective 41
  • Chapter 5 - Determinants of Arab-American Women’s Economic Achievements 87
  • Chapter 6 - Conclusion 115
  • Appendix A 121
  • Appendix B 133
  • References 135
  • Index 151
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