Foundations in Human Geography - Gender

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  • Created by: Howard
  • Created on: 31-03-16 18:30

What is Gender?

- Social constructed rather than biologically fixed. Distinction between sex and gender is problematic.

- 'Gender is not simply about the different social roles of women and men: it is about the relations between them, and it is these relations which underline the distinct roles' (pain, 2001: 121).

- 'Situated Knowledges' acknowlodges that all knowledge comes from somewhere, we use it to aid our understanding - therefore it is partial and always being created. 

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The Home

There is a traditional division between public male spaces and private female space - e.g the home. The home is also a site of identity, power, relations and also acts as a neutral container. 

- Social / Religious values can shape built environments --> raises questions over public / private space? whose values?

Gender and the Home

- Pre-industrial homes incorporated productive and reproductive activities. Industrialisation led to seperation of both these - women became the norm for house work.

- Post WWII concerns that women would not return to the home, increased women working --> dual burden.


- This is a simplistic view, the relationship is much more contested than first thought.

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Home as a site of resistance

- Patriarchy

- Age

- Race / Ethinicity

- Bell Hooks (1990) highlighted that the home was a site for the struggle in equality in the USA.

The challenge of competiting the 'traditional nuclear family'...there were rises in single parents and same sex couples. LGBT homes can provide a space 'of sanctuary from the heterosexualoty of the public world' (Valentine, 2001).

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Home as a site of violence

- The home acts as refuge - so people in violent relationships may stay in ect...

- Violence used to only apply to women as such, now to U18s and not just physical abuse.

Gender & Development

'Third world women' subject to more opression due to race ect...development has always been 'gender blind'. The importance of traditional female roles overlooked.

- Gender analysis is now a widely accepted part of devlopment. The world bank is supporting devloping nations efforts to improve women's rights. Women's rights are a special theme of the 'international devlopment association (2011-2014)'.

Women in Participation

- 'Fruits of the Nile' -> Ugandan NGO, subsidies for fruit growers - 70% of producers female, new technologies such as 'solar drying'.

- Business -> Padakkep (NGO) + Chittagoing Hill Tracts Rural Development Project - Bangladesh, group of 15 women - help set up loans for business. 10,000 women positiveley empowered.

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