Gender powerfully shapes our lives. How we interact with others, how much we earn at work, how we divide household chores, what majors we choose, how doctors treat our pain, what products we buy, and even how many orgasms we have all differ by gender!
In SOC 364: Women in the Social Structure, we’ll explore how and why these and other gender differences not only exist but persist. For sociologists, the answer lies in the “social structure,” or the ways social institutions reproduce inequality. While some claim gender inequality is the result of biology, sociologists argue the opposite. For sociologists, gender exists because it justifies inequality. There is nothing “natural” about gender, rather, gender is actively created and recreated by society to justify the current social structure. Although the course is titled “Women in the Social Structure,” we will explore the experience of men and nonbinary people, too. Yet gender is not our only important identity. Other identities like race, class, and sexuality (to name only a few) intersect with gender to reproduce inequality in complex ways. To understand these complexities, this course prioritizes intersectional analyses of gender whenever possible.