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Gender - Interaction Between Gender And Other Social Categories

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Thus far this discussion of gender has focused on the distinction between men and women. However, this complex social category interacts with other social categories, such as race and socioeconomic status. A person is not simply a man or a woman, but is also defined by his or her membership in other social categories.

Too much of the extant literature on gender has been limited to Western, white, middle-class men and women. Pamely Trotman Reid (1999) states that, "for the most part, theory and empirical study in the psychology of women have failed to recognize many distinctions among women" (p. 337). She specifically criticizes the exclusion of poor women in psychological research. Likewise, women of color have often been excluded in the study of women. Despite such limited research samples, researchers frequently interpret their results as if they describe all men and all women, which can lead to false deductions and conclusions (Weber, Higginbotham, and Leung 1999). Certainly a clearer understanding of gender requires careful consideration of the intersections between gender and socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, and a plethora of other categories that create and perpetuate power differentials in cultures around the globe.


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Reid, P. T. (1999). "Poor Women in Psychological Research: Shut Up and Shut Out." In Gender, Culture, and Ethnicity: Current Research about Women and Men, ed. L. A. Peplau, S. C. DeBro, R. C. Veniegas, and P. L. Taylor. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.

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Weber, L., Higginbotham, E., and Leung, M. L. A. (1999). "Race and Class Bias in Qualitative Research on Women." In Gender, Culture, and Ethnicity: Current Research about Women and Men, ed. L. A. Peplau, S. C. DeBro, R. C. Veniegas, and P. L. Taylor. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.

Other Resources

Tjaden, P., and Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Available from http://ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/181867.pdf.

United Nations. The World's Women 2000: Trends and Statistics. Available from http://www.un.org/Depts/unsd/ww2000/index.htm.

United States Census Bureau. (2001). Annual Demographic Survey. Available from http://ferret.bls. census.gov/macro/032001/pov/new01_000.htm.




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