Recent books have drawn attention to an unfinished gender revolution and the reversal of gender progress. However, this literature primarily focuses on gender inequality in the family and its effect on women’s career and family choices. While an important topic, these works are critiqued for being particularly attentive to the concerns of middle-class, heterosexual, White women and ignoring or erasing the issues and experiences of the vast majority of women throughout the United States (and other countries).
Women and Inequality in the 21st Century is an edited collection that addresses this dearth in the current literature. This book examines the continued inequities navigated by women occupying marginalized social positions within a "nexus of power relations." It addresses the experiences of immigrant women of color, aging women, normative gender constraints faced by lesbian and gender non-conforming individuals assigned the female gender at birth, religious constraints on women’s sexual expression, and religious and ethnic barriers impeding access to equality for women across the globe. Contributors to this collection reflect varying fields of inquiry—including sociology, psychology, theology, history, and anthropology. Their works employ empirical research methods, hermeneutic analysis, and narrative to capture the unique gender experiences and negotiations of diverse 21st-century women.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Inequality and the Complex Positionalities of 21st Century Women
Brittany C. Slatton and Carla D. Brailey
Section 1: An Unrealized Democracy
Gender Scholar Spotlight: Interview with Amrita Chakrabarti Myers
1. Beauty and the Beast of Inequality: A Historical Synopsis of Women’s Images as Barriers in American Labor, Politics and Entertainment
Kimberly Brown Pellum
2. Proper Defectum Sexus: Male Privilege over a Woman’s Body
Omar Swartz and Candace Nunag-Hicks
3. Democracy, Power, and Work
Section 2: Negotiating Inequitable Terrain
Gender Scholar Spotlight: Interview with Jen Jack Gieseking
4. Unfiltered: Male Strangers’ Sexist Behavior Towards Women
Melissa Ochoa Garza
5. I am American! Taiwanese Immigrant Women Battling Everyday Racism
6. Queer Faces, Unsafe Spaces: Everyday Discrimination Experiences of Lesbian and Gender Non-Conforming Women
Dresden N. Lackey and Rosalind S. Chou
7. But I'm the Lucky One: A Narrative
8. Actors of Discourse: Gender Performativity in Women’s Leadership
Daniella Graves and Martin J. Leahy
9. The Cultural Negotiations of Gender through Religion among Algerian Kabyle
Section 3: Psychosocial Effects of Inequality
Gender Scholar Spotlight: Interview with Mary Beltrán
10. Hair Stress: Physical and Mental Health Correlates of African American Women’s Hair Care Practices
Arthur L. Whaley and Evelyn B. Winfield-Thomas
11. Gender, Arthritis and Feelings of Sexual Obligation in Older Women
Jason Sumerau and Alexandra C.H. Nowakowski
12. I’m a Survivor’: Reconsidering Identity, Stigma, and Institutions for Domestic Violence
Kesslyn Brade Stennis and Rasha Aly
Section 4: Key Debates in Women’s Inequality
Gender Scholar Spotlight: Interview with Kazuko Suzuki
13. Is there Liberation for the Single, Saved, and Sexually Repressed?
Jacqueline F. Ballou
14. Sex Work: Free and Equal?
Sarah V. Suiter
15. Reclaiming Women’s Rights to Freedom of Religion: An Assessment of the Political and Legal Complexities Affecting the Domestication of CEDAW and the AU Women’s Protocol in Nigeria
Section 5: Pushing Back: Resistance and Activism
Gender Scholar Spotlight: Interview with Malachi Crawford
16. I’m Going to Get What I Want: Black Women’s Sexual Agency as a Form of Resistance
Stephanie Campos and Ellen Benoit
17. Raise Your Banner High! Mounting a Take Back the Night Event: Civic Engagement and Feminist Practice on a University Campus
18. Insisting on Intersectionality in the Vagina Monologues
Brittany C. Slatton is Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas Southern University. Dr. Slatton’s recent books include Mythologizing Black Women (2014) and Hyper Sexual Hyper Masculine? Gender, Race, and Sexuality in the Identities of Contemporary Black Men (2014). You can find her scholarly articles in journals such as Sociology Compass, Socius, and Genders. In Fall 2017, she served as the prestigious Langston Hughes Visiting Professor at the University of Kansas.
Carla D. Brailey currently serves as Assistant Professor of Sociology at Texas Southern University. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Brailey participates in New Leaders Council (NLC), Houston Chapter, serves as the Chair of KeyPac and on the Advisory Council for Sankofa Institute, and was recently selected for Leadership Houston’s Class XXXIV. Dr. Brailey also served in the former Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Cabinet as the Executive Director of Community Affairs and Senior Advisor for Religious Affairs for the District of Columbia.
Women and Inequality in the 21st Century draws from the best traditions of feminist scholar-activism, while reorienting focus toward topics and groups that to-date have received less attention in the scholarship on gender inequality than is warranted, and indeed necessary. With chapters spanning a unique range of formats — from interviews with prominent gender scholars, to novel empirical studies and self-reflexive narratives — the text is at once accessible, theoretically nuanced, and highly engaging. Slatton and Brailey have generated an innovative volume from an incredible diversity of scholars addressing the many margins and complex positionalities that constitute contemporary womanhood today.
Jennifer Mueller, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Intergroup Relations Program, Skidmore College