Feminism : From premises to prescriptions
(27-Jun-2011, 08:16 AM)unsorted Wrote: 1. not being discriminated against in the workplace
3. equal education

(28-Jun-2011, 10:46 PM)arvindiyer Wrote: 3. While the mainstream media doesn't fail to run very predictable news headlines about how girls outnumber boys in the merit list of almost every conceivable exam, doesn't coverage of sex ratios in premier campuses and different academic disciplines and public awareness about the benefits of diversity leave a lot to be desired?

A counterpoint to such diversity arguments that is often resorted to by status-quoists is the 'innate differences' argument, which is a prejudiced answer to the real scientific question "Are there such things as sex differences in cognitive abilities?"

The following 2005 debate between the formidably reputed psychologists Steven Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke offers a useful survey of scientific attempts (and controversies) in addressing this question. Full transcripts of the debate as well as a complete 2-hour-long video can be found here.

Neurosexism is a neologism for the trotting out of ostensibly 'scientific' arguments to justify gender bias, and is explained in this recent lecture.

A good book on the subject of sex differences is Brain Storm - The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences by Rebecca Jordan-Young. It's a sober scientific book by a sociomedical scientist who's been studying brain organisation research for thirteen years. She really looks at the evidence, and critically examines the core theory of sex difference research, which is that prenatal hormones affect brain organization in-utero, setting males and females on different trajectories for life. I'm still leafing through it, haven't had time to sit and properly read it. But here are some points she notes in the book:

Quote:The influence of biological variables that we think of as “sex-linked” almost certainly plays a role in the overall iterative-and-looping process of development. But in terms of a scientific program for understanding development, we’ve reached the end of that road—in fact, we’ve gone way off the road into the woods and are now stuck in the deep mud of “innate sex differences.” As I have demonstrated throughout this book, the data are not compelling when placed together in the “network of associations,” and models of development that are current in biology give us little reason to continue pursuing this line of reasoning. So here are a few closing observations that might help us climb out of the mud:

- Steroid hormones are important, but they aren’t best conceptualized as “sex hormones.” They do lots of things; “sex hormones” was the original conceptualization that drove the research and classification on hormones, but it doesn’t fit the data on what hormones do any better than other possible schemes. And the “sex hormone” framework demonstrably blocks recognition of complex and accurate information.

- Personality traits and predispositions are not identical in individuals, but they are also not well captured by the binary system of gender—even in spite of pervasive cognitive schemas that exert pressures toward this pattern. We aren’t blank slates, but we also aren’t pink and blue notepads.

- Brains develop only in interaction; input from the external world, as well as from one’s own sensory apparatus, is as critical to development of the brain as food and water are to the entire organism. Brains change and develop over the lifetime. Few inputs are irreversible. Even the animal experiments on brain organization showed that the “permanent” effects of early steroid hormone exposures could be eliminated or even reversed by fairly brief interventions in the physical and/or social environment.

- Gender relations change, and these are demonstrably related to changes in psychosexual outcomes. For example, structural-level shifts in education (removing barriers to admission for women to colleges and graduate programs, barring gender discrimination in funding, and so on) have quickly reshaped the landscape in terms of the proportion of college graduates who are female, as well as the sex composition of particular programs of study (accounting, law, medicine, biology, and so forth).

Amazon Kindle link:

Review of the book in Slate:

Lectures (video):
1. http://forum-network.org/lecture/brain-s...ifferences
2. http://www.sfu.ca/iirp/resources/

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NDTV's 'We The People' hosted by Barkha Dutt has featured a number of episodes dealing with several key items in the gender justice agenda such as those suggestively listed here. These episodes feature a expert as well as popular opinion and eyewitness or survivor accounts, and as such can be a useful resource on these topics from an Indian perspective in the Indian setting in which we largely operate. It goes without saying that sharing links to these shows does not amount to an endorsement of the views of the panelists or the anchor. While it may make exasperating viewing at times, one utility of staying aware about which misconceptions are prevalent and influential, is that advocacy can be matched to counter them. If found useful, different forum threads maybe started for discussions motivated by the broad topics or specific policies and events mentioned in these discussions. Here, episodes from 2006 onwards are classified (somewhat tentatively) under headings enlisted earlier, some of which have been grouped for convenience. An item has been added for countering religiously motivated misogyny.

Not being discriminated against in the workplace

June 25, 2006 Is India's military still biased against women?
June 27, 2010 Office relationships: Harassment or consensual?

Having safe and easy access to birth control and abortion
Better childcare support for parents

February 10, 2008 Is 18 old enough for marriage?
August 2, 2009 Right to motherhood
July 25, 2010 Surrogacy: exploiting the poor?
November 24 2012 Abortion debate: Pro-life or pro-choice?
April 22, 2012 Surrogacy: Outsourcing childbirth?

Equal education

May 13, 2012 Are single-sex institutions outdates? (on St. Stephens College's quota for boys)

Not being marginalised in the media

December 6, 2009 India's skin-deep prejudice
November 13 2011 Love, Sex and Cinema (on bhabhi and bombshell caricatures)
March 8, 2012 Women's Day: Substance or symbolism?
January 13, 2013 Do films celebrate women or 'itemize' them?

Dismantling patriarchy

May 11, 2008 Do women need political reservation?
June 14, 2009 Women and Affirmative Action
September 27, 2009 Women in Army: Time for a larger role?
October 31 2010 Alimony and the modern woman
May 29, 2011 Women and power: Bucking the trend?
January 20, 2013 Judiciary: symbol of hope and change for women?

Ending rape and promoting enthusiastic and effective consent
Ending street harassment
Ending victim-blaming
(Trigger warnings apply.)

April 16, 2006 Rape cases: Do we need stricter laws?
December 27, 2009 Ruchika's case: Mockery of justice?
January 10, 2010 Is India soft on sexual misconduct?
March 28, 2010 Salaam-Namaste to premarital sex?
February 27, 2011 Is capital punishment a deterrent for rapists?
March 18, 2012 India- No country for working women
January 6, 2013 Every Woman's Battle: The Enemy Within (marital rape and child abuse)
January 27, 2013 Will the government act on the Justice Verma panel commission report?

Countering religiously motivated misogyny

February 15, 2009 The culture wars (on Mangalore pub attacks)
November 11, 2012 Are religious traditions tilted against women?
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