On the Origins of Gender Inequality / Edition 1

On the Origins of Gender Inequality / Edition 1

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Taylor & Francis


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On the Origins of Gender Inequality / Edition 1

In our fast-paced world of technology and conveniences, the biological origins of women's inequality can be forgotten. This book offers a richer understanding of gender inequality by explaining a key cause-women's reproductive and lactation patterns. Until about 1900, infants nursed every fifteen minutes on average for two years because very frequent suckling prevented pregnancy. The practice evolved because it maximized infant survival. If a forager child was born before its older sibling could take part in the daily food search, the older one died. This practice persisted until the modern era because until after the discovery of the germ theory of disease, human milk was the only food certain to be unspoiled. Lactation patterns excluded women from the activities that led to political leadership. During the twentieth century the ancient mode declined and women entered the labor market en masse. Joan Huber challenges feminists toward a richer understanding of biological origins of inequality-knowledge that can help women achieve greater equality today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594513626
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.34(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.48(d)

About the Author

Joan Huber taught at Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1984 she became Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Ohio State University, retiring there as Provost in 1994. In 1990 she edited Macro-micro Linkages in Sociology (Sage: ASA Presidential Series).

Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Introduction     1
Explanations of Male Dominance     4
The Effect of Subsistence Technology on Human Affairs     8
Why the Search for Human Origins Stumbled     13
Sociobiology     15
The Male Model     21
The Search for a Two-Sex Model     22
Enter Postmodernism     26
The Cost of Excluding Biodata     27
From Primates to Humans     29
Who Are the Primates?     31
And Who Are the Primatologists?     34
The Problem of Ideology     35
The Baboon Model     38
Man the Hunter     40
The Hunter Hits the Media     41
Woman the Gatherer     45
A Model of Man the Gatherer     46
Unresolved Issues     48
Notes     51
The Hominids Appear     53
Natural Selection and Cultural Change     54
Two-Sex Trade-Offs     58
One-Sex Trade-Offs     64
Feeding Human Juveniles     71
Human Milk     75
Historical Background     75
The Physiology of Lactation     78
The Composition of Human Milk     81
The Discovery of Natural Fertility     84
Physiological and Social Benefits and Costs of Breastfeeding     88
Subsistence Modes and Infant Diet     95
The Primate Fruit Diet     96
Foragers     98
Hoe Societies     100
Herding Societies     102
Plow Societies     104
Subsistence Technology and Human Health     109
Parental Resources and Child Care     110
The Advent of Modern Sanitation     115
The Future of Gender Inequality     117
Physiological Sex Differences     118
Technology and Human Behavior     123
Public Opinion     124
History and Social Science on Warfare     126
Primitive War     128
The Invention of Metallurgy     129
The Intimacy of Governance and Warfare     131
Conjoined Twins Asunder     133
Combat Service and Equality     136
The Importance of Politics     138
Notes     138
References     141
Index     161
About the Author     173

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