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Abstract

Much research in human geography has been, often inadvertently, sexist. We first propose some reasons for this and then review the feminist contributions in other disciplines. The bulk of the paper examines some examples of sexist bias in the content, methods, and purposes of geographic research, suggests the nature of the damage that such bias inflicts on geographic knowledge, and identifies ways in which nonsexist geography might emerge.
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The Professional Geographer
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ON NOT EXCLUDING HALF
OF THE HUMAN IN HUMAN
GEOGRAPHY
Janice Monk a & Susan Hanson b
a Associate Director of the Southwest Institute
for Research on Women and is Adjunct Associate
Professor of Geography , University of Arizona
b Chairwoman of the AAG's Committee on the
Status of Women in Geography and teaches , Clark
University
Published online: 15 Mar 2010.
To cite this article: Janice Monk & Susan Hanson (1982) ON NOT EXCLUDING HALF OF
THE HUMAN IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY, The Professional Geographer, 34:1, 11-23, DOI:
10.1111/j.0033-0124.1982.00011.x
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0033-0124.1982.00011.x
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Professional Geographer,
34(1),
1982,
pp
11
~
23
@
Copynoht
1982
by
Association
of
American
Geographers
ON NOT EXCLUDING HALF OF THE
HUMAN
IN
HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
Janice Monk
University
of
Arizona
Susan Hanson
Clark University
Much research in human geography has been, often inadvertently, sexist. We first propose some reasons
for this and then review the feminist contributions in other disciplines. The bulk
of
the paper examines
Some examples
of
sexist bias in the content, methods, and purposes
of
geographic research, suggests
the nature of the damage that such bias inflicts on geographic knowledge, and identifies ways in which
nonsexist geography might emerge.
RECENT
challenges to the acceptability of traditional gender roles for men and
women have been called the most profound and powerful source of social change in
this century
[76],
and feminism
is
the ”ism” often held accountable for instigating
this societal transformation. One expression of feminism
is
the conduct of academic
research that recognizes and explores the reasons for and implications of the fact
that women’s lives are qualitatively different from men’s lives. Yet the degree to
which geography remains untouched by feminism
is
remarkable, and the dearth of
attention to women’s issues, explicit or implicit, plagues all branches of human
geography.
Our purpose here
is
to identify some sexist biases in geographic research and
to
consider the implications of these for the discipline as a whole. We do not accuse
geographers of having been actively
or
even consciously sexist in the conduct of
their research, but we would argue that, through omission of any consideration
of
women, most geographic research has in effect been passively, often inadvertently,
sexist.
It
is
not our primary purpose to castigate certain researchers or their tradi-
tions, but rather to provoke lively debate and constructive criticism on the ways in
which a feminist perspective might be incorporated into geography.
There appear to us to be two alternative paths to this goal of feminizing the
discipline. One
is
to develop a strong feminist strand of research that would become
one thread among many in the thick braid
of
geographic tradition. We support such
research as necessary, but not sufficient. The second approach, which we favor,
is
to
encourage
a
feminist perspective within all streams of human geography.
In
this
way,
issues concerning women (some
of
which are discussed later in this paper) would
become incorporated in all geographic research endeavors. Only in this way, we
believe, can geography realize the promise of the profound social change that would
be wrought by eliminating sexism. In this paper we first briefly consider the reasons
for the meager impact of feminism on the field to date, and review the nature of
feminist scholarship in other social sciences and the humanities. We then examine
the nature of sexist bias in geographic research, and, through examples of this,
demonstrate ways in which a nonsexist geography might evolve.
11
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12
THE
PROFESSIONAL
GEOGRAPHER
Why the Neglect
of
Women’s Issues?
Why has geography for the most part assiduously avoided research questions that
embrace half the human race? We believe the answer lies very simply in the fact that
knowledge
is
a social creation. The kind of knowledge that emerges from a discipline
depends very much upon who produces that knowledge, what methods are used to
procure knowledge, and what purposes knowledge
is
acquired for
[78].
The number
of women involved in generating knowledge
in
a given discipline appears to be
important in determining the degree to which feminism
is
absorbed in that disci-
pline’s research tradition. Although the number of women researchers in geography
is
growing, women still constitute only
9.6
percent of the college and university
faculty who are members of the Association of American Geographers. The charac-
teristics of researchers influence the kinds of issues a discipline focuses upon.
Geographers have, for instance, been more concerned with studying the spatial
dimensions of social class than
of
social roles, such as gender roles. Yet for many
individuals and groups, especially women, social roles are likely to have
a
greater
impact than social class
on
spatial behavior.
Geography’s devotion to strict logical positivism
in
recent years can also help to
account for the lack of attention to women’s issues. As King has pointed out,
positivism has not been particularly concerned with social relevance or with social
change
[48].
It
is
a
method that tends to preserve the status quo. The separation of
facts
from values and
of
subject from object are elements of positivism that would
prevent positivist research from ever guiding, much less leading, social change
[IS,
481.
Researchers in the positivist tradition have tended to ask normative questions
that have little to do with defining optimal social conditions (e.g., the traveling
salesman problem). This
is
not to say that positivism
is
incapable of asking socially
relevant normative questions, but only to point out that the status quo orientation of
positivism has not fostered the sort of normative thinking that challenges existing
social conditions.
Although strict logical positivism
no
longer has
a
life-threatening grip on the disci-
pline, alternative paradigms have done little to incorporate
a
feminist perspective.
Marxists have championed social change but, with a few exceptions
[74,
37,
581,
they
have not explored the effects of capitalism on women. Phenomenologists have
promised a more humanistic geography, a geography that would increase self-
knowledge and would focus
on
the full range of human experience
[75,
841,
but even
this research stream has produced few insights into the lives of women.
Finally, the purpose of much geographic research has been to provide a rational
basis for informed decision making. Insofar as planners are committed
to
maintain-
ing the status quo
[29],
and insofar
as
both researcher and decision maker were,
especially
in
the past, likely to belong to the male power establishment,
a
focus on
women, or even a recognition of women was unlikely. In sum, most academic
geographers have been men, and they have structured research problems according
to their values, their concerns, and their goals, all of which reflect their experience.
Women have not been creatures of power or status, and the research interests of
those in power have reflected this fact.
Feminist Criticism in Other Disciplines
Although scholarship on women has, to date, made little impact on mainstream
geography, much of relevance to our discipline can be learned from a decade of
research and feminist criticism in other social sciences and
in
the humanities.
Characterizing the development of this research, Stimpson notes an initial stage in
which researchers responded to an urgently felt need to document women’s suffer-
ings, invisibility, and subordination, and to explore causes of women’s secondary
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status. Later focus shifted to examining “the relationship of two interdependent,
intersecting worlds
.
. . the male world of production, public activity, formal cul-
tures, and power . .
.
[and] the world of the female-of reproduction, domestic
activity, informal culture, and powerlessness
.
. .“
[80,
p.
1871.
There have been
demands for recognizing the diversity among women and for developing a sense
of woman as an active force rather than a passive or marginal being. Most recently,
the debate over the nature, permanence, and significance of sexual differences has
revived
[80].
Paralleling these changing emphases in work on women have been changes in
feminist critiques
of
traditional disciplines. Early work was concerned mainly with
correcting stereotypes and filling in omissions, but this has been followed by recog-
nition
of
the need for basic transformations of the disciplines if women’s experi-
ences and actions are to be incorporated into enriched interpretations and analyses
of human experience
[32,
50,
651.
inadequacies were identified not only in content,
but in critical concepts and categorizations
[78],
in methodologies, and in the very
purposes of scholarly research
[86].
For example, among many new content themes
identified for research were the relationship between language and power, the psy-
chology of rape, and the history of sexuality and reproduction
[53,
621.
In some
fields, these new endeavors stimulated and enhanced important disciplinary trends,
such as the shift in social history toward a focus on ordinary people rather than on
the elite
[54]
or a
shift
in anthropology from emphasizing formal structures in society
to developing and refining models of adaptive behaviors within social systems
[79].
The need for revisions of concepts and categories has included broad issues such
as the concept of genres and canons of masterpieces in literature or the appropri-
ateness of using historical periods based on political or military activities for con-
ceptualizing historical changes
in
women’s lives
[53, 6.51.
Feminist social scientists
have questioned the prevailing definitions of concepts such as status, class, work,
labor force, and power because, in current use, these concepts reflect male spheres
of action
[32, 65, 67, 72, 731.
How can work, for example, be defined and measured
so
that the concept incorporates nonmarket production and
the
maintenance activities
involved in housework? Does social class, if derived from stratifications of male
occupations, serve as an appropriate frame of reference in examining women’s be-
havior and attitudes?
Critiques of disciplinary methodologies have focused on the implications of
positivism and social scientists‘ applications of the scientific method. Some critics
(for example,
[47])
consider that revisions are needed in defining problems and
hypotheses and in interpreting results, but argue that there
is
still
a place for re-
search that
is
objective/rational as opposed to subjective, involving naturalistic ob-
servation and qualitative patterning. Other scholars, examining the sociology
of
knowledge, have emphasized difficulties with the concept of objectivity, pointing
out the crucial role subjectivity plays in the production and validation of knowledge.
They discuss problems with the assumption that the object of knowing
is
completely
separate from the knower, and they see knowledge as a dialogue that
is
“an unpre-
dictable emergent rather than a controlled outcome”
[86,
p.
4261.
These critics go
beyond advocating
a
new orthodoxy in which subjectivity
is
valued. Instead of ac-
cepting explanations developed and validated by male experience as the complete
and only truth, they propose recognizing all explanations as only partial and tempo-
rary truths, and they point to the importance of women researchers in creating a
fuller vision of human possibilities
[78, 861.
Other strands in the criticism have taken aim at the ahistorical nature of positivist
work and at neglect of contextual variations in behavior
[30, 621,
both of which are
shown to contribute to inadequate and stereotyped interpretations of women’s lives.
Although these various criticisms have much in common with positions advanced
by
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14
THE
PROFESSIONAL
GEOGRAPHER
advocates of hermeneutic, structuralist, and Marxist approaches, they are clearly
different in their attention to the implications of patriarchal culture for scholarship.
Associated with the new methodological directions have also been reorientations
in techniques of data collection, partly on philosophical grounds and partly because
of gaps in recorded data on women. Thus we see more attention to naturalistic
observation, oral histories, and analysis
of
documents produced by women such as
diaries, memoirs, and literary works.
Reflection on content and methodological issues has led ultimately to questioning
the purposes of research. Distinctions are drawn between work on women, by
women, and for women.
It
is
suggested that research for women will be informed by
visions of a transformed and equitable society [86]. With such a purpose, research
oriented toward recording and modeling the status quo
is
seen as counterproduc-
tive. In the following section we examine some of the ways in which women have
been excluded from consideration in geographic research. By pointing to omissions
we implicitly suggest ways in which issues that affect women can be fruitfully incor-
porated in geographers’ research designs.
Some Examples
of
Sexist Bias in Geographic Research
Following Westkott [86], we consider sexist biases in the content, method, and
purpose of geographic research. We
do
not imply that all human geography
is
sexist, but aim to demonstrate the pervasive nature of the problem by drawing il-
lustrative examples from many areas of geographic endeavor. Neither the examples
given nor the topic areas covered are intended as an exhaustive expos6 of the
problems we address. We have also not included extensive references to the feminist
research emerging in geography, which we have reviewed elsewhere [87]. Our pur-
pose here
is
merely to suggest the dimensions and sketch out the character of
sexist bias in geographic research.
Content
Perhaps the most numerous examples
of
sexist bias in geographic research con-
cern content. Problems relating to content include inadequate specification
of
the
research problem, construction of gender-blind theory, the assumption that
a
population adheres to traditional gender roles, avoidance of research themes that
directly address women’s lives, and denial
of
the significance
of
gender or
of
worn-
en‘s activities.
INAoEauArE SPECIFICATION
OF
RESEARCH
PROBLEMS.
Many geographic research questions
apply to both men and women, but are analyzed in terms of male experiences only.
We see this in two recent historical studies involving immigration
of
families from
Europe to North America. Ostergren neglected to identify the farm woman’s role in
his analysis of economic activities in Sweden and Minnesota [61]. Cumber restricted
his treatment of working class institutions in Fall River to lodges, unions, working-
men’s societies, taverns and sporting organizations. Study of the women’s lives
might have supported or weakened these authors’ conclusions. As
it
stands, generali-
zations about communities were drawn from data on men only.
The omission of women’s experience from Muller’s text on suburbanization
[60]
is
more surprising than are similar omissions from the historical studies, because
women might be assumed to spend more of their lives in suburbia than do men. Yet
his section on the social organization
of
contemporary suburbia and
its
human
consequences fails to address women’s lives directly. He identifies post-World War
II
migrants to the suburbs as “earnest young war veterans, possessing strong familis-
tic values, who desired to educate themselves, work hard and achieve the good life”
[60, p.
541.
He writes, “any major salary increase or promotion was immediately
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15
signified by a move to a better neighborhood, with the move governed by aggres-
sive, achievement-oriented behavior”
[60,
p.
351.
Are women only passive followers
to the suburbs? There
is
research suggesting that women are ambivalent about
suburban life, and that husbands and wives evaluate residential choices differently,
[59,
68,
691.
Inadequate specification can involve male as well as female exclusion when
neither type of misspecification seems warranted. Studies of shopping behavior, for
example, have assumed a female consumer and have analyzed data collected for
samples of women only (e.g.,
[23]).
A problem that seems to be related
to
the re-
searcher’s perception of shoppers as female
is
the assumption, implicit in models of
consumer store choice (e.g.,
[77l),
that all shopping trips originate at home, rather
than, say, being chained to the journey to work. Hence such models employ a
home-to-store distance variable rather than some other, possibly more important,
variable such as Workplace-to-store.
GENDER-BLIND THEORY.
A concern stemming from inadequate problem specification
is
the emergence of gender-blind theory. Such theory may be dangerously im-
poverished if gender
is
an important explanatory variable and
is
omitted. Geog-
raphers interested in theories of development have drawn extensively on work out-
side the discipline
[9, 70,
77,
27, 25, 361.
Nevertheless, these writers have not cited
the significant quantity
of
literature on women and development that followed the
publication of Boserup‘s Women’s
Role
in
Economic Development
[7].
Thus geog-
raphers address the political economy of the international division of labor, but
ignore the theoretical implications of the sexual division of labor. Study of the Iiter-
ature on women would extend the range of development issues worth considering.
For example,
is
development enhanced if women have access to wage incomes or
only if they are increasingly involved in decision making with regard to income
allocation? Should theories focus on production or give more attention than previ-
ously to family maintenance activities?
Geographic theories aimed at problems in industrialized countries also suffer
when they are gender blind. Attempts to build theories of urban travel demand have
largely overlooked the importance of gender roles in determining travel patterns
[87],
but recent work suggests the seriousness of this omission
[34].
Theories of the
residential location-decision process have likewise failed to take gender roles into
account, yet Madden has recently shown the necessity of incorporating such ele-
ments in any successful theory of residential choice
[58].
Similarly Howe and O‘Con-
nor demonstrate the importance of gender to any insightful theory of intraurban
industrial location
[47].
Gender-blind theory
is
also emerging in research on issues of social well-being
[79,
49, 74, 7.51
and equity
[S].
Although sexual discrimination receives passing mention,
few of the welfare indicators refer specifically to women, nor are data disaggregated
by gender. Yet, as Lee and Schultz demonstrate, there are marked differences in the
spatial patterns of relative versus absolute well-being of males and females in the
United States
[57].
On
a topic related to social well-being, Bourne‘s discussion of
equity issues in housing focuses upon race and class as important factors, but does
not mention discrimination on the basis
of
sex
[8].
The result of the general omission
of gender in welfare and equity research
is
that race, class, and the political economy
dominate explanations, while the contributions of gender and the patriarchal or-
ganization of society to the creation of disadvantage remain invisible.
So
long as
gender remains a variable that
is
essential
to
understanding geographic processes
and spatial form and to outlining alternative futures, explanations that omit gender
are
in
many cases destined to be ineffective. Clearly, theoretical work along diverse
lines of inquiry could benefit from becoming gender sighted rather than remaining
gender
blind.
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16
THE
PROFESSIONAL
GEOGRAPHER
THE
AssuMPTiON
OF
TRADlTfONAL CENDtR ROLES. Explicit geographic writing on women,
though rare,
is
likely to assume traditional gender (social) or sexual (biological)
roles. Sauer‘s hypothesis about women’s role in the origins of sedentary settlement
and social
life
relies on his concept of the “nature of women,“ the “maternal bond,”
and associated assumed restrictions
on
spatial mobility [70]. The assumption that
women universally (and perhaps historically) are primarily engaged in home and
child care may reflect stereotypes of Western culture in the recent past, but can lead
to inaccurate generalizations. Hoy, for example, referring to “the diverse cultures of
most poor nations” stated that “women may work with men in the fields during
times of peak labor requirements, but their major role
is
in the home where they may
engage in some craft industry such as weaving for household use and for sale and
barter”
[42,
p.
841. Urban women have options as ”domestics, secretaries, and more
recently in industry”
[42, p.
841.
He thus ignored women’s central roles in agricul-
ture in much of Africa and in many Asian countries, their provision of fuel and water,
and their extensive roles in marketing and petty trading
[7].
Pfeifer also assigned
marginal roles to women peasants in central Europe, whom he described as areserve
labor force (our emphasis) that performs an estimated
50
percent of the work [63]!
Traditional urban land use theory, assuming as it does that each household has
only one wage earner and therefore need be concerned with only one journey to
work, seems also to be founded upon traditional gender roles (e.g.
[?I).
As we have
pointed out elsewhere [87], models and theories that simply assume that
all
house-
holds are ”traditional” nuclear families are not particularly useful for understanding
changing urban spatial structure as a function of fundamental demographic or social
changes. An additional example of gender stereotyping
is
the practice originating
with Shevky and Bell
1771,
and continued in factorial ecologies [38], of identifying
women’s participation in the paid labor force
as
part of an index of urbanization or
familism. Work outside the paid labor force
is
not recognized, and within the labor
force
is
not broken down by type of occupation
as
it
is
for the male head of house-
hold on whom the social status index
is
therefore based. The implications appear to
be that nonurban women do not work and that knowing simply that a woman works
outside the home
is
more important than knowing how she
is
employed. Neither
seems conceptually sound.
Review of such examples highlights the need for rethinking the concepts of work
and labor force
if
research
is
to treat women accurately. Normally such concepts are
used to refer
to
the formal sector of the economy traditionally connected with male
activity. Yet women also work in the informal sector (for example, in marketing food
and crafts or
as
baby sitters
or
domestic servants),
in
home production for the market
(food processing, sewing), in subsistence production (keeping domestic animals,
raising gardens), and in unpaid service work (housework, child care, community
volunteer work). Among partial solutions proposed for incorporating women’s work
are a Japanese indicator “net national welfare,” which includes the contributions of
housework
(at
female wage rates)
[79],
and estimates of work in terms of time or
energy expended. Certainly more attention to this problem
is
warranted.
AVOIDANCE ot-REsmRw
THEMES
THATDiREcTiYAmRm WOMEN‘S
LIVES.
Women are generally
in-
visible in geographic research, reflecting the concentration on male activity and on
public spaces and landscapes. Work in recent issues of the journal of Cultural Geog-
raphy
(1980,
1981),
for example, deals with farm silos, farmsteads, housing exteriors,
gasoline stations,
a
commercial strip, and country music (identified as a male WASP
form). The massive Man’s Role
in
Changing the Face of the Earth [82]
is
aptly named.
Women make only cameo appearances in three papers in the entire volume [26, 63, 701.
A
sampling of research on regional cultural landscapes and historical landscape per-
ception, such as studies of the Mormon landscape and the Great Plains, discloses a
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preoccupation almost entirely with public spaces and men’s perceptions [5,
6,
27,
44,
451.
Hudson’s Great Plains country town has streets, businesses and business-
men, railroad depots, and men marketing livestock and making the trip to the ele-
vator
[43].
We see little of the churches, schools, homes, and other social settings
where women passed their lives.
Not surprisingly, the only mention of women’s lives in the Great Plains studies
reviewed
is
by a woman historian. She described not only the hardships that space
brought to men, but the loneliness and isolation of women separated from kin and
friends, the oppression of emptiness, and women’s terror of injury, disease, and
childbirth remote from doctors. She also compared barriers to social interaction for
ranch and farm wives
[35].
Such insights suggest how research on women, the family,
and social spheres would enrich our understanding of place. Beginning research on
domestic interiors and svmbolic uses of mace similarlv indicates how the horizons of
cultural geography might
be
extended by’ attention toplaces closer to women’s lives
[33, 39,
54,
661.
In
the urban realm, geographic research could profit from assessing the effects of
the availability of such facilities as shopping areas, day care, medical services, recre-
ation, and transportation on female labor-force participation and on labor in the
home. Take, for example, the provision of child care, a topic practically untouched
by geographic researchers yet one of great consequence in the
lives
of women.
Compare the trickle of research on this issue with the virtual torrent of material
produced in the past few years
on
the provision of mental health care, an area that
touches the lives of fewer people. Pursuing research themes that directly address the
lives
of
women will do more than merely flesh out
a
bony research agenda: such
research should also provide needed insights
on
the diversity of women’s experi-
ences and needs.
DISMISSING
THE
SIGNIFICANCE
OF
GENDER
OR
WOMEN,S
ACTIVI~IES.
Preconceived notions
of
significance lead some authors to dismiss women’s activities or to overlook gen-
der as a variable, despite evidence to the contrary. Gosal and Krishnan, for example,
discussing the magnitude of internal migration in India, pointed out that females
account for two-thirds of migrants
[37].
Because they interpret this
as
marriage mi-
gration, they used male migration as the “true index” of economic mobility
[31,
p.
7981,
thereby dismissing the economic implications of marriage-related movement.
Later, they noted that women make up
75
percent of rural-to-rural migrants but
wrote
“a
more realistic picture will be obtainable
if
only males are taken into ac-
count”
[37,
p.
1991.
Another interesting example comes from incomplete interpretations of the find-
ings
of
Bederman and Adam
that
Atlanta’s unemployed are mainly black female
heads of families
[2].
Both Smith
[75]
and Muller
[60]
reported this aspect of the
study, but in drawing conclusions from
it
focused on racial
[75]
or
”racial and other”
1601
discrimination. Both missed the double bind
of
gender and race.
A corollary of discounting the significance of women’s activities may be
a
tendency
to notice women primarily when they enter the male sphere or disrupt the traditional
society. Hoy’s few index references to women cover female participation in the
(paid) labor force and related population and social policies in the
USSR,
Eastern
Europe, and China, and the presumed association between women’s liberation and
urban
ills
in Japan
[42].
Method
Sexist bias can afflict geographic research in the methods used as well as in
content. A number of specific methodological concerns enter into empirical re-
search design and execution regardless of the general approach (e.g., positivist or
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18
THE
PROFESSIONAL
GEOGRAPHER
humanist) of the researcher. Here we address a few
of
these concerns and the ways
in which they are susceptible to sexist bias.
VARIABLE SELECTION.
We have identified several inappropriate or inadequate prac-
tices in the selection and interpretation of variables in studies in which women are or
should be included. One problem
is
the use
of
data on husbands to describe wives.
For example, two of eight variables included by Lee in a study of housewives’ per-
ceptions of neighborhoods in Cambridge, England were ”location
of
husband’s
work” and “husband‘s occupation”
[57].
A
third variable, “car ownership,” may also
have been inappropriate, because Lee did not report
if
women drove. Such use of
husband’s occupation as a surrogate for social class
is
problematic. Its appropriate-
ness and the identification of alternatives
is
a
concern of feminist sociologists
as
well
as geographers insofar as geographers use measures of social class in their own
research.
The assumption that data on males adequately describes the entire population
is
also suspect. For example, Soja
[77]
measured ”minimal adult literacy“ in Kenya and
Lycan
[55]
measured education of “persons” in the
US
and Canada by using only data
on men. Yet we know there are gender differences in educational access and attain-
ment, and that this varies spatially
[87].
The diversity among women and the range of women’s needs often goes unrecog-
nized in variable selection. Male occupational categories are invariably differ-
entiated, but women are recorded only by “female labor force participation” (e.g.,
[60])
or “female acitivity rate” (e.g.,
[49]).
Social welfare studies would better reflect
women’s condition
if
indicators were included on such topics as women‘s legal
situation, rape rates, or the provision of services such as day care.
Lack of awareness of women
is
also evident in variable interpretation and factor
naming. For example, Knox chose “old age” as the salient feature to name a factor
that had high loadings on female divorce rate, illegitimate birth rate, high propor-
tions of persons over sixty, low proportions in younger age groups, small house-
holds and shared dwellings
[49].
Without denying the significance of the elderly, the
factor could be identified more comprehensively as “female-headed households.”
Such gender-blind naming
of
factors has theoretical and policy implications.
RwoNDtNrStLmioN.
There
is
a
need to rethink the unit of observation in survey
research
[83].
Frequently data are collected on one individual yet reported as repre-
sentative of the household; in particular, researchers like to rely upon responses
from the ”head of household”
[12,
461.
This practice presents several problems. First,
it assumes one person represents the household, which
is
questionable. Second,
aggregation by head of household may mask important gender differences, given
that there are substantial and increasing numbers of female-headed households
throughout much
of
the world
[76].
Third, cultural custom may lead to an assump-
tion of male headship, even when the male does not have principal responsibilities
for household support
[76].
Collection of data on individuals (or appropriately vary-
ing combinations
of
individuals) would help to avoid this male bias in data. Problems
also arise when authors indicate that the sampling unit was the head
of
household
but do not indicate whether or not other household members were surveyed
[22],
or
when the sex composition of the sample
is
not given despite the clear theoretical
importance of considering gender differences in that research context (e.g.,
[40]).
Clear, complete reporting
of
research methodology and disaggregating samples by
gender would alleviate these problems.
lNrmvftwf~G PRACrfcEs.
Research results can be colored by interviewing practices
such as having other members of a household present when one member
is
being
interviewed. Interpretation of survey responses may raise problems, particularly on
topics relating to women’s role in family support or decision making. Either subjects
or interviewers may discount or underestimate the importance of women’s involve-
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VOL.
34,
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1,
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1982
19
ment. Elmendorf noted that rural Mexican women described themselves as ”help-
ing” the family, rather than working for its support, despite substantial activity in
planting, harvesting, animal care, and food processing
[24].
Bedford, studying
population mobility, commented that New Hebridean women offered passive rea-
sons for moves, described as largely directed by parents or husbands
[3].
This may
be, but we might question whether his interpretation reflected the cultural expecta-
tions of
a
foreign male researcher or of the women themselves.
INADEQUATE
SECONDARY
DATA
SOURCES.
Convenience or the nature of secondary data
sources can contribute to the omission
of
women from research. Migration studies
by Poulson, et al. and Wareing demonstrate this problem
[64,
851.
They drew, re-
spectively, on electoral registrations (women could not be traced because of name
changes) and male apprenticeship registrations. The
US
Census definition of house-
hold head prior to the
1980
census
[13,
pp.
100-011
makes difficult the use of census
data for investigating certain research questions related to women.
Purpose
One purpose of geographic research has been to provide a basis for informed
policy and decision making. Yet policy-oriented research that ignores women cannot
help to form or guide policy that will improve women’s conditions. In fact, there are
numerous examples of the results of policies that have overlooked or have
minimized the needs of women. One
is
the urban transportation system that
is
organized to expedite the journey to work for the full-time worker but not travel for
other purposes.
Is
the purpose of geographic research
to
accumulate facts and knowledge in order
to improve our understanding of current events or to formulate policy within the
context of the status quo, or
is
the purpose to
go
beyond asking why things are the
way they are to consider the shapes
of
possible futures? Feminist scholars emphasize
the need for research to define alternative structures in which the lot of women
is
improved
[28, 861.
A
geography that avoids or dismisses women and their activities, that
is
gender
blind, or that assumes traditional gender roles can never contribute to the equitable
society feminists envision
[28, 861.
For
such purposes we need a cultural and histori-
cal
geography that would permit women to develop the sense of self-worth and
identity that flows from awareness
of
heritage and relationship to place and a social
and economic geography that
goes
beyond describing the status quo. Blaikie recog-
nized this implication of his studies of family planning in India
[4].
Policies developed
from his diffusion research may improve dissemination of contraceptive information
to socially and spatially isolated women, but more radical social change in that
context requires research addressing the conditions leading to women’s isolation.
Toward
a
More Fully Human Geography
A
more sensitive handling of women’s issues
is
essential to developing a non-
sexist, if not a feminist, human geography. Moreover, we believe that eliminating
sex biases would create a more policy-relevant geography.
As
long
as
gender roles
significantly define the lives of women and men,
it
will be fruitful to include gender
as a potentially important variable in many research contexts. Through examples of
sexist bias in the content, method, and purpose
of
geographic research, we have
attempted
to
indicate some of the ways in which women‘s issues can be included in
research designs. Many
of
the problems we have identified are problems that are
easily solved (e.g., the need to disaggregate samples by gender), but others, such
as
the need for nonsexist measures of social class, are more challenging. Although we
encourage an awareness of gender differences and of women’s issues throughout
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20
THE
PROFESSIONAL
GEOGRAPHER
the discipline now
(so
that the geography of women does not become "ghettoized"), we
would like to see gender blurred and then erased
as
a
line defining inequality.
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tus.'' Progress
in
Human Geography, (in press).
JANICE MONK, Ph.D. University
of
Illinois,
is
the Associate Director
of
the Southwest Institute
for Research on Women and
is
Adjunct Associate Professor
of
Geography at the University of
Arizona. She has chaired the NCGE's Committee on Women in Geographic Education. Her
research interests are in social geography and geographic education. SUSAN HANSON, Ph.D.
Northwestern,
is
Chairwoman
of
the AAG's Committee on the Status
of
Women
in
Geography
and teaches at Clark University. Her research
is
concerned with urban social geography, urban
transportation, and empirical research methodology.
Downloaded by [University of Arizona] at 09:14 08 May 2015
... In human geography. Despite their supposed inspiration from the socalled French theory, or other Europeans such as Karl Marx, Henri Lefebvre or Michel Foucault, the new fashionable topics that successfully emerged during the last three decades were all, if not always fully invented, truly elaborated, fashioned and institutionalised in the USA: critical and radical geographies (Harvey 1973;Peet 1977;Johnston 2000), humanistic geography (Buttimer 1976;Tuan 1976;Ley and Samuels 2014), post-modern geography (Soja 1989;Smith 1992), gender studies (Monk and Hanson 1982;Pratt and Hanson 1994), cultural geographies revised as post-colonial geography (Blunt and McEwan 2003;Hart 2004). One could extend the enumeration as well as name dropping over many pages. ...
... There were many, increasingly sophisticated, theoretical interventions on gender as an instrumental force and as an explanatory category of the discipline (Nelson 2016). Monk and Hanson (1982) explained in depth the construction of masculinist geography, and poststructuralist theory provides the conceptual language to bring feminist criticism to an epistemological level. shows that the arguments about universality in geographic theory are based on a male producer of knowledge. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The chapter’s purpose is to examine interactions between geographers of socialist countries with IGU and the world geographical community at large in 1945–1990. The authors consider some specific national trends in the development of geography in the former USSR, Poland, and China under the conditions of ideological constraints and geopolitical tensions. A special attention is paid to the forms and impact of internationalization on geography in these countries and the ways of the dissemination of scientific information. The authors show that participation of geographers from their countries in the activities of IGU was of particular importance in the extension of international contacts. It improved the positions of geography in the country and at the same time stimulated the use of new methods and approaches in geographical studies, and allowed spreading of national geographical concepts abroad. A particular role in internationalization belonged to academic leaders. In general, the development of geographical science in socialist countries follows the global paradigm.
... Despite this idea being present for over forty years in Spain, the number of research studies related to gender is still scarce. The under-representation of women in academia, the non-perception of women as people with their own identity independent of men and the delay in the identification of the space as a non-neutral component in terms of gender have been argued as some of the reasons for this lack of research (Bowlby 1989;Bowlby et al. 1982;Monk and Hanson 1982;Pujol and Ramón 2004). These factors in the case of Spain, and similar countries, are accentuated even more due to the enduring sexist culture, where gender inequality is not seen as a problem, but as something natural. ...
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The COVID-19 crisis started with an increase in workloads for families due to the suspension of services and the fall of formal and informal care networks. Numerous studies have analyzed how home confinements have affected different gender gaps, including those related to work within the home. This research aims to contribute to the existing literature from the perspective of gender geography by introducing the variable municipality size in the analyses. Our research for the Spanish case appreciates a significant impact, uneven between genders, of the pandemic crisis. Women, and especially those living in small municipalities, saw the gap in care and domestic workload widen during confinement. The study of the distribution between genders of the most burdensome tasks even shows a more unbalanced scenario to the detriment of women. After confinement the situation improves. Although the imbalance against women remains, the gap with respect to the pre-pandemic situation is reduced.
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