ERIC Number: ED153885
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Sex Stratification in Community Politics and Decision Making.
Stuart, Nina G.
Because men hold most of the high status, decision-making positions in American society, they have greater access to and control of property, power, and prestige. Women, conversely, are accorded low status because they fulfill the lower prestige roles of childbearing and childrearing. Although some city and county government positions are filled by women (school board members, clerks, treasurers, commissioners), the top elected positions are held by men. Two explanations are offered for the exclusion of women from top political office: (1) institutional barriers exist which effectively exclude women from entry into community politics and decision making; and (2) women are socialized into roles which encourage self-elimination from high status positions. Review of past studies of community power, politics, and decision making reveals that researchers have most often employed a role stratification or elitist approach. This approach does not give sufficient consideration to the overwhelming absence of women in community political leadership. Further research into community power structure should center on sexual stratification. A methodological procedure is proposed which would first identify political leaders in a semi-rural community that is of medium size. Then, the few women found in political leadership roles should be interviewed to ascertain socioeconomic status, political motivations, and perceived barriers to political entry. This procedure would result in better evaluation of a community's organizational structure and would also ascertain women's relative status in the structure compared to men's. (Author/DB)
Descriptors: Achievement, Community Study, Decision Making, Females, Literature Reviews, Local Government, Policy Formation, Political Attitudes, Political Influences, Political Power, Political Socialization, Research Projects, Sex Differences, Sex Discrimination, Sex Role, Social Status, Socialization, Sociology, Status, Status Need
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society (Madison, Wisconsin, September 1-4, 1977)