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Who Holds the Power in Social Situations, in the Workplace, and in the Government: Men and Women?

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Culture is defined as customary beliefs and behaviors of a specific social group and traditions and rituals become a part of everyday living (Miller, 2007). In today’s modern world there are still customs that are passed down from one generation to the next generation. In American culture as well as Japanese culture the role of women has evolved to present day. Women play a significant role in American culture today.

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The world in which we live is characterized by deeply unequal sharing of the burden of adversities between women and men. Gender inequality exists in most parts of the world, from Japan to Africa, from Uzbekistan to the United States of America. However, inequality between women and men can take many different forms. It manifests itself in the unequal representations of women and men in various walks of life, differences in their salaries, persistent gender stereotypes, and sexual discrimination. One of the most troublesome issues is the extremely unequal representation of women in government and administrative office. Nevertheless, Lithuania, as well as other former communist countries was distinguished by a very high involvement of women in politics. The role of women in society has been changed a lot in the last few decades. In the early days, women were seen as wives who were supposed to cook, clean, and take care of the children. They were limited from the responsibility of earning money for the family because this responsibility was left to husbands. Women were not allowed to vote and to work outside the family while men took care of having jobs and paying bills. Soon enough some thought that women should have bigger roles than what most of the people thought women should have. With the beginning of industrialization and technological development, the lifestyles of people in Lithuania started to change. The needs of human beings started to increase. This movement toward modern living started to reflect in the lifestyles of people. In this process, women started to practice some outside home activities (Aidis). Therefore, women involved in education in equal terms with men. Consequently, women gradually started to participate in all life movements.

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There is ample evidence that women experience biased performance evaluations on male-typed tasks. A meta-analysis of experimental studies reveals that women in leadership positions receive lower performance evaluations than matched men; this is amplified when women act in a stereotypically masculine, that is, agentic fashion (Eagly et al., 1992). Further, in masculine domains, women are held to a higher standard of performance than men are. For example, in a study of military cadets, men and women gave their peers lower ratings if they were women, despite having objectively equal qualifications to men (Boldry et al., 2001). Finally, women are evaluated more poorly in situations that involve complex problem solving; in these situations, people are skeptical regarding women’s expertise and discredit expert women’s opinions but give expert men the benefit of the doubt (Thomas-Hunt and Phillips, 2004).

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To conclude, then, is also an argument for attention to the ways in which gender is produced through social work, something that draws upon both the practical and the discursive, rather than starting with something termed “gender” and then looking for its effects. This may prove controversial in a field somewhat dominated by anti-discriminatory approaches; that is, where gender is considered at all; yet it is my argument that taking up Butler’s “inquiry on the production of difference” may open up possibilities for less restrictive accounts of gender within social work’s various fields.

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Boldry J., Wood W., Kashy D. A. (2001). Gender stereotypes and the evaluation of men and women in military training. J. Soc. Issues 57

Eagly A. H., Carli L. L. (2007). Through the Labyrinth: The Truth about How Women become Leaders. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Thomas-Hunt M. C., Phillips K. W. (2004). When what you know is not enough: expertise and gender dynamics in task groups. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Bull.

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Who Holds the Power in Social Situations, in the Workplace, and in the Government: Men and Women?
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