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Women and Social Stratification: A Case of Intellectual Sexism

Joan Acker
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 78, No. 4, Changing Women in a Changing Society (Jan., 1973), pp. 936-945
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2776612
Page Count: 10
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Women and Social Stratification: A Case of Intellectual Sexism
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Abstract

Although women, as aggregates, have lower social status than men in all known societies, sex-based inequalities have not been considered in most theoretical and empirical work on social stratification. Assumptions about the social position of women, found in the stratification literature, implicitly justify the exclusion of sex as a significant variable. This paper argues that these assumptions are logically contradictory and empirically unsupported. If sex is to be taken as a significant variable, the family can no longer be viewed as the unit in social stratification. Conceptual and methodological problems are generated if the family is not considered as the unit. However, a reconceptualization which includes sex-based inequalities may lead to a more accurate and more complex picture of stratification systems.

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