PSR 4(172)/2010

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Table of contents:

Małgorzata Fuszara, Citizenship, Representation and Gender;
Anna Titkow, Do Men Have Their Own Glass Ceiling;
Antonina Ostrowska, Polish Women 50+: How do We Age;
Danuta Walczak-Duraj, Social Capital of Women in Rural Areas and Their Participation in the Socio-Political Life;
Elżbieta Psyk-Piotrowska, The Situation of Economic Activity of Female Rural Dwellers;
Elżbieta Korolczuk, The Social Construction ofMotherhood and Daughterhood in Contemporary Poland;
Renata E. Hryciuk, (Re)constructing Motherhood in Contemporary Mexico;
Ludwika Włodek-Biernat, Iranian Women. Quest for Freedom and Equality;

More information:

  • Małgorzata Fuszara, Citizenship, Representation and Gender;
    The political transformations of late 1980s and early 1990s marked a ‚new political opening’ for Central and Eastern Europe. In each country of the region, a new institutional order was built in its specific historical and cultural context. However, all countries disregarded the problem of gender balance in bodies of power. As a result, the share of women in descriptive representation shrunk considerably throughout the region. Initially, all countries had a low percentage of women at power but the situation began to diverge over time. This paper presents research findings from a study of women and men parliamentarians in Poland, Latvia and Macedonia, focussing on political representation and, in particular, on barriers which obstruct women’s more active involvement in the public sphere as well as actions, such as quotas, aimed to mainstream gender equality into politics. The problem of women’s participation in the legislature as well as barriers to women’s involvement turned out to bring in an interesting differentiation into gender equality discourses in the three countries under study.
  • Anna Titkow, Do Men Have Their Own Glass Ceiling;
    This article tries to find out whether „the glass ceiling” concept, coined and used to describe the woman’s status, is also applicable to men. Gender theory and empirical research based on this theory will help us to realize this objective. Analysis of empirical data covering a brief period (1998-2002) within the transformation process allowed us to formulate an intriguing yet optimistic conclusion as far asmen are concerned. If the hypothetical identification of the male „glass ceiling” with an unfortunate pattern of sex-typing is confirmed, we will be able to say that the men’s situation is paradoxically rather good. The presented results show that the changes in gender self-definition whichmen have undergone in so short a time and which have led to a shift from the former dominant poor gender definition to cultural masculinity, and the simultaneous enrichment of this self-definition with traits conducive to relation building („caring,” „emotional,” „affectionate”), place men in the position of individuals who are more social adapted than before. Our sociological diagnosis suggests that the proportion of culturally androgynous men may increase in Poland.
  • Antonina Ostrowska, Polish Women 50+: How do We Age;
    The article presents women’s ageing in Poland as a biological, psychological, and socio-cultural process. It also points out some of the differences in relation to men’s ageing. The object of a detailed study is the situation of women in the 51-60 age group, i.e. in the period when women of „mature age” become „older.” This period is particularly interesting both because of the women’s feelings and the social pressure to which they are subjected.
  • Danuta Walczak-Duraj, Social Capital of Women in Rural Areas and Their Participation in the Socio-Political Life;
    The basic research problem discussed in this article concerns two inextricably linked fundamental issues. The first of them is connected with a specific character of the social capital in the Polish rural women’s environment, which in this paper is defined in terms of social participation and co-operation based on social trust, maintained networks of contacts, and on the system of their shared values and moral norms. Therefore, definite indices of social trust were adopted for this analysis. They are regarded as independent variables, which can determine the direction and the intensity of rural women’ participation in the socio-political life. The other issue refers to establishing a set of determinants-as exhaustive as possible-of the present and potential participation of rural women in the socio-political life and defining the role played by their social capital as one of these determinants.
  • Elżbieta Psyk-Piotrowska, The Situation of Economic Activity of Female Rural Dwellers;
    The study is devoted to sociological problems pertaining to the situation of women in the labour market. The problems were presented in the view of rural women themselves in relation to sociological literature and statistical data. The data which constitute the basis for the study are made up of 1600 questionnaires carried out on a nationwide sample of rural women as well as the reports from focus group interviews conducted with four groups of rural women.
    The study on ‚Rural women in the labour market. The diagnosis, conditions and prospects’ was carried out in 2007-2008 as a part of SOPHRD1.6 (b) project ‚The diagnosis of the social and professional situation of rural women in Poland” funded by ESF and implemented by the Polish Social Policy Association in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The objective of the research was to carry out a diagnosis and to indicate the reasons and the determinants of rural women’s activity and inactivity in the labour market. Researchers outlined independent variables regarded as potential indicators of economic activity, the sense of job security, inactivity and the plans concerning future employment. The indicators were grouped into seven sets: 1. variables related to the social standing of an individual 2. family situation 3. socialization patterns 4. socio-political activity 5. environment-related factors 6. educational activity 7. a subjective assessment of the local labour market. The paper focuses on a number of socio-demographic correlates that affect rural women’s labour market situation and merely outlines the presence of other variables that might be important from the point of view of professional activity of this group of women.
  • Elżbieta Korolczuk, The Social Construction of Motherhood and Daughterhood in Contemporary Poland;
    The mother-daughter relationship has received increasing attention over the last few decades, both at the conceptual level and in empirical research. Unfortunately, however, this domain has not yet been sufficiently explored in the Polish context. Equally infrequent are empirical projects which strive to combine analysis of individual experiences with the examination of public discourse and social change within particular historical and cultural contexts. The present text analyzes the process of defining motherhood and daughterhood in Poland, focusing specifically on the trans-generational aspect of female identity construction. It is based on qualitative research carried out in the Warsaw area in 2005-2008. Arguably, such an analysis should help us to map the complicated intersections of gender, generation and positionality in times of social change and contribute to the development of a new perspective on the process of identity construction.
  • Renata E. Hryciuk, (Re)constructing Motherhood in Contemporary Mexico;
    In the Mestizo and urban cultures of contemporary Mexico, motherhood is a site of confrontation of various gender (hegemonic, subordinate and alternative) images, practices and discourses. The local pattern of motherhood is undergoing social change, determined by traditional gender ideology, the government’s modernization policy, and the agency of ordinary men and women. This text is based on a field study which I conducted in a district of Mexico City in 2005/2006. I analyze the process of reconstruction of official motherhood ideology and mothering practices on three levels: the official cult of motherhood and state activity, local celebrations of Mother’s Day in the studied community, and women’s individual strategies. These strategies are expressed in the adaptation of the baby shower, an American custom, to local conditions. This adaptation has led to the development of a hybrid cultural form. It is also the site of women’s resistance to the state-supported, hegemonic cult of motherhood.
  • Ludwika Włodek-Biernat, Iranian Women. Quest for Freedom and Equality;
    The Islamic Republic of Iran is known in the world as a country of oppression and discrimination against women. Ironically, Iranian women are very active in public life and fulfil important social roles. Not only do women represent a majority of Iranian university students but many are respected academic teachers, lawyers and journalists.
    Educated Iranian women once backed the Islamic Revolution. However, the system that ensued restricted their freedom by introducing anachronistic regulations based on literal understanding of Islamic law (the Sharia) but, on the other hand, it opened up personal growth opportunities for women from poorer and more traditional social strata.
    Many of today’s Iranian feminists are the beneficiaries of the post-revolutionary education system. The Islamic Republic has given them an opportunity to get education but fails to provide them with rights that would match their qualifications: women are discriminated against at courts and married women are made dependent on their husbands who are often less educated than their wives. The Iranian regime views the quest for gender equality as a way to oppose the current political system. The proponents of equality are persecuted and imprisoned in very much the same way as dissidents who demand political liberalisation and abolishment of censorship. Simultaneously, the idea of equal rights has been incorporated into political programmes of all opponents of the current Iranian government.
  • Women’s Rights in Muslim Countries. Interview with Homa Hoodfar;
  • Communiques;
  • Books Recommended
The basic research problem discussed in this article concerns two inextricably linked fundamental issues. The first of them is connected with a specific character of the social capital in the Polish rural women’s environment, which in this paper is defined in terms of social participation and co-operation based on social trust, maintained networks of contacts, and on the system of their shared values and moral norms. Therefore, definite indices of social trust were adopted for this analysis. They are regarded as independent variables, which can determine the direction and the intensity of rural women’ participation in the socio-political life. The other issue refers to establishing a set of determinants-as exhaustive as possible-of the present and potential participation of rural women in the socio-political life and defining the role played by their social capital as one of these determinants.