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Black Feminism Essay

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Focusing on black women’s experiences highlights the ways in which race plays an important part in their social and economic positioning. Evidence suggests that race significantly affects black women’s experiences of treatment in areas such as education, the health service, and the labour market. The influence of race on how black women receive representation in popular culture and the mass media has also been demonstrated, (Haleh Afshar And Mary Maynard 1995:14).

Taking into account different racial stereotypes, it can be seen that the principal of gender roles; such as stereotypes about the dominant Asian father and the dominant black mother or stereotypes about black men and women as sexual studs. These all indicate the reliance on gender traits for identifying ethnic difference, in looking at specific gender links between ethic and gender divisions in employment and reproduction.

Afro Caribbean women tended mostly to work in Britain as service workers in manufacturing and nursing. Afro-Caribbean men tended to work in construction or the buses. A sexually differentiated labour market will structure the placement of subjects according to sex but ethnic divisions will determine their subordination with them so, for example, black and white women may both be in a lesser within a sexually differentiated labour market but black women will be in a lesser position to white women within this.

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Evidence suggests that within western societies, gender divisions are more important for women than ethnic divisions in terms of labour market subordination. In employment terms, migrant or ethnic women are usually closer to the female population as a whole than to ethnic men in the type of wage-labour performed. Black and migrant women are already disadvantaged by their gender in employment that it is difficult to show the effects of ethnic discrimination.

The location of black women in the labour market reflects and compounds the dimensions of inequality intrinsic to British society, (Floya Anthias and Nira Yuval-Davis1992:111,112). Irrespective of race feminist thinkers and historians have pointed to the ways in which work seems to privilege the men’s experience over women’s; to the ways in which women have been denied access on equal terms to paid work, and to the ways in which definitions of work exclude women’s contribution. Historically, home and work have not always been separate.

It was only with the emergence of industrial capitalist production that they became spatially separated and even now, the separation is not complete. Women have always been part of the informal cash economy that co-existed with the development of formal production in factories and other specialized workplaces. Women have always done domestic work for no financial reward; the significant shift was not from leisure to work but from homework to employer-employee working relations, (Ray E.

Pahl 1992:123). In conclusion, gender inequality refers to the various differences in status, power, and prestige enjoyed by women and men in various contexts. Feminist approaches reject the idea that gender inequality is somehow natural. Black feminists have seen factors such as class and ethnicity, in addition to gender, as essential for understanding the oppression experienced by non-white women.

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