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In sociology, feminization is a shift in gender roles and sex roles in a society, group, or organization towards a focus upon the feminine. This is the opposite of a cultural focus upon masculinity.

Scholar Ann Douglas chronicled the rise of what she describes as sentimental "feminization" of American mass culture in the 19th century, in which writers of both sexes underscored popular convictions about women's weaknesses, desires, and proper place in the world.[1]

Such a figurative societal shift has also been remarked upon in more modern times:

The point is that there is a serious ideological war in progress in this underworld of Cyberspace, a place which also controls the nuclear weapons of the world through the Computer Empire. This war is the same war which women have been struggling against for thousands of years. As the millennium changes, so too is it time to end this war which is draining our vital resources that are needed to save the Biosphere from total destruction. It is time that women be acknowledged as the natural sovereigns of the species so that we will be in a position to use our knowledge and wisdom we have in creating a world where all our benevolent dreams find a way to self-actualize.[2]

It can also mean the incorporation of women into a group or a profession that was once dominated only by men.

Potential examples of feminization in society can include:

  • The feminization of education - Majority female teachers, and a female majority of students in higher education.[3]
  • The feminization of television - Television network programming decisions.
  • The feminization of poverty – Less income for females than males in the labour market, female single headed households seem to be face poverty the most severely than other women.

The feminization of poverty helps one understand that poverty may be an issue due to gender inequality. Especially in developing countries, females tend to undergo poverty more frequently and longer than males. Poverty reduction programs need to focus more on helping women,[citation needed] and not just about improving the income levels of households. By contributing the necessary resources, it offers hope for the populations that poverty will be reduced for all women and for the entire country.[4]

See also



  1. ^ Ann Douglas (1977). The Feminization of American Culture. Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN 0-374-52558-7
  2. ^ Doctress Neutopia (1994). The Feminization of Cyberspace. Feminism and Women's Studies
  3. ^ Carole Leathwood, Barbara Read, 'Gender and the Changing Face of Higher Education: A Feminized Future?', Open University Press, ISBN 9780335227143, 2008.
  4. ^ Sylvia Chant (2008). The 'feminisation of poverty' and the 'feminisation' of anti-poverty programmes: Room for revision?, Journal of Development Studies 44 (2):165-197

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