Sociology: Gender Differences Among High, Middle, and Low Income Countries

Title: How does Sociology Explain Gender Differences Among High, Middle and Low Income Countries?
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Sociology, Gender Studies, Population Studies
Authors: Helen Rosenberg, Teresa Reinders, Anne Statham, University of Wisconsin – Parkside
Submission Date: November 7, 2007

Executive Summary

Learning Goals: The anticipated focus of the lesson study was the challenge of getting students to examine everyday issues through a sociological lens. We wanted to learn ways to enhance students’ abilities to make the connection between learning theory (factors that impact global stratification) and understanding experience (how the level of stratification of a nation from a global perspective impacts gender stratification on a national level and women’s quality of life on a individual level). As part of our lesson study training, we hoped to develop skills to aid students in making the theory-experience connection. Secondly, students worked in groups and were required to develop a poster and report as a team. Therefore, a second goal of the lesson study was developing an organizational strategy for presenting findings through a team effort.

Instructional Design: Instructors adapted two iterations of an active learning exercise based on Bradshaw, et al. (2001, pps. 272-273) Gender Inequality with and between Nations: Internet Research. The first iteration was designed to get students to generalize about differences among high, middle, and low income nations. Students compared nations on the following indicators: life expectancy, contraceptive use, educational attainment, women in the military and government, and women in the workforce. The second iteration required students to apply their knowledge from the first iteration to gender stratification from a national and individual perspective. This moved students from understanding indicators that defined the status of a nation globally to applying this status to gender stratification and then speculating about how women’s status impacts their everyday lives. Students presented information about different nations they chose to study as part of the first iteration and then discussed gender differences as part of the second iteration. Students were required to study a nation and create a poster (Appendix A) describing that nation on the assigned indicators, discuss the impact of the income level of the nation and gender stratification, make generalizations about the quality of life of women in that nation and compare this to other nations. Students wrote up findings in a final group paper.

Findings about student learning: From this assignment, students learned differences among nations, economically, socially, and politically with specific emphasis on gender differences, considering commonalities and differences as a function of survival in a global, interdependent community. They began to see patterns in nations on the basis of income levels, but also noted that middle income nations varied the most on criteria used to describe them. They gathered information on gender differences across all nations, but these differences were not made explicit until iteration two of the lesson study. Students learned through experience and interaction about differences across nations and how women’s lives are impacted. Issues of number of children, contraceptive use, role of religion and tradition, role of women in childrearing versus employment outside the home, and role of women in government were discussed.

Sociology Lesson Study: Gender Differences Among High, Middle, and Low Income Countries (Final Report)

Report Appendix containing:

A. Student posters,
B. Group Project on Global Stratification,
C. Informed Consent Form,
D. Poster Project Rubric,
E. Global Stratification Table
F. Discussion Sheet: Gender Stratification
G. Observer’s Notes
H. Sample Syllabus
I. Rosenberg’s Notes

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