Eastern Sociological Society Presidential Address: Globalizing Gender Issues: Many Voices, Different Choices1

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Why are the important gender inequality issues different in various countries around the world? This question is answered using a comparative perspective on extant research about gender inequalities in the regions of the world. Just as there is diversity among individual women, based on their intersecting axes of age, race, ethnicity, class, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, or other characteristics, I argue that there is diversity across countries in their gender inequalities based on intersecting axes of transnational, regional, cross-cutting, and unique national issues that structure gendered or feminist concerns within any country. Global and regional dynamics are the interrelated foundations on which broad gender inequalities are built. Major transnational dynamics include neoliberal economics, migration, and violence, while regional patterns include nation building and gendered inequalities in education and property ownership. On the other hand, unique national trajectories and cross-cutting themes, found in a few nations in each region, add much greater variation to those basic inequalities. Some of those cross-cutting themes are problems generated by health status and health services, the relationship of religion to the state, and war or militarism.

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