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In sociology, feminization is the shift in gender roles and sex roles in a society, group, or organization towards a focus upon the feminine. It can also mean the incorporation of women into a group or a profession that was once dominated by men. [1]

Potential examples of feminization in societyEdit

  • Feminization of education – Majority female teachers, a female majority of students in higher education and a curriculum which is better suited to the learning process of women.[2]
  • Feminization of the workplace — Lower paying female-dominated occupations such as; (1) food preparation, food-serving and other food-related occupations, and (2) personal care and service. [3].

Introduction of feminizationEdit

Defining the term "feminization" can be complicated due to its meaning being unstable, as it can be portrayed as either a social process or as a critique of a process. Feminization has two basic meanings. The first concerns a person who was not initially feminine but becomes feminine later in their life through the perceptions of both the individual and those around them. According to gender theorist Judith Butler, a person's gender is not solely an act of will or self-description, as it is also shaped by the people who describe, categorize, and treat the person according to their own perceptions of their gender. The second meaning of the term feminization describes when a person who originally had feminine qualities begins to incorporate more feminine attributes into their personality in some way, shape, or form. The term has often been used to describe females, however over time it shifted to where the term can be used to describe the process of someone or something becoming more feminine by adopting feminine qualities.[4]

A woman in suit

Feminization of povertyEdit

Women are more likely than men to live below the poverty line, a phenomenon known as the feminization of poverty. The 2015 poverty rates for men and women in the U.S. were 10% and 15% respectively. Women are less likely to pursue advanced degrees and tend to have low paying jobs. It has been argued that there is a gender pay gap: even with the same level of education and occupational role, women earn much less than men,[5], whether due to discrimination or to differences in choices.[6]

Feminization of the labor forceEdit

Feminization of the labor force in present day associations is inescapable in that females make up half of the labor force and the revelation of them as a potential profitable asset.[7] Post-war, there have been considerable advances in balancing the workforce when comparing women and men's job status and pay rates in the North America and Europe economies.[8]

Feminization and the living wage movementEdit

Feminists of the modern day living wage movement began in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 1990's right in the very heart and depths of the struggling urban poor. [3] Around this same time, Baltimore churches became involved in providing the poor with needed social services. [3] Even though national prosperity and rising stock markets seemed to be showing growth, more and more full-time workers were relying on soup kitchens, low-income housing assistance, and thrift store purchases for clothing. [3] Their jobs did not pay enough to keep families above the poverty line. [3] Whole communities became known as the "working poverty."[3]


  1. ^ Ann Douglas (1977). The Feminization of American Culture. Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN 0-374-52558-7
  2. ^ Carole Leathwood, Barbara Read, 'Gender and the Changing Face of Higher Education: A Feminized Future?', Open University Press, ISBN 978-0-335-22714-3, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Snarr, C. Melissa. “Women's Working Poverty: Feminist and Religious Alliances in the Living Wage Movement.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, vol. 27, no. 1, 2011, pp. 75–93. JSTOR, JSTOR,
  4. ^ Imhoff, Sarah (Spring–Summer 2016). "The myth of American Jewish feminization" (PDF). Jewish Social Studies. Indiana University Press. 21 (3): 126–152. doi:10.2979/jewisocistud.21.3.05. JSTOR 10.2979/jewisocistud.21.3.05.
  5. ^ "Beijing +5 – Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century Twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, 5-9 June 2000". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  6. ^ Schow, Ashe (January 13, 2016). "Harvard prof. takes down gender wage gap myth". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "Why The Feminisation Of The Workplace Is Good News For Everyone". Huffington Post India. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  8. ^ "Feminization of the labor force : paradoxes and promises in SearchWorks catalog". Retrieved 2018-04-16.