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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. 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]

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

Potential examples of feminization in society can include:

  • 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]
  • Feminisation of the workplace
  • Feminization of migration


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.[3]

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 even with the same level of education and occupational role, women earn much less than men,[4] although other sources have disputed the idea of a wage gap in American society.[5]

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.[6]


  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. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ Schow, Ashe (January 13, 2016). "Harvard prof. takes down gender wage gap myth". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Why The Feminisation Of The Workplace Is Good News For Everyone". Huffington Post India. Retrieved 2017-05-08.