Considering women in light of global majority and minority relations

Learning about the role of women includes a global perspective.

Majority-Minority Relations: Global Perspectives, taught by associate professor of sociology, Karen Lang Krause gives students the chance to look at gender studies from a different viewpoint.

The class was developed by Lang Krause and was previously offered last winter.

“We don’t typically talk in global terms, so in a way it was quite new to students,” Lang Krause said. “I designed the class with an open description so that we can look at women as the largest minority.”

The class looks at the roles, rights and status of women across the globe. Through intersectional study, students consider women’s positions and the hierarchies that exist for gender, ethnicity, race, class, sexual orientation, ability and age.

“Women are a subservient group because they don’t have equal rights worldwide,” Lang Krause said. “We look at women’s roles worldwide so that we can understand the power dynamics.”

Despite the focus on women, Lang Krause said the class also speaks on broader issues. For example, men and women in India are born into the caste system. Even if a man is born into a lower caste than a woman, he is still considered to have more power than she does.

“We’re not just talking about women,” she said. “It’s a more complex understanding of power relationships.”

The class will also discuss women’s legal rights, globalization, the environment, sexuality, human trafficking and the movements that have been undertaken by women across the globe.

The class is important for those who wish to have a broader view on majority-minority relationships.

“We’re living in a global society, and I think students need to be prepared to move into an occupation where they can view their job globally, and not just on a national level,” Lang Krause said. “To be a citizen of the world, we need a global perspective. It is imperative that we have a view of international relationships.”

To study majority-minority relations and gender issues requires considering what human rights means, in light of the issues that are salient in different societies and cultures.

“Gender studies in general is informed by the multitude of views worldwide,” Lang Krause said. “The way we look at our rights may be very different from the way rights are looked at in another country.”

SOC407 is being offered during the winter semester as an elective for sociology.

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