Change in Attitudes Beliefs and Practices Regarding Gender

In the past the practice of female primogeniture meant that a class of women (first daughters) derived high status from both their economic preeminence and their symbolic association with the continuity of the family line, as expressed in houses, land, and baptismal names. As female primogeniture was replaced by equal inheritance, with marginal preference shown to first daughters over subsequent daughters, and to daughters over sons, women have been able to retain an important source of status and power, but now must compete with men in an unequal job market for the money which buys access to consumer goods. At the same time, Western influences have led to increasingly greater freedom for young women to date and to travel unchaperoned by fathers, mothers, or brothers. Thus, the "double standard" in sexual behavior has eroded.

Clearly young women (and young men) have gained "freedom" in relationship to parental control, a phenomenon reported throughout Greece and Europe as parents no longer control the key resources and knowledge that children need for their adult life (e.g., Argyrou, 1996). However, the influence of Western ideals of romantic love and spousal companionship may increasingly separate women from their female kin who provided the day-to-day support to counter controlling or abusive husbands. As land and houses become less symbolically linked to family continuity, women potentially lose another key source of their previous status. The relationship between "freedom," "power," and "status" raises tricky analytical questions that are the subject of my ongoing research.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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