Since the beginning of geography we have seen its constant participation in the progress of races and genders and drawing the boundaries that separate and exclude the world of privilege from the other. However there are arguments some raised voices against the segregation within the discipline which challenges the sexist legacy still present in geography. Feminist geographers are constantly in search for methods that are in par with their feminist beliefs. Even so a lot of their work is regarded as qualitative, this include ethnographic fieldwork, feminist geographers understand the necessity for feminist approaches in quantitative analysis, and techniques alone do not render the project feminist.
The geographical works on women has developed swiftly over the past decade, as so has the issues brought to light regarding problems facing women within the profession. This can be attributed to the arguments proposed by geographers which challenged the gender role differentiation in people-environment relations.Feminist is not primarily concerned with the development of conceptual theory but rather focuses on the real experiences of individuals and groups in their own localities. Although it is true that feminist geographers are interested in how “theory plays out” on the ground, it is important to think of Feminist geography emerged in the 1980s as a movement within geography that later developed other family of theoretical positions, extending from approaches that are more structuralist in placement, which include, ‘Geography of Women’ socialist feminism, geography of difference. ‘Geography of women’Feminist geography emerged during the late 1970s and onward, take advantage of the second surge of the feminist movement in the 1960s and radical geography’s challenge to examine and to transform spatial divisions in society. Feminism occurs to analytically and self-reflexively examine systems of power at work in everyday life.
With great focus to social differences, such as gender, race, class, ethnicity, age, ability, and sexuality, feminist geography looks at the importance of difference in shaping experiences of space and place. Feminism is well-known for challenging, investigate, expose, contest, and change gendered divisions imposed by society. The main argument presented in feminist geography was that the gender roles and the uneven position of power of women in society deserved to be brought to light as they have been ignored by geographers. Initial studies showed that gender affairs were the result of and revealed in the spatial structure of society. In so doing men and women experienced discrimination regarding work opportunities, wealth, power, and status, this in turn resulted in different spatial relations with respect to accessing of public and private space and time-geographies.
At the core of feminist geography is the concern for the significance of gender, inequality, spatial politics and difference. According to Dixon et al (2014), feminist geography is mainly concerned with the betterment of women’s lives through identifying, as well as through development of an understanding of the sources of women’s oppression, including the forces at work and spatiality of the oppression ( geography of women). This explanation of feminist geography is reflected by the works produced by feminist geographers that have adapted Marxist theory in examining the relations among economic development, space and gender under capitalism (Pratt, 1994). An example is the exclusion identified by Dixon et al (2006) that women have been left out from higher education during the late nineteenth to early twentieth century; early universities were mainly made up of upper-class white men. During that period of time, female were mostly found in the field of teaching and helping professions, and were generally far away in the disciplines and institutions that have played an important role in the formation of modern geography, such as geology and “expert” societies, such as Royal Geographical Society (Rose, 1993; Dixon et al, 2006).
These “expert” societies were profoundly tangled with the creation of geography as a separate and distinct academic discipline, through the definition of geography’s research agenda and methodologies, and the creation of programs in institution of higher education (Dixon et al, 2006). Again in the nineteenth showed women were not well presented in the discipline; “the gender representation in science during the nineteenth century mostly excluded women, firstly science in general secondly those specific methods that roughly established physical geography of previous years which developed the discipline” (McEwan, 1998). Early feminist geographic have also indicated how women entirely have been disadvantaged regardless of if it was local scale or global scale (in cities in relation to men). The difficulties they faced were displayed over the market place, public planning, admittance to various services, and violence (Bondi 1998).
In that regard Feminist geography took the quest to understand the relationship between the division in gender and spatial divisions, as well as to challenge their imaginary naturalness and justification. This involves the examination of gender roles and divisions within the discipline itself with regards to the emphasis of study, the history, and practice of geography, and the balance of men and women employed as professional geographers and career structures, and challenging how geographical research is hypothesized and practised.As much as feminist geography is greatly regarded as geography of women, however, feminist geographers did not engage exclusively with the lives of women. Feminist geographers are also concerned with development of geography, in relation to the exclusion and isolation of female scholars from the discipline, and how this has affected geographic research and thought.Socialist feminist geographySocialist feminism is a branch of feminism that focuses on both the public and private spheres of a women’s life. It argues that liberation can be achieved through ending both the economic as well as the cultural sources of women’s oppression. At best socialist feminism is a two way driven theory which, which not only broadens the Marxist argument on the role of capitalism and the oppression of women, but also radical feminism theory of the role of women and patriarchy. At the core of socialist feminism is it strive to develop theories that explain relationship between capitalism and patriarchy.
However socialist feminism rejects radical feminism claim that patriarchy is the only source of women’s oppression, instead socialist feminist are convinced that women are unable to be independent due to their financial dependability to men in society. Women are subjects to the male ruler in capitalism caused by an uneven balance in wealth. They see women’s liberation as dependent on economic liberation from the suppressors which are men.
Also socialist feminist identify women’s emancipation as a much needed part of larger quest for economic, political and social justice. Hartman defines Patriarchy as a set of social relations between men which have material base. This material base resides in the males past control over women’s labour power, this control is made up through the restriction of women from access to significant economic resources. Control of men over women spans into various field of society such as in the labour power which also varies from different societies. An example is whereby women need to please her partner or lover so that he does not leave her and their children, or in the work area where a women has to please her boss so that he does not fire her. Socialist feminism also draws upon many concept from Marxism, such as the historical materialist point of view, which means they convey their ideologies to the material and history of people’s lives. It looks at how sexism as well as gender division of labour of different past periods is determined by the economic system of the time, those conditions are mostly expressed through capitalist and patriarchy relation. It however rejects the Marxist perception that class struggle are the primary defining aspect of history and economic development.
Marxism states that when class oppression is stopped only then will gender oppression end. Socialist feminist argue that this view of gender oppression as a subclass of a class oppression is naïve. Considerable amount of work done by socialist has gone on to specifying how gender and class work together to form distinct forms of oppression and privilege for women and men of each class. And so unlike Marxist theory, socialist feminist believe that the home is not just a place of consumption but also of production too.
In the sense that women’s work within the home, having raised children and also supporting men by doing household activities like cooking, cleaning, and other forms of household work, while men are out working are all forms of production as in the greater picture they contribute to society. Production according to socialist feminism should not be measured in financial aspect but rather in social worth. And so patriarchy and capitalism are predicted to some sort of compromise, feminist forecast. ‘Feminist Geographies of Difference’The main focus of feminist geography is not limited to the improvement of the theoretical abstract but also with the actual experiences of women in their locals. In more distinction feminist geography studies the “situated knowledge that are derived from the lives and experiences of women in different social and geographic locations” (Staeheli et al. 2004:1–2). The third component of feminist geography is the feminist geography of difference. Geographies of Difference’ has a habit of reflecting more carefully the experiences of women, who over the past decade have begun to draw on a wide range of social and cultural theories in order to improve a more in-depth and intersectional understanding of the ways in which bodies and subjectivities shape, and are shaped by, space.
Feminist geographies of difference focus upon the structure of gendered identities, variances between women, gender and structures of nature by utilising the cultural, post-structural, postcolonial and psychoanalytic theories (from various points of women of colour, lesbian women, gay men and women).In relation to geography, feminist geographers highlight mostly the micro-geographies of various characteristics, body, space, separation and place, imagined geographies, colonialism and post-colonialism, and environment or nature. Ever since the late 1980s, the field has seen a gradual move extending into three other research areas. The first being the challenging and developing of the grouping of genders concerning men and women. It seems as there is a growing interest from feminist geographers concerning the changes in structures of gender relations with regard to race, age, religion, sexuality and nationality. Furthermore, feminist geographers are becoming more and more focused on women in numerous techniques occurring in multiple axis of differences.The second research area is the broadening of the knowledge and understanding of how gender relationships and identities ae created and presumed, a wider range of social theory, a certain culture and particularly how they are drawn by feminist geographers.
From the gathered knowledge feminist geographers are more capable of analysing and arguing after they have emphasized on the various means of identification and impacts of post-structuralist and psychoanalytic. The third key area is the arguments on the various relativism and situated knowledge, as well as methods to resolve the limited perceptions with assurance to political actions and social changes.Conclusion Women have continued to be invisible throughout most of the history within the discipline, and when represented, it has been in the form of supporting role, indicating the world of work which favoured men. And so geography maintained the belief of separate public and domestic scopes, based on the ideological divisions which has limited the access of women in the public field, and the doubtfulness of our understand of gender relations as difficult relations of power.
Feminist geography can be separated into three ‘classes’, the geography of women, socialist feminist geography and feminist geographies of difference (Johnston et al, 2000). The geography of women emphases on the explanation of the effects of gender inequality; socialist feminist geography gives description of inequality and relationships between capitalism and patriarchy, whereas feminist geographies of difference focus on the structures of gendered identities, differences among women, gender and constructions of nature.Feminist geographers have made critical participations into the ways in which of research is conducted in geography, such as the presentation of feminist epistemologies and methodologies that challenge the masculinist construction of science as unbiased, neutral, and value-free, rather arguing that research always has a positionality that produces situated knowledge (Hall).
Over time feminist set out to achieve a number of things such as opening the discipline up to more female geographers, through more unbiased hiring procedures and attempts to shift oppressive departmental cultures (Mott. 2016). And to stimulate geographers to improve scholarship that was aware of gender and that included studies of women and women’s concerns (Mott. 2016). Since the beginning of feminist geography attention to gender has thus advanced into an emphasis on social difference more broadly interpreted.
Feminist geographers have emphasized the significance of embodiment, emotion, and spaces of intimacy through geographic research. Hence nowadays we find the word “feminist” within geography implies to various things. For example, feminist geographies are often fixed in social justice concerns, attentive to the capacity for scholarship to call attention to the ways affected communities are negatively impacted by oppressive forces at work in the world. Another example is that feminist geographers are concerned with how greater regimes of power, such as governmental and corporate entities, and problematic social norms, are experienced and negotiated in people’s everyday lives. Feminist geography has faced some critism, some argued that feminist geography is simply concerned discussions of women’s inequality rather than relating it to space. The gender separations that feminist geography is mostly attentive to are often rigid and unjustifiable in many conditions and it’s then clear that these rigid gender divisions which can grow as a result, are not always the greatest theoretical approach, and sometimes a more flexible method is advisable.
The work of feminist geographers has transformed research into everyday social activities such as wage earning, commuting, maintaining a family (however defined), and recreation, as well as major life events, such as migration, procreation, and illness. It has propelled changes in debates over which basic human needs such as shelter, education, food, and health care. And finally with the few flaws faced by feminist geography, it is at a stage of development and so it is essential for Feminist geography to develop a gendered theory coming from critiques of masculine geography for its survival in the current academic field.
?References Feminist Geography Carrie Mott LAST MODIFIED: 21 JANUARY 2016 DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199874002-0123 http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199874002/obo-9780199874002-0123.xmlMorrison, C-A., Johnston, L., ; Longhurst, R. (2013).
Critical geographies of love as spatial, relational and political, Progress in Human Geography, 37 (4), 505-521. Karen Dias ; Jennifer Blecha (2007) Feminism and Social Theory in Geography: An Introduction , The Professional Geographer, 59(1): 1-9LeVasseur, M (1993) Finding a Way: Encouraging Underrepresented Groups in Geography: An Annotated Bibliography. Indiana, PA: National Council for Geographic Educationhttps://www.ukessays.com/essays/geography/theories-feminist-geography-7827.phpMorrison, C-A.
, Johnston, L., ; Longhurst, R. (2013). Critical geographies of love as spatial, relational and political, Progress in Human Geography, 37 (4), 505-521.Women and Geography Study Group. (1997). Feminist geographies: Explorations in diversity and difference, London: Longman