Essay 3

A Gender Museum Exhibit: Gender, Work and Families

This assignment provides a rich opportunity to integrate and present your knowledge about gender, work and families, drawing from course material. While you should focus primarily on material from the latter part of WGS.101, you can also include earlier historical material. Draw examples from readings (or films) to support your points; use parenthetical citations to document sources (see citation handout). Be sure to introduce quotes adequately, creating smooth transitions between your writing and that of sources.

Assume, for this assignment, that you are designing a gender studies museum exhibit primarily for adults entitled “Gender, Work and Families.” (“Work” means any purposeful activity, including housework / family caregiving, volunteering and paid employment.) Write a short informative essay (5 pages.–1250 words) to orient viewers to the gender issues and critical questions in the exhibit, drawing explicitly upon at least six course readings. (The essay addresses a popular readership; include a thesis or “mapping” statement previewing central issues / questions of the exhibit.) Envision yourself as a museum educator; the essay should motivate engagement with the exhibit. It’s often best to pose critical questions to open up new ways of thinking about gender, work and families than explicitly advocating specific position(s). Imagine this essay as a brochure accompanying a visual exhibit.

Following the essay, list at least ten different items to display (in order) with a brief interpretive caption (1–2 lines) for each (approx. 3 pages.). (Display items can include timelines, charts / graphs, ads, clips from films or TV shows, short quotes from readings or newspaper articles, photos, etc. Include images from the Internet, if you can.) Your focus can be global as well as U.S.– based. The essay should refer explicitly to some, but not necessarily all, items on display.

This exhibit could explore issues such as: gender socialization; the history of women in the U.S. workforce; the gendered wage gap; sex segregation in the labor force; workplace gender discrimination; LGBTQ+ issues in workplaces; the intersection of race and gender issues in employment; equal opportunity legislation; “glass ceilings” and “sticky floors”; affirmative action; parental / family leave and related benefit policies in the U.S. and other countries; the gendered division of labor in households; the value of housework / family caregiving; the diversity of families (what and who defines a “family”); global dimensions of gendered work, e.g., outsourcing and “care chains”; gender, status and power in business and the professions, especially science and engineering; gender and entrepreneurship.

Note: You do not need to cover all these issues, but be sure to include topics related to family caregiving as well as workplace experience.

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