Expectations of male

of male dominance in private heterosexual
relations are reinforced by men’s greater access to economic,
political, religious, and cultural power in public life. In a
1992 contribution to the Annual of the Society of Christian
Ethics, Christine Firer Hinze analyzed how the creation and
maintenance of distinct public and private realms tends to
keep women dependent on male earning power and status.
“A ‘feminized’ private realm confers indirect status and
informal power in childbearing, homemaking, and other
personalized nurturing, caretaking and consumption tasks
… a separate, ‘masculinized’ public arena disperses public
status and formal power in cultural, political, and economic
matters” (Hinze, p. 283). Even within the public realm,
women are most frequently employed in domestic service
and in technical service and sales occupations with lower
status and salaries than male-dominated occupations. In the
United States, women of color are disproportionately represented
in the lowest-paid positions in domestic service
compared with white women (U.S. Department of Labor).
Delores S. Williams, in her contribution to the 1994 book,
Violence against Women, offered a nuanced analysis of violence
in the United States against women of color. She
insisted that the analytic context of violence against African-
American women must include attention to three levels: (1)
the national level, the history of national violence against
African-American people; (2) the work level, including the
violence African-American women experience working in
the homes of white employers; and (3) the home level,
violence experienced in their own homes. The differences
between male and female access to power and between
women of different ethnic groups become especially apparent
when women who decide to leave abusive partners try to
find adequate jobs, housing, medical care, child care, and
education for their children.


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