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Gender Relations in the Earliest Societies: Patriarchal or Not?

The dominance of 'father figure' gods in monotheistic religions suggests a long history of patriarchy, if societies create gods that reflect their own structure. It is generally assumed that human societies have always been patriarchal. However, this belief has been questioned by some anthropologists.
Any view on the nature of gender relations in early societies must be tentative, given the problematic nature of evidence about pre-historic social organisation. This lecture draws on anthropological and other scholarship to re-assess the prevailing view and briefly considers the implications of current patriarchal structures for us as humanists.

Jay Ginn was formerly a Senior Research Fellow and a founding Co-Director of the Centre for Research and Ageing and Gender at the University of Surrey, where she is now Visiting Professor of Sociology. She is also a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Gerontology, Kings College London.
A key research interest continues to be in gender and class differences in the economic resources of older people, the evolving mix of state and private pensions internationally and how private pension acquisition is shaped by gender, marital status, parental status and class. Another research strand is midlife attitudes to employment and retirement. Jay has regularly provided evidence to government consultations on pensions and was invited to give evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs. She has advised the Fawcett Society, Women’s Budget Group and the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) on pensions, writing and editing information booklets for the Women’s Working Party of the NPC. She is often invited to talk to pensioner and women’s groups. She is gender advisor to the Social Protection Expert Group of AGE Europe

Jay co-authored Gender and Later Life (Sage, 1991) and co-edited Connecting Gender and Ageing (Open University Press 1995), both with Sara Arber, co-edited Women, Work and Pensions: International issues and prospects (Open University Press, 2001) and sole-authored Gender, Pensions and the Lifecourse (Policy Press 2003). Jay was employed for 10 months at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, Holland , as part of an international group researching ageing and social integration, 2002-3.


Prof Jay Ginn | talks | www


Date and Time:

11 April 2010 at 11:00 am


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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