In: Business and Management

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Although sociological literature reveals scattered references towomen as a minority group, comparable in certain resepcts to racial,ethnic, and national minorities, no systematic investigation has beenundertaken as to what extent the term "minority group" is applicableto women. That there has been little serious consideration of womenas a minority group among sociologists is manifested in the recentlyissued index to Thc American Journal of Sociology whereinunder the heading of "Minority Groups" there appears: "See Jews;Morale; Negro; Races and Nationalities; Religious Groups; Sects."There is no cross-reference to women, but such reference isfound under the heading "Family."

Yet it may well be that regarding women as a minority group may beproductive of fresh insights and suggest leads for further research.The purpose of this paper is to apply to women some portion of thatbody of sociological theory and methodology customarily used forinvestigating such minority groups as Negroes, Jews, immigrants, etc.It may be anticipated that not only will principles alreadyestablished in the field of intergroup relations contribute to ourunderstanding of women, but that in the process of modifyingtraditional concepts and theories to fit the special case of womennew viewpoints for the fruitful reexamination of other minoritygroups will emerge.

In defining the term "minority group," the presence ofdiscrimination is the identifying factor. As Louis Wirth1has pointed out, "minority group" is not a statistical concept, norneed it denote an alien group. Indeed for the present discussion Ihave adopted his definition: "A minority group is any group of peoplewho because of their physical or cultural characteristics, aresingled out from the others in the society in which they live fordifferential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regardthemselves as objects of collective…...

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