The Geography of Women: The Influence of Capitalism and Gender on the Spatial Organization of Society
With the relative lack of geographic teaching at all academic levels in the United States, it may not seem immediately clear what geography has to do with the systematic study of women's lives. This chapter will therefore attempt to clarify what a geographic perspective on social issues entails today, while drawing out some of the connections between women and the ways in which capitalist society operates. Essentially, a contemporary geographic perspective emphasizes the spatial outcomes of various social processes such as the operation of the economy, racism, and sexism. A closely related idea that guides geographers' research is that the way space is organized can actually help produce and maintain societal rules and ways of living. Literally, the way we organize space in society can make society work in a particular way. Our cultural values are also underpinned by the spatial organization of society. These two fundamental geographic ideas, that social processes have spatial outcomes, and that society works the way it does in part because of the organization of space (and this includes the gendering of space), will guide the discussion presented in this chaptcr.