Gender Communication in Social Institutions Topic: Work By Corey Templeton
Overview Areas that will be covered: • Gender/Sex • Gender Communica>on • Work as a Social Ins>tu>on • Gender and Work • Gender Communica>on in the Workplace • The Future of Gender and Work as a Social Ins>tu>on
Gender/sex? What is As deﬁned by the World Health Organiza>on: Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteris>cs that deﬁne men and women. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, ac>vi>es, and aKributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Examples of Sex – Male and Female Examples of Gender – Masculine and Feminine For this presenta>on, I will use primarily use the term gender, but it will apply to both the socially constructed and biological meanings of both gender and sex.
Gender Communication? What is As DeFrancisco & Palczewski (2007, pg. 107) summarized: “People literally speak and perform their bodies and iden55es into being” Gender is one of many aKributes that make up an individual. It is also one of the most recognizable from the perspec>ve of studying communica>on. How individuals communicate and construct gender, both verbally and nonverbally, has implica>ons on how the individual is perceived on interpersonal and cultural levels.
Work as a SOCIAL INSTITUTION? What is For the purpose of this presenta>on, I will deﬁne work and social ins>tu>ons using the deﬁni>ons provided in the textbook (DeFrancisco & Palczewski, 2007): “The meaning of work is not universal. From culture to culture and from >me to >me, the meaning signiﬁcance of work shiYs. At the present .me in the United States, if someone were asked to deﬁne work, she or he would most likely deﬁne it as paid work outside the home” (pg. 201). Sociologist Margaret Anderson (2006) deﬁnes ins$tu$ons as “established pa1erns of behavior with a par$cular and recognized purpose; ins5tu5ons include speciﬁc par5cipants who share expecta5ons and act in speciﬁc roles, with rights and du5es aGached to them.” (pg. 142)
Work as a Social institution The deﬁni>ons of work and social ins>tu>ons are broad, much like the ac>vi>es and organiza>ons they seek to deﬁne. Since culture plays a major role in these deﬁni>ons, I will tackle this topic using my own culture. Work is a major social ins.tu.on, especially in capitalist socie>es such as the United States. The highest unemployment rate in the United States, since it has been oﬃcially recorded, was 10.8% in November and December of 1982 (Manuel, 2012). Work, or the absence of work, is a major aspect of everyone’s life in the Un>ed States. One of the ﬁrst things that people ask a new acquaintance is: “What do you do?” What is usually being asked through this ques>on is: “What do you do for work?”
Work as a social institution DeFrancisco and Palczewski (2007, pg. 202) reference a number of sources which speak to the importance of work in American culture: • “The almost unques5oned belief that work is good and the demoniza5on of those on welfare demonstrates the way rhetorical construc5ons of work maintain its func5on as a social ins5tu5on” (Schram, 1995). • “The job a man does is ‘a major basis of iden5ty and what it means to be a man’” (Messerschmidt, 1996). • “Every U.S. ci5zen is expected to work, to become a ‘taxpaying ci5zen’” (Pateman, 1989).
Gender and Work • Some occupa>ons are more gender segregated than others. In some instances it brings up the ques>on of equality and in other cases it brings up the ques>on of whether males and females do tend to have some inherent preferences for certain kinds of work. • For example, the small amount of female CEO’s at Fortune 500 companies appears out of balance based on how many females work at those companies. In contrast, there may not be outright discrimina>on preven>ng women from working in the logging industry, but it is an occupa>on in our culture that rela>vely few women pursue.
Gender and Work Data complied from 2007 illustrates gender segrega>on in various careers: More than 90% Female: More than 90% Male: • Dental hygienists • Logging workers • Preschool/kindergarten teachers • Automo>ve body/related repairers • Secretaries and admin. assistants • Cement masons, concrete ﬁnishers • Dental assistants and terrazzo workers • Speech-‐language pathologists • Bus and truck mechanics and diesel • Licensed prac>cal/licensed voca>onal engine specialists nurses • Electrical power-‐line installers/• Child care workers repairers • Hairdressers/hair stylists/ • Tool and die makers cosmetologists • Roofers • Recep>onists/informa>on clerks • Heavy vehicle/mobile equipment • Payroll/>mekeeping clerks service Home appliance repairers • Crane and tower operators
Gender and Work • “…Gendering of organiza5ons is maintained through communica5ve prac5ces such as ‘organiza5onal structure, ideology, interac5ons among works, and in the construc5on and maintenance of individual iden55es’” -‐(DeFrancisco & Palczewski, 2007, p. 202) In the textbook, the authors note that sociologist Dana M. BriKon describes all work ins>tu>ons as being masculine. Although that s>ll seems to be primarily true, I think there are excep>ons. Prior to the industrial revolu>on, what we considered “work” was primarily carried out by men and this naturally led to work being masculinized. The increasing number of women in the workforce will undoubtedly bring a more gender neutral (or at least less-‐masculine) workplace in the future.
Gender and Work The overall percentage of women in the workplace overtook the percentage of men in 1990 (Shedlock, 2012): 50%
Gender and Work Although the amount of women employed in the United States is greater than the amount of men, women only made 79.9% of the income of men (as of 2008). It is encouraging, however, that the pay gap is clearly moving in the right direc>on. (Fogary, 2012)
Gender and Work Despite the overall income equality between women and men in the United States, recent data from 2012 highlights a new trend: “Overall, women s>ll earn only about 80 percent of mens wages, but among young adults, women out-‐earn men. According to a recent analysis of 147 of the countrys 150 biggest ci>es conducted by a market research company, the median full-‐>me salaries of young women are 8 percent higher than those of their male peers. In some ci>es, young women bring in as much as 20 percent more. Experts aBribute the disparity to the growing gap in educa.onal achievement” (Stuart, 2012).
Gender Communication in the workplace Communica>on paKerns in the workplace tend to follow broader cultural trends. Even in the largest corpora>ons, individual workers s>ll have their own unique iden>>es and communica>on paKerns. General stereotypes about men and women in the workplace: “As bosses, men tend to be more authoritarian and women more collabora5ve. Men dont give much feedback; women want too much feedback. Men are thought not to ask enough ques5ons; women are thought to ask too many ques5ons.” (Tugend, 2012). Is there truth in the above stereotypes? For every example given, I can certainly think of both men and women that meet or do not meet those generalized expecta>ons of their gender.
Gender Communication in the workplace Just as our social ins>tu>ons have been created through gender, our understanding of gender is aﬀected by our social ins>tu>ons. “As men engage in gendering prac5ces consistent with ins5tu5onalized norms and stereotypes of masculinity, they nonetheless create social closure and oppression” (DeFrancisco & Palczewski, 2007, pg. 206). Instead of seeking to create a completely gender-‐neutral workplace, I think there may be value in recognizing diﬀerences between genders and invi>ng people to u>lize the most beneﬁcial traits associated with either gender as it relates to the task at hand. For instance, most workplaces require employees that are ﬂexible and able to solve problems in a variety of ways.
Gender Communication in the workplace There are many laws and regula>ons that seek equality for all genders in the workplace. The AFL-‐CIO (the largest labor union in the U.S) website provides some informa>on on this maKer: • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimina.on based on sex by a private employer, state or local government or educa>onal ins>tu>on with 15 or more employees. • Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimina>on that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 • Congress is considering the Employment Non-‐Discrimina>on Act (ENDA) that would prohibit discrimina>on in hiring, ﬁring, promo>ons, compensa>on and other employment prac>ces because of a person’s sexual orienta.on or gender iden.ty by employers with 15 or more employees.
The Future I think it is important to recognize how work is closely linked to the rest of our our lives, and that it’s success in being a posi>ve part of society does not stop and end at the beginning and end of the workday. Since work is such an important part of our lives, it is very much worth studying as a social ins>tu>on. Our textbook looks at the importance of intersec>onality (how various intersec>ng factors aﬀect our iden>>es) and just as intersec>onality creates individuals it creates and maintains our social ins>tu>ons as well. Just as people are more than simply a gender, work is also dependent upon other factors such as the ins>tu>ons of family, educa>on, and media. I think that studying gender holis>cally, from an individual to a societal level, will always be a beneﬁcial prac>ce.
Works Cited DeFrancisco, Victoria, and Catherine Helen. Palczewski. Communica5ng Gender Diversity: A Cri5cal Approach. Los Angeles: Sage Publica>ons, 2007. Print. Fogarty, Kevin. "Gender and the Workplace." TheLadders.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2012. <hKp:// www.theladders.com/career-‐advice/gender-‐workplace>. "How Women Spend Their Time." U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta5s5cs. U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta>s>cs, Mar. 2011. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. < hKp://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2011/women/>. Manuel, Dave. "Unemployment Rates in the United States since 1948." DaveManuel.com. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. < hKp://www.davemanuel.com/historical-‐unemployment-‐rates-‐in-‐the-‐united-‐states.php>. Shedlock, Michael. "Percentage Growth in Government Jobs vs. Private Jobs: Some Facts." Web log post. Financial Sense. N.p., 14 Aug. 2012. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. <hKp:// hKp://www.ﬁnancialsense.com/contributors/michael-‐shedlock/percentage-‐growth-‐in-‐government-‐jobs-‐vs-‐ private-‐jobs-‐some-‐facts Stuart, Elizabeth. "Growing Pains: Rate of Young Men Struggling in Careers Alarmingly Higher than for Young Women." DeseretNews.com. N.p., 2 June 2012. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. <hKp:// www.deseretnews.com/ar>cle/765580083/Growing-‐pains-‐Rate-‐of-‐young-‐men-‐struggling-‐in-‐ careers-‐alarmingly-‐higher-‐ than-‐for-‐young-‐women.html?pg=all>. "Tradi>onal Jobs For Men And Women And The Gender Divide." Weblog post. The Digera5 Life. N.p., 29 May 2007. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. <hKp://www.thedigera>life.com/blog/index.php/2007/05/29/tradi>onal-‐jobs-‐for-‐men-‐and-‐women-‐the-‐gender-‐divide/> Tugend, Alina. "Why Dont Women Act More Like Men at Work?" The Atlan5c. N.p., 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. <hKp:// www.theatlan>c.com/business/archive/2012/03/why-‐dont-‐ women-‐act-‐more-‐like-‐men-‐at-‐work/254556/>. "What Do We Mean by "sex" and "gender"?" WHO. World Health Organiza>on, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. <hKp://www.who.int/gender/ wha>sgender/en/>. "Your Rights at Work." AFL-‐CIO. N.p., 2012. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. <hKp://www.aﬂcio.org/Issues/Civil-‐and-‐Workplace-‐Rights/Your-‐Rights-‐at-‐ Work>. •
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