Work pp

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Work pp

  1. 1. Work as a Social Institution Interlocking Institutions It’s Not About Sex Difference Work Constructs (and Constrains) Gender Work as Liberation and Locations of Empowerment in Work Communicating Gender Diversity A Critical Approach
  2. 2. Work as a Social Institution ○The meaning of work is not at all universal. Different cultures each have different meanings of what work is. In the United States a man or woman would most likely describe work as getting paid outside of the home. ○Mothers who don’t have wage paying jobs that require them to leave home to the public as seen as not working but they would disagree explaining raising a child is work. Work in the United States could be described as an individual’s income, and with no proof of income comes society’s thought of unemployed. ○In the United States, “work ethic” creates an expectation that all people ought to want to work hard, even if they don’t like their jobs, because work itself is considered a good thing. It displays independence of one’s own living and one’s ability to take care of one self or others. The almost unquestioned belief that work is good and the demonization of those on welfare demonstrates the way rhetorical constructions of work maintain its function as a social institution (Schram, 1995). When we think of someone who is unemployed we think of them as laxidazical or unambitious while people on welfare are seen as those who live off the state and are dependent on others. Work is the status quo and a means of living so those without one are shunned.
  3. 3. ○An important aspect to highlight is that work expectations aren’t consistent across sexes – work isn’t a gender or sex neutral institution. In the U.S. work is seen as a masculine institution. The reasoning behind work being masculine is it’s a characteristic in which what makes Americans American. Having a job is seen as the American way. In society’s view, a man isn’t considered a man unless he is employed. A man is seen as a “go-getter,” a person who is supposed to bring home the bacon, supply for their family and whatnot. ○Male occupations possess more social value – more pay, prestige, authority, and opportunities for advancement. If you think about it, how many women are heading corporations or have full authority over business transactions? The ratio between men and women would be overwhelming. ○Women who have offspring are discriminated against when it involves working as well as not working. For example, many men and women who are mothers and fathers choose to work and place their children in childcare, only the women are seen are criticized for being a bad parent for not taking care of their child. If they remain home with the child and don’t bring in a means of income she’s considered a bad parent for not working and helping support financially. Women are in no-man’s-land when it involves work and a child. There is no societal ideal regarding women involving work and children. It’s a lose-lose situation.
  4. 4. Interlocking Institutions ○Work often comes into conflict with family in the United States. The public/private division portrays work and family as opposite social institutions. Too much time invested in one leaves little time for the other – most often the workplace consumes the family life. Each institution has its own set of demands, values, and goals. ○A study brought forth by sociologist Arlie Hochschild in 1997 found that the rapidly increasing time stress in U.S. culture induces more persons to choose work over family because of the rewards work promises. For example, in the movie “Click,” Adam Sandler becomes obsessed with work to the point where he never spends time with his family and before he dies (in his dream) he realizes work has taken over his life (the reason for his divorce) and he is regretful he didn’t use that time to get to know his family more. This sort of action happens too often with families being pulled apart all due to one parent sacrificing family time to try and support it more financially. >
  5. 5. Tensions between work and family differ for men and women. A large contributor is childbirth. Women are expected to miss up to 12 weeks of work (unpaid leave) to take care of the child. This is under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 which allows people to leave their jobs for some time without fear of losing their job. While one parent is taking time off from work, that usually means longer hours for the other parent to make up from income lost during that time period. This can lead to extra stress and more dependency on the part of the other parent to make sure the family is supported.
  6. 6. It’s Not About Sex Difference ○There are differences in the workplace between men and women, however, many verbal and nonverbal activities in the workplace that are characterized as feminine are practiced by men as much as, or more than, women. The greatest area of which this accounts for is the use of emotions. ○Emotions at work are considered inappropriate. It doesn’t make for a productive environment. Crying, fear, sadness, and joy is frowned upon. However, it is totally acceptable for men to show anger. ○The reason behind why it’s impossible to compare and contrast women’s and men’s emotions is due to that they are specific to the social context, meaning that emotions considered organizationally appropriate when expressed by a man are perceived as inappropriate when expressed by a woman. = ○Stereotypically, it is said that women are more emotional than men but men express emotion at work too; it’s not coded as emotional though. So to complete the statement, men are emotional at work as are women and tend to carry out the same emotional traits. ○Men engage in practices that are stereotypicallycarried out by more women than men, for instance - Wasting time conversing with employees - Pretending to like people they dislike - Making decisions based on affect rather then objective evidence - Ignoring rules in favor of particularistic sentiments “When women coworkers socialize, they waste time; when men coworkers socialize, they advance their careers” (Martin, 2003)
  7. 7. Work Constructs (and Constrains) Gender ○Social inequalities are manifested and maintained through work. With the expansion of technological capabilities, globalization has been able to penetrate and reinforce these inequalities. Businesses don’t have to hire as many people and can turn down applications and even “let go” those who they feel aren’t a necessary asset. These companies can weed out those they see unfit and place reasoning on globalization rather than personal bias. In other words, globalization provides legal remedies for employment discrimination. ○According to statistics, women were said to have earned only 75% of what men received for their wages even when hours and job prestige were the same (Blau & Kahn 2000). Even at the top of corporate levels, women earn 8% to 25% less than there counterpart. Now consider a restaurant environment. You tend to see more waitresses than waiters, deeming serving stereotypically a women’s job. Being a server, you rely heavilyoff tips because the pay is below minimum wage – falling in line with what is stated above. Is it coincidence? Job segregation and gender influences pay.
  8. 8. ○So we know social inequalities are manifested and maintained through work but how does work produce these inequalities and systematic forms of discrimination? Sociologist Joan Acker pioneered the study of the way in which work is gendered. Her theory stated that organizational structure in not gender neutral (Acker, 1990). She stated 5 reasons to pay attention to concerning gender in organizations; 1) The sex segregation of work, including which work is paid and which is not 2) Income and status inequality between women and men and how this is created through organizational structure 3) How organizations invent and reproduce cultural images of sex and gender 4) The way in which gender, particularly masculinity, is the product of organizational processes 5) The need to make organizations more democratic and more supportive of humane goals. These 5 reasons are intersecting processes that create issues in power, control, and dominance concerning gender differences.
  9. 9. ○The construction of the abstract worker goes as follows --- a bodiless, sexless, emotionless worker who does not procreate. Most would signify this as a male considering males are seen as emotionless and they have minimal responsibility when it comes to procreation. The male body. ○ In contrast the woman body is sexually objectified leaving a great chance of distraction and inappropriate behavior between sexes at the workplace. It is said they carry the opposite traits of each mentioned in the construction of the abstract worker. ○Along with the common job of women being waitresses, being an office assistant is another women held job. It is said secretaries are supposed to assist the boss (who is stereotypically male) and look good doing it (the term sexy secretary comes to mind). Some women use their bodies to gain an advantage in job/pay advancement. The movie “Obsessed” depicts a secretary who uses her body and way of dressing to seduce her boss. This active ongoing of revealing clothing could be instilled in modern society as well as women knowing they will hold/get a job with the art of objectifying.
  10. 10. Class, Race, Gender/Sex, and Work: Care Work ○○Job segregation not only occurs across sex lines but also across race lines within sex. For example, “Black women’s initial overrepresentation in domestic service reflects the intersections of race, gender, and class – the idea that Blacks are best suited for servitude, that women belong in the private sphere of the home, and that work done in the home does not deserve significant economic reward” (Harvey, 2005). These representations can be traced back to the days of slavery in which Blacks (especially women) were used as servants, caretakers of children, and providing cooked meals where there was little reward and high expectations. ○ Sociologist Mignon Duffy analyzed jobs considered of reproductive labor – service, health care, food, etc – and her research established that the U.S. market is “stratified, segmented into various sectors that provide workers with grossly unequal wage levels and access to opportunities for advancement.” Gender and racial oppression concentrate people of color into lower paying and status jobs. Woman of color are represented as maids and kitchen workers. For example, the new television series “Devious Maids” depicts 5 different maids, each either of African or Latino decent working in the homes of men and/or white women. This television show strongly suggests how women of color are still considered bottom of the barrel workers, fitting the unfortunate stereotype and accepting discrimination.
  11. 11. Violence, Gender/Sex, and Work: Sexual Harassment ○Normalization of violence in the workplace takes the form of sexual harassment. Statistics of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission for 2004: - Women filed 84.9% of the 13,136 charges of SH However, a vast amount of harassment is never reported due to fear of losing jobs or being outcasted by other coworkers. Of the 4 harassment targeting methods: - Women harassing men -Men harassing men -Women harassing women - Men harassing women Statistics show the most dominant and most reported kind is men harassing women.
  12. 12. ○ Sexual harassment isn’t strictly physical, there are various ways in which an individual can be sexually harassed. Men and women define sexual harassment differently. Women define acts as constituting harassment and are more likely to perceive coercion in a situation, whereas men are more likely to blame the person harassed instead of empathizing with that person. For this reason, courtrooms emphasize on a reasonable women standard when addressing such complaints. ○Sexual joking and girl watching is a common sexual harassment tactic used by men. It is said that they perform these acts in order to establish intimacy amongst other heterosexual men. Girl watching is almost like a basic common conversation starter amongst other men to get to know one another in the workplace. Many men in the workplace relate to one another better if they have a common topic to discuss and with human beings being sexual creatures women is a hot topic. ○ Sexual harassment is seen as an instrument of gender regulation, not just something men do to women. It is used to maintain the masculinity of the work environment and maintain gender/sex binary norms and inequalities.
  13. 13. Work as Liberation and Locations of Empowerhment in Work ○Even though work can constrain, it also “provides women with the same rewards that it has historicallyoffered men, including a degree of economic independence and enhanced self-esteem” (Gerson, 2004). Work can be liberating, and working at jobs that violate gender expectations can transform that way in which work is gendered. Women have come along way in the workplace since the 50’s having to endure such inequality. Works gives a sense of empowerment in itself, allowing an individual to act independently. ○ Women shouldn’t be stereotyped into such segmented jobs. Even though equal opportunity might never fully develop, certain liberating working experiences may help to fill the void. The more the older generations push for more equal opportunity the more it will open up and the more the future generations (of women) can grow up in households where both the father and mother work independently, instead of the women being strictly confined to the home.
  14. 14. By: Erik Eliason

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