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Sc2220 Lecture 11 2009

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Lecture 11: Gender at Work

Lecture 11: Gender at Work

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  • 1. SC2220: Gender Studies: Gender at Work Dr. Eric C. Thompson
  • 2. Issues in Gender at Work
    • The Double Shift
      • Women working a “double shift”
      • Domestic marginalization of Men
    • The Gender Gap in Wages
      • Choice Theory (women choose to ‘opt out’)
      • Gendered Organization Theory
      • Overt Discrimination
  • 3. Video: The Double Shift
    • Even within occupations, it seems that specialties are gendered (e.g., education, law, medicine). Why so?
    • What is the “juggling act” referred to? Do men juggle?
    • How much is the second shift worth, monetarily?
    • Should homemakers be compensated for their years of work in the case of a divorce?
    • Is it “fair” for the state to make women give up their jobs to men during times of national economic crisis? Is it a sound decision, economically?
    • Is the state obligated to help working mothers?
    • If society became more egalitarian, would we fully accept men as stay-at-home dads and homemakers?
  • 4. The “Second Shift” for Women
    • From work of sociologist Arlie Hochschild, “The Second Shift” (1989)
    • Women work a “second shift” housekeeping and child care, after the first shift of paid work outside the home; Men don’t.
    • There is a lot of talk or hope of this changing; research shows very little evidence of change.
  • 5. Domestic Marginalization of Men
    • Women often complain about men’s lack of participation in domestic work; but many studies illustrate the domestic marginalization of men.
    • Women “protect” the home as their sphere of dominance.
    • Men are not trained to do domestic work and assumed to be incompetent.
    • Reading on “Men in Crisis in Russia” (among Supplemental Readings)
  • 6. The Gender Gap in Wages
    • Universal (global) and persistent
      • Everywhere, men earn more than women.
    • Relative differences
      • Biggest Gap: UAE, Peru, Belize – Women earn 30% of men’s wages.
      • Smallest Gap: Iceland – Women earn 94% of men’s wages.
      • Singapore: Women earn ~65% of men’s wages (common for industrialized countries)
  • 7. Explaining the Wage Gap
    • Different Choices made by Men and Women
      • Men choose higher paid, more demanding jobs
      • Women choose lower paid, more flexible jobs that allow them to spend time with family
      • See: Kingsley Browne “Biology at Work”
    • As Result of “Gendered” Organization
      • Corporations and other Institutions are structured in ways that discriminate (unintentionally)
      • See: Joan Acker “Hierarchy, Jobs, Bodies”
    • As a Result of Overt Discrimination
  • 8. Browne vs. Acker*
    • Browne: Women earn less because of the choices they make. Women “opt out” of high paying, but stressful and time-consuming jobs.
    • Acker: Women earn less because of the systemic, structural biases of institutions (companies, schools, etc.).
    • Note: These are not mutually exclusive; it may be (probably is) the case that both are true to some extent.
    *Articles available in the Supplementary Readings.
  • 9. Complexity of the Wage Gap
    • Browne demonstrates: The most significant gap is between women who are married or have children and all others.
    • The gap between Single Childless Women and All Men is much less substantial.
    • Married Men earn more than Unmarried Men.
    • Singapore 2008 report claimed only 2% wage gap among new graduates … BUT, these are almost certainly Single Childless Women! (A very biased sample for trying to claim that there is little or no “gender gap in wages”!)
  • 10. Gender & Opportunity Structures
    • Individual-level effects of availability factors : Women select jobs in which…
      • They believe they can get hired
      • They think they will be welcome
      • They believe they can succeed
      • This limits many “non-traditional” and sex-segregated occupations that may pay more, have higher status
    • At the same time, women have the structural option of finding a partner who will provide surplus resources to them (sexual exchange theory) to a far greater degree than men.
  • 11. Acker: Gendered Organizations
    • Organizational practices and organizational processes create gender segregation; also invent and reproduce gender norms (Acker)
    • Acker is arguing that gender pervades institutional and organizational structures (Browne considers organizations to be basically ‘gender neutral’).
  • 12. Gendered Institutions
    • “ Gendered institutions” (e.g. corporations, schools, etc.)
    • “ Gendered” Institutions are not (only) the result of gender difference; Institutions produce gender difference.
    • Gender difference in one institution is affected by gender in other institutions in a society.
      • For example, gender differences in a corporate office will be affected by the production of gender in family life; and the gender in family life will be affected by the production of gender in corporate offices.
    • No institution is “gender neutral” (even if it formally declares itself to be). Gender is a pervasive social and cultural system. Its effects can be reduced (or amplified) but no society is “free from gender.”
  • 13. Are Career Ladders Gender-Neutral?
    • Most professions (corporations, universities, law firms) expect individuals to spend their 20s obtaining professional degrees; their 30s “building” their career; and becoming “established” in their 40s.
    • Is it fair to expect this equally of men and women?
    • Is it “fair” to ignore the relatively larger commitments women have to make to childbearing during these years (if they want to have children of their own)?
  • 14. Glass Ceilings and Escalators
    • Glass ceiling
      • Mostly-invisible barrier that keeps women from advancing to top levels at work
    • Glass escalator
      • Mostly-invisible accelerator that pushes men into higher-level positions at work, more desirable work assignments, and more pay (even in traditional female occupations: nursing, teaching)
  • 15. Overt Gender Bias
    • On top of Browne’s choice theory and Acker’s gendered organizations, there is often strong evidence of overt gender bias.
    • Research results:
      • When given mock job applications for gender neutral and traditional male jobs, more applicants with male names or male characteristics were offered the jobs, even when the applications (resumes) were identical in content.
      • When applying for child care jobs, the bias favored women (men were not offered the jobs).