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Mgmt734.as1 perpetuation of sexism in nz-jmaher 3328773

  1. 1. The Perpetuation ofSexism in New ZealandCultureMGMT 734 Assignment OneSemester 2, 2008 Jess Maher 3328773
  2. 2. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008The Perpetuation of Sexism in New Zealand CultureJess Maher | 3328773 Sexism can be defined in numerous ways, traditionally it ‘was defined as merely asdiscrimination against women’ (Reid & Clayton, 1992, p251), Lorde (1980, as cited in Andersen &Collins, 2007) further described sexism as ‘the belief in the inherent superiority of one sex overthe other & thereby the right to dominance’(p53). Yet despite apparent awareness of this andover thirty-five years of legislation (Houkamau, 2008a), ‘men still dominate organisations inalmost every sense; in terms of jobs, status, reward opportunities; and men and women remainsegregated into different types of work’ (Halford & Leonard, 2001, p2). For centuries, womenhave been placed in an underclass position, made to feel subservient to males’ (Chater & Gaster,1995, p1), this such behaviour or attitude towards women ‘based on traditional stereotypes ofsexual roles’ (Reid & Clayton, 1992, p252) is the critical concern of sexist discrimination. New Zealand (NZ) has a ‘hard won reputation for gender progress’ (Harward, 2008, p2),despite our comparatively high percentage of female parliamentarians; 33% compared to theworld average of 17.2% (Harward, 2008), recent evidence supports that ‘occupationalsegregation by sex remains persistent’ (Gwartney-Gibbs, 1988, p264). The NZ labour force stilldemonstrates strong evidence of such segregation, in 2006 men equated for 75% of NZ’s highincome earners (over $70,000 p/a), while 63% of women had a personal income between $1 and$5,000 p/a (Statistics New Zealand, 2006, p5). NZ women occupy lower levels of organisations(Fawcett & Pringle, 2000, p253) and in 2006 on average got paid 14% less than NZ men in fulltime salaried positions (Houkamau, 2008b).‘Sex discrimination usually makes up around seven percent of (Human Rights) complaints (in New Zealand) and people complaining of sex discrimination are mostly women’ (Human Rights Commision, 2006, p13) 2 Jess Maher | 3328773
  3. 3. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008 Sexist discrimination can be found in two forms, direct and indirect (Houkamau, 2008a),Figure 1.0 demonstrates how there are different types of discrimination and varying levels withinthese. Direct discrimination is discrimination that overtly favours one party over another and isless common to come across in today’s business environment as legislation has attempted toerratic this (Houkamau, 2008a, p13). The Human Rights Commission reported in 2006 that ‘overtsex discrimination against women is increasingly “underground”- complaints are mostly aboutindirect discrimination’ (p13) which can be illustrated in a number of ways in the NZ labourmarket. Most sex discrimination complaints made to the Human Rights Commission (2006) aremade about employment and preemployment issues such as pregnancy, breast feeding andchildcare within the workforce (p13). Women as the nurturers in society are still expected tocompromise their careers in order to look after their family (Ministry of Womens Affairs, 2007),there is still a perception that this is of lesser value to society which is support in the poor natureof the current paid parental leave scheme in place in NZ’s legislation (Families Commission,2007a). ‘Persistent occupational segregation by sex is widely recognised as one of the mostimportant factors contributing to the women’s Figure 1.0 | Levels & Types of Discriminationsecondary status in the workplace’ (Acker, 1990,p140) and recent data shows ‘unequivocally thatgender equality is still far from realises in NZ’(Harward, 2008, p1). Developed with reference to Houkamau, C. (2008) Recognising power, inclusion The three different levels at which & exclusion; Racism & Sexism in organisations. [PowerPoint slides], Retrieved August 1, 2008, from The University of Auckland University CECIL, MGMT 734discrimination can occur within the areas of direct or Diversity in Orgsindirect discrimination also highlighted in Figure 1.0; Individual, Organisation and SocialStructure. The model shows the individual at the centre of the figure as it experiences andinfluences the other two layers; Organisations and Social Structure, which influence, affect anddraw reference from each other and the Individual level in a ripple effect of sorts. The broadestlevel of this model is the social structure which is defined as ‘the broad social values and ideaswhich shape society’ (Houkamau, 2008a, p15). At the individual level diversity is understood asthe influence that the differing perspectives and cultures of each gender has on interpersonal 3 Jess Maher | 3328773
  4. 4. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008exchanges (Houkamau, 2008a, p16). The area between these two forces, the organisation level ,describes the ‘nature of the workplace and paid work’ (Houkamau, 2008a, p15), and for thepurposes of discussing sexism in NZ, this area represents the NZ labour marketplace. This modelof the levels of discrimination has been expanded and explored in order to attempt tounderstand the existence and perpetuation of sexist discrimination, within the NZ labour market. Figure 2.1 demonstrates the multiple considerations with the individual level ofdiscrimination; socio-biological, socialisation, identity theoriesand cognitive categorisation. Socio-biological considerations(2.1,1) help to explain the different types of work both menand women are predisposed for different kinds of work asthey are physiologically different (Houkamau, 2008a, p15).Evidence of ‘men and women choosing certain kinds of workbecause they naturally desire particular roles’ (Houkamau,2008a, p17) is demonstrated in the differences between thetop ten jobs for men and women recorded in NZ’s 2001 Developed with reference to Houkamau, C. (2008). Recognising power, inclusion & exclusion; Racism & Sexism in organisations. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved June 24,census; men occupied managerial, technical and trade type 2008, from The University of Auckland University CECIL, MGMT 317734 Diversity in Organisationsroles whilst women took on social, communicable, relationaland nurturing roles (Houkamau, 2008a, p5). The independent consideration of socio-biologicalfactors of difference between the sexes ignores the affect of socialisation, which is debatably ofeven more influence on these perceptions and understandings of gender than physiologicaldifferences alone (Powell, Butterfield, & Parent, 2006). Within this context, socialisation (represented in Figure 2.1,2) refers to the gender rolesin which we are socialised and operate without conscious awareness of them (Houkamau, 2008a,p18). In order for systems or structures to continue ‘ordinary people internalise the rules’(Chater & Gaster, 1995, p3) which is an unconscious process taken by following gender rolemodels and ideologies projected (Frable, 1997; Houkamau, 2008b). This is a simular concept and 4 Jess Maher | 3328773
  5. 5. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008process as experienced through social identity theory (Figure 2.1, 3) in which we ‘adoptexpectations about masculinity and femininity and expect members of other social groups to be“like” their group’ (Houkamau, 2008a, p19). The perception of gender roles and socialisationdemonstrate rigid models and expectations within society, creating social stigma experiences byanyone attempting to stray from expected identity models (Frable, 1997; Powell, et al., 2006;Pringle, 2008). The tendency for segregation by gender of work and social roles is partly createdthrough organisational practises (Acker, 1990), the inequalities of which are demonstrated at anorganisation level (demonstrated in Figure 2.2). Discrimination is experienced in the difference in the nature of paid and unpaid work, asexperienced in terms of broad gender roles which assist to shape organisations (Houkamau,2008a, p38). Human Capital Theory (Figure 2.2, 1) refers to the inequality present within thepreference or tendency of organisations to invest more into the skill formation for men overwomen within the labour market (Houkamau, 2008a, p23). If all factors were equal between thegenders, the more years people work, the more opportunity presented for skill formation, yetwomen do not have equal control over work experiences relative to men as they commonly haveto miss sometime from the workforce and their careers as they physically give birth to children (Cohn, 1985; Houkamau, 2008a; Marshall, 1984). Further evidence of the effect of the discrimination within the organisation level is demonstrated in the consideration of the ‘glass ceiling’ within the NZ workforce; an invisible barrier that influences the level to which women are able to rise in an organisation (Callister, 2004; Houkamau, 2008b). The culture of organisations (Figure 2.2, 2) makesDeveloped with reference to Houkamau, C. (2008). Recognisingpower, inclusion & exclusion; Racism & Sexism in organisations.[PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from The reference to the nature of current organisations benefitingUniversity of Auckland University CECIL, MGMT 317734Diversity in Organisations me over women (Houkamau, 2008a, p20). Since men haveheld the majority of power historically in organisations, ‘they take their behaviour andperspective to represent the human, theorising that organisational structures and processes as 5 Jess Maher | 3328773
  6. 6. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008gender neutral’ (Acker, 1990, p.142). However the nature of the patriarchal system andmasculine culture or organisations has shaped the way we perceive work and the workplace(Acker, 1990). The social structure layer of sexist discrimination contains the broader valueswhich feed into sexist activity in the workforce. Figure 2.3 demonstrates the aspects which makeup the organisation level of discrimination; resource distribution and ideology, power isstructural and occupational spheres. This level has strong influence and effect on theorganisational level (featured as Figure 2.2, as well as the Individual level, further exploredbelow). Resource Distribution and Ideology (Figure 2.3,1) draws reference to the hierarchy in andgiven society and its effect on the stratified nature of resource distribution (Houkamau, 2008a,p22). There has been strong evidence to suggest that was are still operating in a society basedon patriarchal beliefs (Acker, 1990; Cohn, 1985; Fawcett & Pringle, 2000; Gwartney-Gibbs, 1988;Marshall, 1995; Powell, et al., 2006) and whilst some feminist research suggests that this shouldbe ignored the ‘attempt (of feminists seeking invisibility) to play down the gender difference maybring to the fore the way gender is inherent in enterprise’ (Lewis, 2006, p467). Reference is alsomade to the influence of the patriarchal mindset of society when considering that Power isstructural (Figure 2.3, 3). This is wide amounts of literature from the feminist movement whichexplores how the dominant groups in society hold power as they design social institutionsaccording to their own preferences (Acker, 1990,p.142). This also clearly relates to the genderednature of organisations experienced within the organisation level of sexist discrimination, as does the paradigm presented within the Work/Home divide (Figure 2.3, 3). Historically the ‘domestic sphere has been the key source of (women’s) identity, meaningful activity and satisfaction’ (Pringle & Dixon, 2003, p292), however these ‘traditionally female tasks have long been taken for grantedDeveloped with reference to Houkamau, C. (2008). Recognising and undervalued’ (Chater & Gaster, 1995, p. 2). Occupationalpower, inclusion & exclusion; Racism & Sexism in organisations.[PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from TheUniversity of Auckland University CECIL, MGMT 317734 spheres draws reference to this divide between the domesticDiversity in Organisations 6 Jess Maher | 3328773
  7. 7. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008sphere (‘home’ or unpaid work) and the occupational sphere (work) demonstrated within NZ’ssociety (EEO Trust, 2007; Pringle & Dixon, 2003; Sauers, Kennedy, & OSullivan, 2002). NZ wasone of the last Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Countries toimplement paid parental leave and the current scheme in operation is one of the least generousin terms of level and duration and one of the most restrictive in terms of criteria for access andflexibility of use (Families Commission, 2007b). The perceived difference between the value ofpaid and unpaid work is further illustrated by an ‘income and status inequity between men andwomen (which) is partly created in organisational processes’ (Acker, 1990, p140). As it is clearthan each of these levels interacts, influences and draws reference to the others, to explorethem in isolation has the potential to misconstrue the perpetuating nature of the interactionsbetween theselevels. 7 Jess Maher | 3328773
  8. 8. [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] Sem 2 2008 Figure 3.0has beendeveloped todemonstrate theinterplay andperpetuatingnature of thevarying levels ofsexistdiscriminationwithin the NZlabour market andwider society (see Simplified model developed from Appendix A with reference to Houkamau, C. (2008). Recognising power, inclusion &Appendix A for a exclusion; Racism & Sexism in organisations. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from The University of Auckland University CECIL, MGMT 317734 Diversity in Organisationsconsideredapplication of this model in more detail). The factors considered within the individual level ofdiscrimination provide a basis of understanding as to the initial development historically of socialconstructs within NZ. NZ women have been living in a patriarchal society since the countriessettlement (Chater & Gaster, 1995; Eichler, 1989; Sauers, et al., 2002) and the effect of thesociety within which one lives can be of direct influence on the basis for reference in terms ofsocialisation, identity theories and cognitive categorisation. Within such a patriarchal structurewhere ‘women have been made to feel inferior and subservient to males, the status of unpaidwork has long been undervalued’ (Chater & Gaster, 1995, p1). ‘The total value of unpaid work(home) in NZ in 1999 was $40 billion, which is equivalent to 39% of NZ’s gross domesticproduct(GDB) , females accounted for 64% of the work completed which is equivalent to $25billion’ (Statistics New Zealand, 2001). The patriarchal nature of NZ’s economic and social structure is influences every level ofthe model and its effects are reverberated throughout (Fawcett & Pringle, 2000; Harward, 2008). 8 Jess Maher | 3328773
  9. 9. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008The underlying influence of the patriarchal structure is clear in the models and identitiesexperienced by individuals, NZ organisations and their cultures and also the broader socialstructure (Debono, 2001; Frable, 1997; Houkamau, 2008b; Sauers, et al., 2002), demonstratingthe influence and impact one layer can be have on the others. The biological and gender culturaldifference within the individual level of discrimination; specially the fact that women physicallygive birth to children and are viewed as the nurturers of society, enforces the perception andexpectation of women as less dedicated to organisations (Fawcett & Pringle, 2000; Gwartney-Gibbs, 1988; Marshall, 1984; Pringle & Dixon, 2003). The role of gender differences in personalrelationships between the sexes seems to be of less importance. Whilst there are endlessamounts of literature to deal with discrimination of organisations when considering ethnicity orrace, there is very little reference to managing the differences experienced in gender (Lewis,2006). Explanation for the lack of literary attention paid to the cultural differences betweengenders which occasionally occur, is partially due to the fact that the majority of individualcompromises between the genders (for example mothers and father sorting child’s a carpool) isrelatively free of such sexist discrimination. Fathers in NZ have long expressed a desire to bemore involved in family life, over half of NZ fathers repost to be likely to paid paternity leave as alegislative requirement as an independent paid parental leave entitlement (Families Commission,2007a). Society’s undervaluation of women’s ability to influence business can also bedemonstrated by the perceived lower value and status of roles which are typically or traditionallyfemale. Not only is there a strong stigma for men to operate the expectations of their gendergroup, but within the understanding of socialisation and social identity theory; when ‘individualsact outside of our expectations of their likeness to their own group, it is perceived negatively’(Houkamau, 2008a, p43). When women attempt to portray the attributes of power and successdemonstrated by the male culture, they are perceived negatively and find it more difficult to betaken seriously than their male counterparts (Acker, 1990; Houkamau, 2008b; Powell, et al.,2006). Glaser and Smalley (1995) describe the labour market as an ocean; they explore thedifferences between the “sharks” whom are ‘rigid and hard nosed, preferring to act alone (menin the NZ labour force) and “dolphins” whom are ‘firm but fair, excellent communicators, 9 Jess Maher | 3328773
  10. 10. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008extremely initiative and thrive in teams organised around networks’ (women in labour force)(pg.9). This metaphor is used to explain how women in business can gain more from utilisingtheir abilities as a dolphin rather than attempting to act as a shark, in a manner which haspotentially more opportunity and increased competitiveness in today’s rapidly changing businessenvironment. When understanding gender as a culture unto itself, women have long held the perceivedrole in society as the “nurturers” (Ministry of Womens Affairs, 2007; Pringle & Dixon, 2003). Thisperception continues to feed the expectation of women to compromise their careers for childrenwhilst men can continue to work without any pressure to leave the workforce (Ministry ofWomens Affairs, 2007), in 2006, 90% of those in the role of caretakers were women (StatisticsNew Zealand, 2006). The model set by these women in current NZ society continues toencourage the perception that the possibility for interference between home and workcommitments means that women are perceived to be less dedicated to their jobs than their malecounterparts. This perception leads to the evidence of considerably less women holding highlevel positions within NZ organisations than NZ men. The evidence of such social perceptionswithin a patriarchal system such as that of NZ’s labour market, is demonstrated but the genderculture of organisations and the association by society and individuals of powerful and successfulpersonal attributes being assimilated which masculinity (Jones, Pringle, & Shepherd, 2000;Marshall, 1984) . Even consideration of wages of two roles shared between the different sexesdemonstrates the inequality experiences by women in the workforce, whom got paid on average14% less than men in comparative fulltime positions (Statistics New Zealand, 2006). Theinfluence of this is that the broader social values continue to perpetuate and powerful traitswithin the labour market continue to be assimilated towards men (Callister, 2005; Frable, 1997;Powell, et al., 2006). Women on average still complete the majority of unpaid work in NZ, evenwhen maintaining paid work also (Statistics New Zealand, 2001) demonstrating a clear inequalitybetween men and women in the domestic sphere (Callister, 2005; Eichler, 1989; Houkamau,2008b). 10 Jess Maher | 3328773
  11. 11. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008 “The discrimination-and-fairness paradigm is based on the recognition that discrimination is wrong, it idealises assimilation” (Thomas & Ely, p125) For over thirty five years NZ has attempted to take legislative steps to eradicate‘behaviour or attitudes based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles (Harward, 2008, p3) usingan accommodation approach to diversity. Equality between the sexes will not be achieved usingeither an assimilation or accommodation model of managing diversity as both incorporate anunderstanding of diversity as a negative influence and ultimately perpetuate the ideology thatone sex is inherently ‘subordinate’ or ‘inferior’ (Chater & Gaster, 1995; Eichler, 1989) to theother. Whilst ‘even as children gender differences are obvious: girls tend to be collaboration-oriented; while boys tend to be competition-oriented’ (Glaser, 2008, pg2), this is ‘not a right orwrong situation’ (Morris, 2008, p3). The difference between the sexes are ‘complimentary’(Chater & Gaster, 1995, p6), the appropriate approach requires individuals, organisations andsociety to ‘value the differences’ (Chater & Gaster, 1995, p7). The key to achieving equality isfound in ‘leveraging the differences so men and women work together in a more collaborativeway’ (Morris, 2008, p3). 11 Jess Maher | 3328773
  12. 12. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008Appendix A | Perpetuated considerations between levels 12 Jess Maher | 3328773
  13. 13. Sem 2 [THE PERPETUATION OF SEXISM IN NEW ZEALAND CULTURE] 2008References 13 Jess Maher | 3328773