Women, Work, And Poverty: Gender Norms And The Intersectionality Of Bias


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Women, Work, And Poverty: Gender Norms And The Intersectionality Of Bias

  1. 1. Running head: GENDER NORMS & THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BIAS Women, Work, and Poverty: Gender Norms and the Intersectionality of Bias Max J. Smith Arizona State University
  2. 2. GENDER NORMS & THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BIAS 2The subsequent readings are annotated bibliographies aimed at providing a collectivevision of the destitution and hardship women face in the market economy; explaininghow the intersectionality of labor, gender, and poverty can be further complicated byontological realities of culture, class, ethnicity, age, and or religion. This synopsis ismeant to serve as a brief snapshot of a globally intricate problem..Goldin, C. (1990). Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of Women. New York: Oxford University Press. PP (3-11). Claudia Goldin’s article, “Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic Historyof Women,” discusses the advancements and detriments of Women in the American laborforce beginning in the early 1800’s. The article addresses multiple reasons why such aprogressive movement occurred, highlighting the industrial revolution and the increase inwhite collar employment as major driving factors; showing the connections betweenwomen working in factories during the war as well as growth in education-based jobs toeconomical gains for women. She discusses how these connections help to tighten thewage gap between Men and Women during the turn of the 20th Century a mechanism ofhardship. Following Women’s progressions in the work force Dr. Goldin discusses thebarriers and constraints women faced and still face in the divide between wages. Goldintouches on two major subjects regarding ill-influence on women in the Americanworkforce: Social Norms and Job restriction. Goldin shows how social views of womenmarginalize them into niche job markets making the net market of jobs for womenlower. Furthermore, the concrete restriction of women to entry-level positions and use ofMarriage bars are discussed as tools to keep women’s wages suppressed as well as keep  Arizona State University – Hugh Downs School of Communication – Smith 
  3. 3. GENDER NORMS & THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BIAS 3them from entering the job market itself. Closing her article she poses reasons to theinhibiting of social change as it pertains to institutions, expectations, and stereotypes.Gemelli, M. (2008). Understanding the Complexity of Attitudes of Low-Income Single Mothers Toward Work and Family in the Age of Welfare Reform. Gender Issues; Vol. 25, (2)3. PP (5-18). Marcella Gemelli’s, “Understanding the Complexity of Attitudes of Low-IncomeSingle Mothers Toward Work and Family in the Age of Welfare Reform,” touches onwelfare mothers living below their means and agents of pro-welfare reform. A largeportion of the article is dedicated to the Marriage Promotion Act, a government programwhich appropriates capital to those families with two parents. Through the analysis ofmother’s on welfare, the attitudes of those receiving allocation were polled regarding thesocial and economic pressures to get married; often citing a conflict between finding a“breadwinner” and retaining pride in being a supportive single mother. All of the womenshared a common catch-22 scenario: If they worked too much, they lost time with theirchildren, and if they worked too little (in order to spend time with their children) theycouldn’t afford to eat or pay vital bills. These mothers’ collective experiences reveals theintersectionality of racism, classism, and motherhood, revealing the social pressures itposes to single mothers and their children on welfare. The author closes by telling theimportance of these women’s accounts and the true contradictory nature of welfarereform. Jobs for those on welfare don’t pay enough to allow living independently and atthe same time the idea of acquiring a “breadwinner” undermines the wages of the otherspouse: another catch-22 scenario. Although Gemelli’s article shows only a few layers ofthe welfare system unfold, even at the surface many contradictions within the system  Arizona State University – Hugh Downs School of Communication – Smith 
  4. 4. GENDER NORMS & THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BIAS 4become apparent. Amoh, T. & Matthaei, J. (1996). Race, Gender, and Work: A Multi-Cultural Economic History of Women in the United States. Boston, MA: South EndPress. PP (11- 28). Teresa Amoh and Julie Matthaei’s article, “Race, Gender, and Work: A Multi-Cultural Economic History of Women in the United States,” discusses how race, classand gender are interconnected and how these standpoints pertain to differentiatingwomen’s experiences. Teresa and Julie address the historical nature of these factors andtheir rooted nature in social creation; meaning, the factors of race, class, and gender arenot biological categories, but instead socially constructed groups. The article is aiming toshow how women’s experiences are different given their gender, race, and class (and howperception changes under different culture lenses). Certain cultures base labor divisionson race, while other base it on gender, while others still are based on class or skill. Acommonality amongst these factors is the ‘white pseudo-masculine’ (male dominated)capitalist market. These social divisions marginalize those subordinate to those in power,more often than not benefitting white upper-class males. However, because of thesefactors, not all women experience the same discrimination in their work force. Examplebeing - a black masculine woman from the slums has a much different experience than awhite feminine middle-class woman entering the same market. The woman from theslums is privy to such less than her white counterpart (in terms of resources and ), makingthe availability of a job even harder to come by.Lim, Linda, Y.C. (1983). Capitalism, Imperialism, and Patriarchy: The Dilemma of the Third-World Women Workers in Multinationals Factories. WOMEN, MEN, and  Arizona State University – Hugh Downs School of Communication – Smith 
  5. 5. GENDER NORMS & THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BIAS 5 the International Division of Labor. New York Press: Albany, NY. PP (216- 232). Lim’s article, “Capitalism, Imperialism, and Patriarchy: The Dilemma of theThird-World Women Workers in Multinationals Factories” discusses whether theoutsourcing of jobs by multinational corporations to developing countries is beneficial ordetrimental to the women employed. The article begins with a history of outsourcing jobsfrom the U.S. in the early 20th century and why labor intensive industries were so readilyoutsourced. Showing as time progressed from the 40’s to the 70’s why underdevelopedcountries possessed a perfect environment for the outsourcing of labor-intensivejobs. Following, she explains the phenomena from both sides of the spectrum – TheMarxist-Economist: A Beneficial View; The Dependency-Theorist: A DetrimentalView. The Marxist-Economist argues that the influence of the developing countriesmultinational influence creates an environment of safer labor, more beneficial learningexperience, and better pay (in comparison to local equivalents for women workers). TheFeminist view or Dependency-Theorist view explains the phenomena as an imperialisticcolonization of underdeveloped countries by multinational corporations which suppressesthe underdeveloped country from growing through patriarchy, in turn keeping thewomen’s labor force suppressed. Following a brief analysis of these arguments Limdiscusses the role of patriarchy on women in the workforce; giving a brief history of thesubordinating effects of patriarchy in the economy in the capitalist setting. She goes intodepth regarding patriarchy and Imperialism as it applies to the curbing of women’s wages(compared to their male counterparts). While addressing the positives of theMultinational Corporate influence on hence countries, Lim also shows how they tend to  Arizona State University – Hugh Downs School of Communication – Smith 
  6. 6. GENDER NORMS & THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BIAS 6keep systems of oppression in place. Lim’s conclusion focuses on a push for change inhelping the women-labor markets of underdeveloped countries improve their well-being. Stating the current economy structure (within the given underdeveloped country)would have to be alleviated in addition to the removal of capital-imperialisticcorporations to provide safe haven for women in these labor markets from economicpatriarchy.Chant, S. (2007). Single-parent families: choice or constraint? The formation of female- headed households in Mexican shanty towns. Durham: Duke University Press. PP (360-368). Sylvia Chant’s article, “Single-Parent Families: Choice or Constraint? TheFormation of Female-Headed Households in Mexican Shanty Towns” approaches thesizeable minority of single-female headed households in Latin America from a social andeconomic paradigm, looking at constraint and privilege within each household; ascompared to their Male Nuclear Family counterpart. In particular, Chant’s conclusionsare drawn from a study done on 244 Household s (Families) in Queretaro, Mexico 167representing male-head nuclear families and 22 of which representing the single femaleparent residences. The paper first examines two large factors which show intrinsic pluses andminuses to them: 1.) The large wage gap between Men’s and Women’s wages, focusingon underpaid women; 2.) The gap in spending patterns between male and female headedhousehold, focusing on the economic stability of a female headed households. Chantsegway’s into the differences between the management of labor within each dyadichousehold. Explaining how in male headed households the division of labor is strict –  Arizona State University – Hugh Downs School of Communication – Smith 
  7. 7. GENDER NORMS & THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BIAS 7men work in the public sphere, and women are most often in the private sphere; whereasin single female headed homes the division of labor is put mostly upon mother (privateand public) and then the children. Chant points out the reciprocating effects of this labordivision on the socialization of children and the benefits of female headed households inrespect to the male inferiority complex and sibling-parent interaction. The followingsection gives cases for why female headed households emerge in such an area wheremale headed households are prevalent, pointing out how most women parenting singledid so on their own accord. However, regardless of the woman’s choice to be such, mostsingle female-headed households reported being better off and more economically stableas compared to their previously male headed nuclear family. This conclusion is drawn fora number of reasons: greater economic stability, healthier socialization of children, andequal division of labor. However, in final she states that this phenomena may only beoccurring on this micro level because homeownership for the poor in Queretaro is readilyavailable, which allows for greater flexibility (than say someone required to renthousing).This synopsis is meant to serve as a brief snapshot of a globally intricate problem. Eachsummary is not designed to supplement the cited readings but more so provide a largervision of Women’s stance as a muted group within the labor force and market economy.  Arizona State University – Hugh Downs School of Communication – Smith 