SOC 362 – SEX, GENDER, & WORK
Session #1: Intro and Problems
Sex and Gender
Work and Gender
The Six Problems
1. Sex Segregation
2. Authority Positions
5. Work-Family Conflict
6. Workplace Harassment
Reeves, ch. 1;
“Global Gender Gap” Report (pp. 3-17)
RECENT MEDIA/ RESEARCH
Multiple choice or short answer
The days of men are over women are now in the ascendance when men are unemployed they tend to
be unemployed longer. More men tend to be unemployed than women There are more women in
colleges and universities and many men can’t seem to get their careers going, whereas women see
more successful at that. Argument is thus made that women are at the top. But at the same time
some exceptionally successfully women are having allot of success and writing books about it e.g.
Hilary Clinton, Marissa Mayor, CEO of Yahoo, she has banned her employees from working at home.
Which people all thought would be a good thing for women to be able to do. Cheryl Sandberg, the
chief operating officer at Facebook who just had a book out not too long ago called “Lean In” with the
message that when you are a women you can climb to the top, all it takes is some gust and effort etc.
The impression from all of this is that women are finally making it and they are doing better than men,
one of the pieces of evidence is here is that Companies that put women on the board’s of directors do
better than companies that don’t have women on the board’s of directors.
Reality is that men are still way ahead of women, they make it more money, they have more higher
prestigious jobs, they make it more frequently to the top than men e.g. in the fields of science and
engineering, men by far have more higher degrees than women, at the PHD level for science and
engineering for example men predominate in every single subfield except 3 psychology biological
science and social science everything else men predominate. The facts do not fit this perception that
we would get looking at the medium. Important interpretation: The answer is psychology is allot easier
than sociology. People find it easy to see individual characteristics education, hard work, moral fiber,
these are all characteristics of people. What’s really hard to see are the structural factors such like
child care provisions employment discrimination, pay inequalities all of these shape women’s
opportunities, but these are much harder to see than to point to a person and say you work hard, you 2
have guts, you can put your mind to it and you can do whatever you want. So that is the dilemma, it is
easier to see personal characteristics than it is to see social structural conditions, but it is those social
structural conditions that shape women’s opportunities, not so much that they are lazy or that they
lack moral fiber, or that their interest are elsewhere so it is the structure. Individual based
explanations for why women don’t make it are easy, easy to make easy to see, structural
explanations for why women have problems in the labour force, are much more difficult. So when you
look ate the media at these stories, keep in mind: NY Times Harvard business school made an effort
to admit more women to business school, the women came and then they left part of the reason they
did not stick around it that males students made it very difficult for women to stay there and women
felt uncomfortable in business school. The culture of that business school is very male oriented and
women felt uncomfortable with that. SO you get into a classroom and the guys in the class in finance,
would dominate the conversation, they wouldn’t let women into the conversation. The culture, the
social culture in this case Harvard’s MBA program made a difference.
Number of men in the course: 17
Number of women in the course: 33 females
Question 1: Male and working
o 6 men working 1/3 of the guys working. And about 20 women working 2/3 parts of women
o 100 years ago maybe one maybe 2 women in this course would have had a job.
o Labour force participation, big stories over the past 100 years, big difference from 100 years
Question 2: What is your hourly pay rate your gross pay every week:
o Abut the same ration than women, not a big difference in compensation. Will look at women
and the compensation that they get. Where are women doing well and how do we measure
The differences in pay and the differences in labour force participation are going to change once you
o For the first few year women do better than the guys, 2 – 3 years after graduation better
salaries. Women have higher salaries
o But then things change and then they stay that way, men continue to go up increase and
women increase only gradually
o In film and writing and film: Men and women start out the same, but the trajectory over time for
men just keeps going up. And for women it goes up and then it starts to decline, so women
don’t do as well and they don’t last as ling in those kinds of fields 3
Two sets of ideas that will be used repeatedly in this course:
Every social entity has 2 characteristics one is social structure and the other is social culture
• Social entity:
− That’s any grouping of individuals that have some awareness that they are members of
− E.g. a country, a religion, an ethnic group, region of the country (westerners etc.),
organizations (U of T), the work group you have at work, and this class is a social entity.
− Realize that there are boundaries and that there are boundaries that belong to the
• Social structure:
At least two (2) dimensions: (1) being status and the other is affiliation
− The relationships among the individual parts of the entity.
− E.g. In a work group you can have status structures, who has the highest prestige etc.
You can also have friendship structure, who is friends with whom etc.
− And a good way to think about this is to think of the thing that best captures friendship
structure, or affiliation structure: Who do you eat lunch with, that question will pick up
social ties in the workplace people who are friends tend to get together to eat big status
differences you don’t find over lunch, they tend to be formal dinners etc.
− Relationships amongst persons. When you get together with friends that signifies
• Social culture
What people in a particular social entity believe and value. There are 4 components of social
o Broad ideas about the social entity and about how the world works. We have
beliefs about what is and we have beliefs about how it got that way.
o E.g. education gets you a good job so you are sitting at home with your family
(another social entity) having dinner and you get the message again and
again get an education, that’s a good way to get a good job, that is a belief.
o Or religion may have the belief that there is only one God or many gods.
Those are examples of beliefs.
o Often beliefs have a causal affect component and aspect, the reason guys
have are poor is because they are lazy, that’s an example of cause and affect
o Or a degree from u of t will get you a better job than a degree than York.
Cause and affect.
o Are ideas about what is important what’s right, wrong, good, how things
should be 4
o E.g. a religion might have the idea that it is bad to eat meat that if it has not
been slaughtered in the right way or been blessed by a priest.
o At UTM value that academic studying is important for success, we value as
an institution your working hard academically.
o Families have different values about whether it is appropriate for daughters to
go into business careers; some families might say that women don’t belong in
those types of occupations.
o Women who are qualified should be able to hold any job that demand would
o Values are justified by broader beliefs, so if we have something that we
value then we look to the beliefs to support that value, so there is a
relationship between a belief and what we think is important on the other.
o Behaviours or expected behaviours.
o Common accepted and expected behaviours within that social entity so these
are like rules for appropriate behaviour.
o For some religions there is a rule that you routinely go religious services
every Sunday morning, that’s a rule/norm. E.g. UTM the calendar says that
this course starts at 1 pm but we know that is not true. The norm is that
course start at 10 after not written.
o Norms are often not written down.
They are also specific to situations and individuals so to pick a place or
occasion and you will find norms. There is norm in many classes that if you
want to surf the net, you should do so in the back row so that you don’t
disturb people sitting behind you (unwritten norm)
o e.g. norm are justified by beliefs and values being more general and then
the norms being more specific.
o Encountering foreign norms, norms that you are unaware probably one of the
first time this has ever happened to you is when you got invited for dinner at a
o Now that’s when you realize that there are norms about dinner table
conversation in some families’ kids don’t talk, cleaning your place etc.
Different families have different norms, patterns of expected behaviour. We
are so immersed in them and don’t realize it, until we get into a situation
where the norms are different than what you are use to.
o Include two things objects and behaviours and what these objects and
behaviours do they illustrate, they reinforce the beliefs and the values and the
norms so different groups will have different ritual behaviours.
o It helps to show the boundaries of the social entity, if this person is not in the
o Often symbols are not that germatic, wearing a baseball cap backwards or
having tattoos particularly of you are in a group where everyone gets the
same tattoo that also is symbolic.
o Symbols represent the basic identity of the group, organization, region,
society, and people will get emotionally attached to them. 5
o E.g. Hand shake behaviour, hold out hand and someone shakes it. Frosh
orientation. This is important because beliefs and values have allot to do with
women in the workplace, the kinds of problems they encounter in the
workplace and the kinds of reactions women get at the workplace have to do
with beliefs and values and to some extent norms.
What we think is going on, they are diagrams they show cause and affect relationships that help
us to understand, they try to explain what is happening. Talk about three (3) different kinds of
↓ Male-Female Power Difference
↑ Gender Harassment
↑ Proportion of Male Ees
• Two causes on the left male/female power differences and the proportion of male
employees. Talking about a workplace, how big is the difference between the power that
men and women have and what proportion of the employees are male.
• Both of those contribute to gender harassment.
• One way of explaining why we get more gender harassment in some workplaces and less
in others - interpretation of the model
• We have two causes - the less the power difference it is not the case that men are the
bosses and women are the secretaries, but if it is a mix then we are less likely to get
• And similarly if we have a higher proportion of female employees and less male employees,
then that will decrease instances of gender harassment.
2. Indirect Effect:
• We have pay affecting job satisfaction; affecting turnover (or not quitting the job) and then
we have pay directly affecting that.
• Pay is both an indirect cause and a direct cause of people having a propensity to stay in
a job, not to quite.
• The more you are paid the less likely you are to quite. 6
• The more you are paid the higher your job satisfaction and your job satisfaction in turn
makes you less likely to quite.
3. Interaction Effect:
• Two variables that are related but then a third variable changes that relationship that is one
kind of interaction.
• The second kind on the next diagram is when two variables combine to affect the third
How do we interpret the results?
Some interesting research: Sex affects dominant behaviours, men on the whole tend to have
more dominant behaviours (they tend to want to be better than other men), women less so.
Women are more likely to except other women and not to want to establish dominance superiority.
There are exceptions but generally this is the case.
• The research shows is that this is affected by the size of the room.
• If it is a small room, male dominance behaviour are exaggerated, they are increased.
• Something about the size of the room that makes men more aggressive.
• But if it’s a small room, women become even less aggressive so the room size affects the
amount of aggression depending upon your sex.
• In this case we would call room size moderating variables.
We have two components of employees, one is their status and one is their sex. We are interested in
how many days absent they have. The research shows that it is a combination of your marital status
and your sex. Not just the one or the other, but a combination of the two (both).
AVERAGE DAYS OFF PER YEAR
Marital Status Single 4 3
Married 3 12
• Marital status, singles there is not much of a difference between males and females.
• 12 which is a huge difference between males and females.
• Male employees married or single, the difference is not so big. But females the difference
between single and being married is significant.
• So only one cell of these four is really large, and that is the cell that combines one being a
women and two being married.
• The obvious explanation is that women are more likely to have children and being a
woman you are going to have primary responsibility for the kids.
Tend to think of it gender harassment in this cliché way. Male superiors harass female subordinates.
The boss the secretary, etc. another related common idea is that male employees will harass their
fellow female employees, their coworkers.
THE RESEARCH SAYS:
When it comes to gender harassment in the workplace, the research shows that compared to
female employees, female supervisors report more harassment.
Thus, as you get promoted to a supervisory position you get harassed even more and it
comes from both their subordinates, and you get harassment from other supervisors, so f you
are a women and you get promoted to a supervisory position, you get harassed by one, your
subordinates, and you get harassed by other supervisors.
Explanation that the authors offer:
Harassment is related to power it is a form of resistance to female power and authority and it
is a way for males to try to regain that balance of power that they think has been taken by
having a women in a position of power.
So some of the real culture is that women don’t belong in supervisory position or boss
positions except in maybe some limited industries like health etc.
When a woman gets promoted that upsets the balance of power and harassment is an attempt
to redress that imbalance in power. That is what the authors suggested.
Related to fear, because that imbalance says that things are changing and they don’t know
what’s going to happen. They are worried and anxious etc. 8
SEX and GENDER
Sex is clearly biological differences; it is based on hormonal differences. Biology is related.
Sex is also the pattern