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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto Mississauga
John Kervin

SOC 362 – SEX, GENDER, &WORK Session #4 EXPLAINING GENDER DISCRIMINATION Topics: Objective Existence and Variation The Two Root Causes Causal Model Four Biological Explanations Physical Attributes Essentialism Psychoanalytic Theory Functional Explanation Summary Socio-Cultural Explanations Gender Ideology Gender Role Socialization Patriarchy Theory Summary Demand and Supply-Side Demand-Side Explanations Supply-Side Explanations Readings: Reeves, ch. 2:23-35 “Eleven Tips” Optional Reading: Jared Diamond, Collapse OBJECTIVE • Why does occupational segregation exist? • Why it varies over time and place? • What is it about being female that leads to inequality? Existence, Variation, and Remedies 1. Why do we have a variation? 2. How do we fix it? (remedies) o How do we eliminate gender discrimination? o 2 THE TWO ROOT CAUSES Causal Model Biology Women’s Human preferences capital Women’s Social- stereotypes ization Occup. Organization gender Er labour practices segregation Social market culture discrimination Employer stereotypes Notes: Focuses on two grouped causes 1. Biological explanations o Cannot be caused by other factors o Chromosome, genetic o How does this lead to gender discrimination? o What does biology has an effect on gender discrimination? o 2. Social causes o 3 BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS Biological ??? Gender Difference Discrimination Three criteria: 1. How valid is it to link biological to gender differences 2 why do we have more discrimination and sometimes less. (Can it explain variation) 2. Does that theory explain remedies? Can we get a remedy for gender discrimination (does not give us a remedy) 1. Physical Attributes The Explanation • Inequality exists because men are bigger and stronger • Males dominated because they have more physical strength. This domination became a natural accepted part of tribal life. (i.e. males hunt) The link: Competition with scarce resources (if you are bigger then you will get access to more food) Problem #1: we can find matriarchal cultures (society in which women dominate even if they are physically smaller) 4 Problem #2: does not explain variations over time. During post-industrialism, women has been doing better, but they are not larger than in middle ages and pre-industrial times. Problem #3: what is the remedy?. How do we fix it? It will take centuries for women to grow as much as men. Maybe physical strength does not matter as much because of technology. Physically, men still dominate women. Conclusion: It cannot just be physical size. 2. Essentialism Essentialism: the view that human behaviour has biological, physiological, and genetic causes.  Our behavior differences reflect our basic essence (basic essence as male or female and drives who you are/ what you do) The Explanation Three steps: 1. Women are different (b/c of chromosome, hormonal and genetic differences) 2. This in turn leads to behavior/attitudinal differences. Women make choices and behave in that life according to their essential natures. Women’s natural choices/behaviors. (i.e. women prefer to raise a family, also includes the kind of paid work they tend to do – usually less technical, more nurturing and helping. It also involves jobs that incorporate cooperation. Men are more aggressive and women are more competitive) Notion of women are more reluctant to talk about their achievements while men it is easier (presentation today refer) 3. When women make those choices, this leads to activities where society does not value. Society does not reward women as higher. Women usually have low-paid work. 5 Women’s essential nature leads to nature where society does not value as much The link: Problem #1: why are female choices are valued less? (i.e. when women is a teacher, why are they not valued? How do we get from differences from discrimination? Men are worth more than women Problem #2: What we define as women’s work can change from one culture to another. (i.e. sex segregation in specific types of jobs is not necessarily linked to biology) Problem #3: What’s the remedy? We cannot change biology to try to solve this Conclusion: Chromosomal, genetic differences play a role but…. Women do different things, but why are they treated less? 3. Psychoanalytic Theory The Explanation • 1. Most children are raised by women (their mothers) • This results in all children starting out feminine identification. The child’s initial personality internalizes the mother’s equalities. If the mother easily expresses emotions, so will the child, regardless of the child’s sex. • Around the age 3, boys are encouraged to be more masculine by fathers, uncles, etc... • Boys are being encouraged to give up the person who is so close to them (i.e. their mother) • “Do not be a mother’s boy!!!!” Boy’s solutions: 1. Boys define masculinity as a negative way. (w/e that is non-feminine) (being different from women – it’s not going to be w/e mom is) 2. Boy’s invent rituals that condemn anything men inferior. (absence of any role models, boys develop these two strategies) To be “masculine” means: 1. Your different from women 6 2. Your better than women This helps boys overcome the ritual that they boys go through. The link: The child’s identification (as either male or female) Problem #1: • How do we explain broad culture differences? • (I.e. Sweden is different from Italy) • What does social culture have to do with this? Problem #2: • What’s the remedy? • It is hard to fix • Get men involved in child rearing just like women are Conclusion: • It can explain individual level sex differences. • It does not extend to broad culture differences in gender equality 4. Functional Explanation The Explanation • Biologically, only women that have the children have the ability to take care of the child, but we need men to provide protections against enemies • How do we keep men around? By giving them higher status. The link: • Men get status and power in exchange for protecting women the survival in the social entity Problem #1: • It may not be good to let men have this status influence? • If you give men status influence then you get wars, wastes, • It can threaten the survival of a society • It may not be a good thing that having men around can be a good thing Problem #2: • Women have the ultimate power • They can reward men for sticking around • Will women give up so much that they will suffer mentally, physically and emotionally? Problem #3: • What’s the remedy? 7 • Get women to provide the protection Conclusion: There is something valid about this explanation It is related to other things happening in society. It is the only biological explanation that gives women equal status in the longer run It seems implicitly to say that women have the ultimate power, but there is some evidence that this is not true. Summary: Biological Explanations for Gender Inequality • Looked at 4 • Appear to explain some gender inequalities, but something else is the cause (not biologically as a remedy/solution) SOCIO-CULTURAL EXPLANATIONS 1. Gender Ideology The Explanation • All
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