Gender and Sexuality
Lecture 10, 22/11/2012
Four main ideas on gender (Siltanen and Doucet)
1. Gender is a vantage point of critique (feminism is activist, not just
2. Gender is a social construction (not an essential, biologically based,
unchangeable characteristic of humans).
3. Gender is realized in social roles and institutions (gender is both an
identity and a structural constraint, which affects both women and men).
4. Gender is a relation of inequality (not just difference).
- Knezevic: this reflects the development of North American feminist
sociology and assumes high salience of gender/ impossibility of
gender-neutral social arrangements.
- Any gender ideology is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Gender is a social construction
- Gender is a socially constructed identity that is thought to be
appropriate to a biological sex.
- Essentialism: view that male-female differences are universal and largely
reflect biological differences.
- Gender identities differ across time and societies, and they are NOT
binary and polar opposites.
- Gender stereotypes: oversimplified beliefs that men and women possess
different personality traits resulting in different behavior.
- Structuralist view of the instrumental personality of men and
expressive personality of women.
- Siltanen and Doucet: hegemonic masculinity and emphasized
femininity contribute to gender inequality.
Gender in education
- Majority of undergraduate and M.A. students in Canada are women, a
slight majority of Ph.D. students are men.
- Gender-based selection of elective subjects in high school enables
gender segregation of university programmes (architecture, agriculture,
engineering, math, physics, and forestry).
- More even gender structure of occupations in Denmark (and other
European countries), where all high school subjects are mandatory.
- Gender structure of engineering students in Canada is more uneven now
than it was in the 1970s
- Gender structure of licensed engineers is more even, due to immigration
of women engineers from Eastern Europe and China
Gender at work
- Occupational segregation.
- Gender income gap: in Canada, women earn 79% of the income of the
equally qualified man working full time (minimal change since the
1990s), 91% in Belgium, 82% in the U.S.
- Women with a professional or graduate degree aged under 30 in Canada:
96% Gender and Sexuality
Lecture 10, 22/11/2012
- All women with a bachelor’s degree in Canada: 86%
- Precarious work: 40% of Canadian employed women and 34% of the
men (labour/non-contract/temporary jobs – not “good” jobs)
- High variability of gender norms of standard employment (North
America, UK, Japan; continental Europe, post-socialist countries, China).
Gender in the family
- As female labour force activity has increased, men have begun to share
some unpaid domestic and care labour (particularly child care).
- But the number of hours of unpaid work done by women has not
- Women active in the paid labour force typically work a “double day”
(Hochschield “the second shift”).
- The value of this unpaid labour (cca. 2/3 done by women, 1/3 by men) is
estimated to be 1/3 of Canada’s GDP.
Arlie Hochschild. 1997. The Time Bind (*About women?)
- Workers often do not use offered policies that would increase family