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Gender Inequality - Just Notes.doc

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Robert Brym

← Gender Inequality In The Labour Market ← Inequalities in the labour market can take a number of forms: ← 1. Disparities in wages by sex (diff. in earnings) • Women earn 73% of what men earn • At the 1976-2008 rate of improvement, women’s earnings will equal men’s earnings in 2088 ← 2. Vertical occupational segregation • hierarchal positioning • e.g. professors at UofT • in theory, rank based on merit but statistics show that as one climbs up the hierarchy, there are more men than women in better earning and higher ranking jobs ← 3. Horizontal occupational segregation • when men and women are clustered in different types of employment jobs e.g. men are more likely to be clustered in manual jobs while women are more likely to be clustered in nursing • although this does not show definitive discrimination, it does show in what occupations women and men take – a further examination can show that the clusters produce differences not in comparison of men and women IN the cluster but between the clusters ← Movie 1: Rosies of the North ← Movie 2: Training Video from 1950s for aspiring airline stewardesses ← ← THEORIES OF GENDER INEQUALITY IN THE LABOUR MARKET ← 1. OCCUPATIONAL SEGREGATION • Internal Labour Markets / Short promotion ladders o E.g. Grocery Store Chain  in the 2 entry level positions that are dead end jobs (i.e. no possible way of moving up in rank) there are more women – horizontal occupational Segregation  As you move up the ladder, from the 2 jobs that allows a higher rank, you find less and less women working there – vertical organizational segregation  Glass Ceiling: the limits upon which women can get promoted • Horizontal Occupational Segregation / Incomparable Worth o E.g. Vast majority of paediatricians are women (harsh training because have to deal with children and worried parents) but still make less than general practitioners o E.g. Telephone Repair Man vs. Preschool teachers – telephone repair man makes more then preschool teacher (preschool teacher makes the same amount as those the clean dogs) o occupations that are generally clustered around women are paid less, and regarded less in rank than male-dominated occupations o another side of the coin, whenever a man enters a female- oriented/thought of/dominated occupation, they may be regarded as “lower” and stigmatized o shows what we value – i.e. not paying nurses more = we devalue care givers ← 2. HUMAN CAPITAL DIFFERENCES ← A composite measure of a worker’s: • Commitment to the job • Educational attainment • Job experience o Sociologists point out that employment officers give better and more training for men – thus, even in women and men have same human capital at the beginning, a job gives a man preferential treatment ← PENALTIES TO HUMAN CAPITAL FOR WOMEN • Career disruptions owing to pregnancy • Child & elderly care • Domestic labour • Non-standard work: women perform seasonal jobs/part-time jobs/ many small odd jobs = therefore, they do not get same experience o why do women get less training? – another perspective – women are disproportionately affected by time consuming jobs such as domestic work, caring for children and elderly, thus, they get less training and have less time to work o the "double shift" = women working at home and at outside job ← Marxist – Feminist Analysis: • Due to the social organization of domestic care women compete less than men in the labour market ← 3. SOCIAL CAPITAL DIFFERENCES • the ties that people have to the people with influence • the connection and your network with people with power • women have less social capital than men • why are these ties so important? o Because these people can write good references, can introduce you to other important people, guide you, recommend you etc. • women are excluded from “informal work culture” that helps create ties for work – e.g. men hang out at a sports bar – i.e. “old boys network” ← 4. STATISTICAL DISCRIMINATION/SEXISM • women are more likely to have other distractions therefore, employers make statistical generalizations about who to choose with all other human capital alike between a man and woman • some might take into account traditional stereotypes ← These theories are not mutually exclusive, but are used together. Gender Inequality • But still persistence of gender inequalities: o Hierarchical unevenness between women and men in terms of distribution of power, material wellbeing, and prestige o Use “gender inequalities” rather than “sex inequalities” because gender = social meanings associated with being a man or a woman, whereas sex = biological characteristics of men and women o Men as individuals don’t always have greater prestige, wealth, and power but on average, compared with women, men have more wealth, greater power, and position • 20 century saw enormous change in attitudes, expectations, behaviours, and social roles of men and women in Canada o Social roles: Behaviours expected of people occupying particular social positions Gender Stereotypes • Gender inequality is reinforced by gender stereotypes: o Set of oversimplified beliefs about how men and women, by virtue of their physical sex, possess different personality traits and, as a result, may behave differently and experience the world in different ways  Gender stereotypes are supported by research • Yet, it is largely socially constructed and continually altered through social interaction • Thus, proving that gender identities: o Are not stable or fixed:  what defines masculine/feminine caries from culture to culture and over time in a specific society o Need not be congruent with sex assigned at birth o Are not polar opposites but are degrees of masculinity/femininity • A fixation of the alleged opposed characteristics of men and women is evident in such phrases as the “opposite sex” Dimensions Of Inequality: Power, Material Wellbeing, And Prestige • Power: Capacity to impose your will on others, regardless of any resistance o Power involves the capacity to influence, manipulate, and control others, and is exercised at the individual, group, and organizational levels • Material wellbeing: Involves access to economic resources required to pay for necessities of life and other possessions and advantages o Important sources of material wellbeing: Work-related income & accumulated wealth • Prestige: Average evaluation of occupational activities and positions arranged in a hierarchy o Prestige reflects the degree of respect/honour generally accorded to a person occupying a given position o Commonly, two or more differently evaluated positions are described as having higher or lower prestige Explaining Gender Inequality – 4 Feminists Theories Feminism: Body of knowledge about causes and nature of women’s subordination to men in society, and various agendas - often involving political action - for removing that subordination Liberal feminism • Liberal feminism is rooted in the liberalism of the 1700s. • Assumes that human beings are rational and will correct inequalities • Believes that a good society is one in which men and women enjoy equal rights and opportunities. • Believes that Gender inequalities are caused and spread by gender stereotyping and gendered division of labour (division of work into “men” and “women” jobs) • Achieve gender equality through: o Removing gender stereotyping and discrimination in workplace and education, and o Changing laws to allow for equal opportunities in labour force and politics Marxist Feminism • Believe that women’s unpaid domestic work maintains and reproduces labour force • Capitalists benefit by women (wives/mothers): o Ensuring workers (males) ready to work each day o Raising children to become future labourers o Acting as own reserve army of labour (can be hired/fired as labour demands change) • Believe that gender equality can be achieved through socialism Socialist Feminism • Agree with Marx in recognizing capitalism as oppression, but it only constitute one set of social relations that oppress women • Second set of oppressive social relations: o Patriarchy ð System of male domination over women o Patriarchy predates capitalism; the forms it takes vary across time and within societies. • See childbearing and sexual activities of women as basis of gender inequality  •  Because domestic and public spheres intersect, inequalities in one sphere can create disadvantages for women in the other sphere (“public sphere” = govn. + paid work). • Decrease gender inequality through: o State-subsidies for maternal benefits and child care o Equal pay for equal work o Removing inequality altogether requires the eradication of male dominance as expressed in the legal system, the educational system, the family, and the economy Multicultural Feminism • Emphasizes the importance of race in understanding gender inequality • Patricia Hill Collins: race + class + gender = matrix of domination • Highlight differences among women in terms of gender inequality • Points out that women of specific races and in certain class locations are in positions of power and domination over other groups of women • Emphasizes that solutions to gender inequality are relative to the location of women in the matrix of domination Exercising Power • Male power and control over women characterize all social relations, routine behaviours, and commonly accepted practices • Workplace sexual harassment: Result of general belief that men are superior to women and may impose their will upon them o Is example of power as a system of dominance and exploitation  Is system because capacity of men and incapacity of women to control and influence has become routine and patterned • Other examples include women being denied the right to vote, and workplace regulations that encourage or compel women to quit work upon marriage • Gender inequalities in power also combine with racial inequalities o As a result, minority women experience the most harassment because they are both women and members of a minority group Separate Spheres • Historically, women have been excluded from certain opportunities that can give them wealth, power and prestige such as: o Separation of public sphere for men and private sphere for women • Consequences of separation for women: o Association of domestic labour as women’s work  Women = work at home / Men = go out to work o Devaluation of unpaid domestic labour  Amount of energy, skill, effort goes unnoticed  Housework = has no prestige/respect since it is considered at the bottom of the occupational hierarchy o Tendency to view nurturing and care-giving as biologically-determined traits  Rather than acquired traits o Financial dependence on men
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