5/26/2011 7:11:00 AM
Lack of women in one of top CEO company
Active versus structural discrimination – women might not be in
their network. What is the intention? Does that matter if the
outcome is discriminatory?
If you know better morally doesn’t mean it is discrimination legally.
Government hiring practice: get internal posting so that everyone
has equal playing field.
Employer also hires on social relational aspect. Not just hiring based
on education but personality and ability to sell themselves. This is
where a lot of discrimination often comes into play.
Hard to prove
What is Discrimination?
Definition: treating people differently, negatively or adversely based
on their ages, sex, sex orientations, etc.
o Legal definitions are very ambiguous
Discrimination involving 3 processes
o 1) noticing and labeling
noticing difference and attach a label to the difference
I notice that you are female, I am attaching label
female ( nothing going on yet). We socially categorize
people all the time because it sets up interaction
o 2) activating beliefs and values about that difference
we activate our beliefs of that lable to advantage or
i.e. you are male – now I activate all the things I
associate with male masculinity. Not anything wrong –
just activating differences.
Context might mater in terms of how salient gender
i.e. teacher attaches label “students” – gender
distinction isn’t as salient.
i.e. at bar, gender salience is very important
o 3) acting on the difference
to advantage or disadvantage i.e. different outcome if she favours males and females
differently because there is a similarity – she is female.
You cannot legislate what people think, but acting is harmful.
Better definition: understanding discrimination process –
discrimination is a) unequal and b) harmful treatment
Types of Discrimination
Ways this happens, what are the mechanisms
Two forms: Direct versus indirect
o Direct: It could have to do with standards, policy or actions
that are discriminatory on their face – clearly discriminate 1
group of people. (ie written discrimination like job
o Indirect: has to do with standards policies and actions as
well but are neutral on their face and applied equally but
nevertheless have discriminatory outcomes – i.e gender.
Rules might be applied equally but standardized application
might affect different groups differently.
3 types of discrimination
o Overt: direct, readily apparent, visible, observable, easily
i.e. sexist joked at work especially by boss. Sexual
harassment, lack of promotion opportunities for women
o Subtle: can be direct or indirect!!! Why? Because it can be
visible but not noticed.
i.e. a lot of women who do make it in management
might get undermined by going to her boss because
doesn’t trust her management.
i.e. valet parking manager doesn’t hire females because
men don’t want to see women parking their expensive
i.e. racist, sexist o Covert: the most popular, and hidden! shares characteristics
of subtle but it is opposite to overt – it IS intentional but
hidden. Very difficult to document. Purposely !!!!
i.e. female partner at law firm knows 2 associates (Male
and F) are up for partner but she has “queen bee”
syndrome and wants to undercut the female so she
gives her tons and tons of work so it looks like she is
In complex situations: what’s better for equity. Female firefighters
have to carry smaller weight – this is better than women not being
able to be firefighters at all. This is based on averages – women are
smaller than men. Seen in sports also.
Thinking Broadly about Gender Discrimination
o pragmatic approach: what can we do about gender
discrimination. What legislation can we put into place. What
kind of campaigns can we use, what role models can we use.
The doing approach.
o How do we fix it? legislate the framework
2) Analytical-why does it exist? How does it happen and who it
o how much and who before we decide what we can do with it.
2 theoretical questions we need to understand:
1) existence: why does discrimination in labour market
happening, where is it happening, how is it happening.
What’s going on with occupations that are mixed.
2) Variation: why are there differences amongst
different companies?there is gender discrimination
everywhere but there are contexts that are more or less
integrated in gender. There is variation across contexts.
Differences between these contexts are important for
understanding what to do about it in other places. Locus (‘source’) of Discrimination –- where does it live, how does it
overt/subtle discrimination – usually hard to pick up. In this day
and age you get in trouble. It is more hidden than ever before.
Need to focus on covert and need to think about levels.
o i.e. Male employer passing up F promotion because he
assumes she wants to spend time with her family. Needs to
2) System itself (systematic discrimination)
o aka institutional discrimination: how do we know? Outcomes
of particular practicesThis happens when the work policies,
practices disadvantages certain workers. Inside the procedures!!!
o i.e. gender wage gap – historically! Leading to sex
segregation! something in system that is gendered in a way
that women are disadvantaged. Understanding how gender
gets played into how much nurse makes compared to doctor,
is babysitting as skilled as economics. This has to do with
history and become institutionalized –
o i.e lawers, women had less access to resources
o i.e. men would go to work and ladies took are of children.
People rub off on jobs and jobs rub off on people – it is hard
to spate the two and point out that there is something wrong
in the system and needs to be addressed. It is deeply
embedded over a long period of time.
The Supply Side—focus on choice!!! Individual choice!! Choice –
Labour market segregation: both cause and outcome of gender
o It can be an outcome: we have an assumption of what men
do and they dominate a work environment – men get paid
more this ???
Where is it coming from?
o Supply side: labour part of equation – focus on the
individual – individual level of what’s going on. What are the person’s preference. What kinds of education do F invest in?
what is the human capital that characterize the women?
For women: assumption women identify with family so
they identify with occupations that allow them to deal
CON: zero sum understanding – women can
either commit to family or work!! But cannot to
both!!!! Your choice is on work or family?!
1) The Human Capital Theories
The skills, eductions, labour market experience
Different pay is based on different human capital.
economics uses rational choice in input and income – gender,
identity etc. isn’t part of equation.
You invest in this because you want more bang for your buck
Women hired for different jobs because they don’t have same skills
o We an see, measure, we know how much skill you have
We are going to invest in particular education because you want a
particular outcome later – we are investing.
Things that take longer to invest in creates better outcome – longer
education, more money – we agree.
Women choose to invest less time and later they loose skills.
Underbelly: the assumption anticipati