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"Women's" Work.docx

5 Pages

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1350
Julie Dowsett

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February 29. 2012 “W OMEN ’S ”W ORK 1. Sexual Harassment of Canadian Women in the Workplace  Studies have shown that anywhere from 40%-90% of Canadian women are likely to experience sexual harassment in the workplace – the measurement depends on sexual harassment is understood: 1. Quid Pro Quo (Latin for trade) – you sleep with me or you’re fired, etc. 2. Poisonous Work Environment – sexually suggestive jokes, hostile behavior, bringing attention to women’s bodies – behavior that makes the workplace an uncomfortable place for women – not usually one comment, but an accumulation of these kinds of comments  Sexual harassment protection in both Canadian Human Rights Act (1985) and Provincial Human Rights Act (1985), and Canadian Labor Code (1985) – it’s only been 25 years since sexual harassment has been on the books  Prior to that, you could only do something if it led to violence – however, it doesn’t always lead to violence a. Sexual harassment as a response to the “threat” posed by women in non-traditional fields  Sexual harassment is often a response by men who feel threatened by women in the workplace  Studies have shown that in fields traditionally associated with men, sexual harassment of women is rampant (i.e., engineering, corporate law, auto industry, working trades)  75% of women working in non-traditional fields are sexually harassed (regardless of the class position that you’re working in) b. Sexual harassment in fields traditionally occupied by women  Also, there’s a high rate of sexual harassment in fields dominated by women (i.e., nursing (76% reported being sexual assaulted), flight attendants (75+%))  This could be for various reasons such as uniforms, their job is often seen as being eye candy (i.e., Halloween – sexy nurse/flight attendant – this causes these jobs to be highly sexualized c. Effects of sexual harassment of women at work  It has been shown to hamper their integration into the workforce  Women who are sexually harassed are often transferred, or sometimes left without a job i. Psychological effects ii. Physical effects iii. Economic effects  Severe economic effects  Women often lose salary if they quit a job because of sexual harassment they cannot tolerate anymore  They have lower rates of continuous employment, can lose seniority, can lose seniority and have negative references  Women who report are often seen as “troublemakers” or women who can’t take a joke 1 2. Heterosexual Courtship Rituals in Canada, Or, Assumptions About the Sexual Availability of All Women  The idea that women are seen as troublemakers who can’t take jobs relates to the social construction masculinity, feminity, and heterosexual courtship rituals. It relates to the assumptions that Canadian society as a whole has about women – all women are or should be sexually available to men a. Norms developed during the late-19 and early-20 centuries established a script familiar to most Canadians today b. Men as initiators of all phases of intimate relationship development  Courtship rituals – men are the aggressors and women are passive and expected to await the call of potential suitors (i.e., men chase women, men ask women out on dates, women accept marriage proposals from men etc.)  The power given to women in heterosexual courtship rituals is that she gets to choose the suitor 3. Employment Equity and Pay Equity  Prior to WWII, there were fewer women who entered the labor force in Canada. Historically, only certain groups of women (i.e., mostly low income women and women of color tended to be active members of the labor force).  Some white middle-class women took on paid employment prior to WWII, but that was usually to gain some extra money (pin money), until they got married and settled down  This idea that women never worked until WWII is problematic in that many women were working prior to WWII – women of color had no choice and were always working  This women were mostly relegated to lower paying jobs such as domestic work, family business  With WWII, a large number of men went off to fight, and a large number of women in Canada and other countries in Canada and Britain had to step up and actively work in the labor force  During WWII, women worked in all kinds of factories and fields to support the war efforts  During the war, the Canadian government set up a national daycare to help these women work in paid work because they needed help as the men were off fighting  Their efforts paid off and women from all facets of life took on positions within the labor force  But after the war, women were effectively pushed out of these positions, daycare seized to be a priority for the government, and there was this idea that women should return to the household  Therefore, during the 1960s as more women entered the laborforce, they became very dissatisfied – they had experienced the working world, and were very unhappy with the types of jobs they were offered  However, they did not have a choice in that they had to provide economically for their family. This single breadwinner norm, although mostly a norm for white middle class in the 50s, has become increasingly unsustainable. It is no possible for most families to live at least a middle-lower class lifestyle with only one breadwinner. This made women enter the labor force much more as well  Universities were expanding during the 60s, and women went to university and expected to be able to work in challenging, well-paid jobs, but found that they couldn’t  50s, 60s, 70s – women entering the labor force found: o Gender division of labor – up and until the 70s women were in fields like teaching (largely elementary school), social work and nursing o Wage gap – They found that even when they graduated university they were still not making equal money to men (even to this day women make 74 cents to every dollar that men make) 2 o Invisible glass ceiling – women will get into an organization and will be promoted to a certain degree, and then they’ll find that they’ve hit this invisible glass where they can no longer be promoted to higher positions (i.e., top management positions are prone to gender and race biases). Even in the legal professions, women are confined to certain areas of law and are lower earners  Women of color and racialized minority groups are less likely than white women to hold managerial positions, and more likely to be in lower paying manual/service positions  Most women who come to the country as citizens come as family class because the way the point system works is that it rewards particular male-dominated professions. Women who come with a male partner often find themselves not having their credentials recognized and therefore puts women of color in a lower position in the labor force  There has been some legal attempt to deal with this  In Canada, employment equity and pay equity has been legislated separately – they’ve been seen as addressing separate problems that require separate laws  In doing so, it gives a disservice to those marginalized in the labor force a. Employment equity seeks to redress discriminatory employment practices (especially hiring, promotion and retention)  Employment equity – seeks to redress discriminatory employment practices
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