PSY341H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Sex Segregation, Sandwich Generation, Visible Minority
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Chapter 4: Women’s Employment
• 1970: over 1/3 of adult women in Canada work outside of home for pay
• 2008: 62.8% of women in the labour force
• Irony: On one hand, women are gaining significant gains in employment opportunities.
Yet on the other hand the persistence of major work-related gender inequities.
• The persistence of inequity between men and women in the labour force is attributed to
the key theme of women’s work as being undervalued
How are jobs gendered? How do they become socially created?
• Summary of Marjorie Cohen’s analysis: You have to take into consideration the
contribution of households to the economy, which can be seen even prior to industrialization.
Her research indicates that public and private spheres of market and household have been
intertwined in diverse ways during all phases of economic development, with women always
performing pivotal roles. Ex. Early Ontario’s economy based on two staple exports wheat and
timber, subject to unstable international markets. However, it was women that generated the
family income by producing agricultural goods to sell in the local consumer market along with
performing the necessary domestic chores
• As factories sprang in the 19th century, more women entered the workforce to do cheap
• Unpaid domestic labour: focuses only on paid employment, undermine the work activities
of majority of women before industrialization.
• Even as women are in the workforce, mostly single women who were expected to retreat
back into the home once they were married
• “double day” or “second shift” whereby married women spend their days in paying jobs yet
still assume the responsibilities of child care and domestic chores when they get home
• “Family wage”: working men organizing unions for better wages as wages should be high
enough to allow male breadwinner. Employers in response limit employment of single women
to reinforce this ideology
• Joy Parr’s study: Paris (dominantly female because of knit goods) and Hanover
(dominantly male because of furniture factory).
1. Although widespread participation in the paid labour force is recent development, women
have always made essential contributions to economy
2. Women’s entry into paid employment occurred in ways that reproduce their subordinate
position in society relative to men
Human capital theory- skills and training make a person fit for a job, including education and
experience. Theoretical perspective assumes a job’s rewards are determined by economic
contribution. It assumes that the labor market participants are all competing for jobs in a single,
open labour market. When it comes to selectrion, employers make rational decisions based
on an assessment of an individual;’s ability. For a job seeker to get additional education is to
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Chapter 4: Women’s Employment
invest in their human campital. Human capital model emphesizes the supply side of labour
markets, overlooking the behaviour of employers, which is the demand side. Families,
schools and other institutions that shape labour market outcomes must be considered in
determining who gets the best jobs.
Female employment is virtually a trend in all countries, Canada experienced the largest
• Influences on women’s employment
1. Becoming more educated which raised occupational aspirations, making them more
competitive with men in the job market
2, Expansion of white-collar sector jobs boosts demand for female labour (trend of part-time
jobs which are convenient for women with family responsibilities)
3. Shrinking family size which allowed married women to pursue employment more readily
4. Rising separation and divorce rates which forced women to find their own source of
5. Declining living standards which made a second income essential
• “maternal walls” and “glass ceilings” (subtle barriers to advancement that persist despite
formal policies designed to eliminate them) still play an equally large role in shaping women’s
• Male-female division of labour. Child rearing and household tasks seen as “women’s
• Domestic responsibilities limit women availability for paid work keeping many married
women financially dependent on their husbands
• Dual-earner families is now norm in Canada
• Martin Meissner: study in 1970s found that decrease in leisure time for British Columbia
wives as they took jobs, however no decrease for men because they did not share
household in the first place
• 2006: Stats Canada shows however showed that the “time use” in which men contributed
to housework has increased through the years. In addition, younger university women tend to
have less traditional roles. As well as more egalitarian patterns in same-sex households
• “sandwich generation”: having to care for eldercare as well as younger generation of
• Women more likely to be the one providing eldercare, as well as being the ones to put in
more hours relative to men
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