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SOC366H1 (16)

Women and Work Ch1&2.doc

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Stephen Reid

CHAPTER 1 Page 1: work is defined as “activities that produce goods or services” usually for one’s own use or for the exchange of pay or support. Three types of work: forced, paid and unpaid Unpaid work is also known as non-market work which people perform for themselves or others Page 2: important form of non-market work is domestic work- work that people do for themselves or members of their household Distinction between market and non-market work is a by-product of industrialization When you define work as paid production you leave out much of the unpaid work people do in developing countries as well as domestic work by men and women in their households Page 3: Sex differentiation is the classification of people into categories based on sex. This begins at birth when each baby is assigned either male or female. This system is essential for a system of inequality. Distinguishing between males and females is necessary for treating them differently. Sex-gender hierarchies generally favours males over females Gender differentiation: the social processes that create and exaggerate biological differences. It also distinguishes activities, interests and places as either male or female. Page 4: both sex differentiation and gender differentiation ensure that females differ from males in readily noticeable ways. Fashion can create and accentuate differences in the appearance of the sexes. Diaper companies market designs for girls and designs for boys. Social construction of gender: process of transforming males and females into two groups that differ noticeably in appearance. Rewards and punishments induce most people to go along with the social construction of gender and thus conform to cultural definitions of femininity and masculinity. Page 5: Relationship between sex and gender: biological sex is the foundation on which societies construct gender. It depends little on biological sex and more on how societies embellish it. Cultures often deceive us into thinking that biological sex accounts for the differences between males and females. A primary reason for the gendering of human activities is that it maintains males advantages. Gendered organizations favour males. However men’s privileged position in organizations is not universal. Page 6: Sex is not the only way of differentiating people in society- there is race and ethnicity, appearance, religion, age, sexual orientation and economic positions. Childhood, adolescence and senior citizenship have been socially constructed as special statuses. Gendered work: three features- 1) assignment of tasks based on worker’s sex, 2) the higher value placed on men’s work than on women’s work and 3) employers’ and workers’ social constructions of gender on the job. Societies produce and maintain gender differences through ideologies that support the gender status quo, interactions among people and through reward systems that encourage gender- appropriate behaviours. Page 7: Sexual division of labour: assignment of different tasks to women and men. Tasks may be seen as “naturally female” or “naturally male”. Page 8: Most tailors in the Middle East or India are male but in more industrialized countries it is seen as a female occupation. 85% of the world’s maids and housekeepers are women but in India about half of them are male. Race, ethnicity and age frequently figure into job assignments as well. The division of labour varies over time as the production of cloth illustrates. In the 14 century, producing silk was th women’s work but during the 16 century, it became an exclusively male task. Changes in which sex performs a task usually occur slowly however, because the existing sexual division of labour shapes social expectations about who should do certain types of jobs and because in many occupations the turnover of an existing male workforce is slow. Types of work become labeled in people’s minds as being exclusively male. Page 9: under some conditions, the sexual division of labour is less rigid. In colonial America, survival required that everybody work. Sexual division of labour made men responsible for growing food and women for manufacturing the products that their families needed. Women and children often do “men’s jobs” when production pressures are high. In the slave times, women, men and children worked alongside each other although there was some division of labour. Societies gender work by labeling activities as appropriate for one sex or the other. These labels influence the job assignments of women and men and they influence employers and employees expectations of who ought to perform various jobs. Page 10: The devaluation of women’s work: historians claim that although women and men in preindustrial Europe had different spheres, neither sphere was subordinate. Sex differentiation fosters the tendency to devalue female activities and to sustain sex inequality. Devaluation of women and their activities is deeply rooted in major cultures and religions of the world. The devaluation continues over time because it is part of the ideology in many parts of the world and because it is in men’s interest. Devaluation of women’s work is a key factor in the pay gap between the sexes. In the US, where most doctors are male, their incomes are at the top of the income hierarchy. In Estonia, where ¾ of the doctor’s are female, their pay is much closer to the average income. The more heavily female an occupation, the less both female and male workers earn. Ex. paying a boy $20 for 30 miutes of snow shoveling compared to $8 an hour for a female to babysit. Page 11: women are taught from childhood to have a reduced sense of entitlement and as a result, they expect less pay than men except for the same level of performance, effort or ability. This may cause men to grow up with an exaggerated sense of entitlement Cultural attiudes that devalue women are expressed in the lower value that many employers, workers and societies place on the work that women usually do. This devaluation reduces women’s pay relative to men’s. this preserves the sex-gender hierarchy. Construction of gender on the job: a by-product of the ways that employers organize work and workers produce goods and services. Employers bring gender into the workplace both consciously and unconsciously. Employers often have a partuclar sex in mind when they create new jobs or set new pay levels. Machinery developed will be different if they have a 5’11” and 175 pounds person in mind rather than 5’4” and 130 pounds. Employers who plan to hire women are more likely to organize jobs as part time and create pay and benefit systems that encourage turnover. When modern paid jobs evolved, most paid workers were male which created assumptions surrounding the creation of these jobs to be gendered Page 12: employers may introduce gender into the workplace through current practices. They sometimes use gender to control workers to get more work out of them or to sell products. Employers may emphasize sex to divert worker’s attention from bad working conditions or to prevent collective action. Ex. global assembly lines that subject young women to long, dangerous work at low pay sometimes feature fashion shows and cosmetic sales on company
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