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
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
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-
Page 7: Sexual division of labour: assignment of different tasks to
women and men. Tasks may be seen as “naturally female” or
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
women’s work but during the 16 century, it became an exclusively
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
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
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
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