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Chapter 7

Sociology 2140 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Gender Pay Gap, Equal Pay For Equal Work, Female Genital Mutilation

Course Code
SOC 2140
Paul Whitehead

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7-Gender Inequality
9:15 AM
Sexism: belief that innate psychological, behavioural and/or intellectual differences exist b/w
men and women and that these differences connote the superiority of one group and the
inferiority of the other
o Result in prejudice and discrimination at both the individual and institutional level
o Individual discrimination- not hiring male nurse b/c you think he's less nurturing
o Institutional discrimination- built into fabric of society, women having a harder time finding
Discerning bias for discrimination difficult b/c gender, age, sexual orientation and race intersect
First nations, visible minorities, disabilities earn well below Canadian avg
Women's earnings below men, 70.5% of what men earned
Simply receiving earnings can be difficult with compounding minority status and gender inequality
o Double, triple (multiple) jeopardy- person is a member of two + minority groups
Gender: social definitions and expectations associated with being m/f
Sex: persons biological classification as m/f
Inequality not simply conceptual, concrete structural denial of health care, food and social status
Millions of women around the world still victims of violence, discrimination and abuse
o +60mill young girls, predominantly in Asia listed as "missing" likely victim of infanticide or
o +2mill girls b/w 5-15 forced into the sex trade each year
o Half mill women die of complications from childbirth year- 20x more seriously
injured/disabled in childbirth
o 2/3 worlds 876mill illiterates are women
o 1/3 women abused, beaten or coerced into sex
Female Genital mutilation (FGM) clitorectomy and infibulation (stitched together) occurs at
infancy, reopened for marriage and delivery then closed again
o Practiced for economic, social, religious reasons
o Cannot be viewed as "male dominance"/ "cultural imprisonment" does and injustice to
culture and women
o Women's health should be death with holistically - literacy, leadership skills, social
development, allowing women to decide when to address change in FGM
Structural-functionalism and conflict theory focus on how structure of society and institutions
contribute to gender inequality- different development/maintenances views
Symbolic interactionism focuses on culture of society how gender roles learned through
socialization process
Structural-Functionalist Perspective
Argue pre-industrial society required division of labour based on gender- women were to be at
home bearing, nursing, caring for children while men worked long hours to provide
Division of labour was functional for society and overtime became considered normal and natural
-male centered view of what's beneficial for society

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Industrialization rendered traditional division of labour less functional
Conceptions of families have changed, more women work outside the home and greater role
variation in the division of labour
ARGUE: as the needs of society change, associated institutional arrangements also change
Conflict Perspective
Relationship men/women have to production process shapes male dominance and female
Society evolved to agricultural and industrial modes of production, private property developed
men gained control of production while women remained in the home
o Inheritance laws ensured ownership remained in men's hands
o Laws regarded women as property ensured women would stay in the home
Industrialization continued production moved away from home, male-female gap grew - women
had less education, income, occupational skills
WW11- allowed women to work, most continued to post war
States show that although women are entering male dominated workforces wages are still lower
& their more likely to work part-time jobs
ARGUE: continued male dominance requires belief system supporting gender inequality
o (1) women are inferior outside the home (less intelligent, reliable, rational)
o (2) women more valuable in home (maternal instinct, naturally nurturing)
UNLIKE functionalists- women subordination consequence of social inducement not biological
Feminist/Queer Perspective
Expressive Roles: nurturing and emotionally supportive roles that women are generally socialized
Instrumental Roles: task-oriented roles that males are generally socialized into
Structural Sexism: ways in which the organization of society and institutions subordinate
individuals and groups based on their sex classification
o Resulted in gender differences- edu attainment, income, occupational/political involvement
Education and Structural Sexism
Only 70% as many of women as men are literate in the worlds least developed countries. EX: only
31% as many women as men as literate in CHAD
Women's education is imp in its own right but also related to child mortality- under 5 mortality
rate twice as high for illiterate women
CAN proportionate number of women with earned university degrees increased noticeably over
the decades
Women may earn less doctoral degrees then men because they're socialized to choose marriage
and motherhood over long-term career preparation
Often look at earnings gaps for women from working less hours, wage gaps exists where there are
actual pay differences in men/women
Wage gap widespread in all occupational categories, women only earn more than men in social
work m otherwise men still earn more then women, even in women dominated fields except
social work
Percentage of females in an occupation best predictor of an income gender gap- higher % women,
lower the pay
1. Devaluation Hypothesis: argues that women are paid less because the work they perform is
socially defined as less valuable than the work performed by men
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