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CHAPTER SEVEN Gender Inequality: Economic and Political Aspects Monica Boyd
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-3 INTRODUCTION Will examine: Explanations for gender inequality Gender inequality in the home, the labour force, and politics Recommendations for reducing gender inequality*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-4 GENDER INEQUALITY Social roles: Behaviours expected of people occupying particular social positions In 20 th century, enormous change in attitudes, expectations, behaviours, and social roles of men and women in Canada But persistence of gender inequalities: Hierarchical asymmetries between women and men in terms of distribution of power, material wellbeing, and prestige*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-5 GENDER STEREOTYPES Gender inequality is reinforced by gender stereotypes: Set of prejudicial biologically-based generalizations about men and women in terms of personality traits and behaviour Persistence of polarized gender stereotypes is supported by research Yet, gender-related identities and behaviours largely socially constructed and continually altered through social interaction*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-6 GENDER STEREOTYPES Socially constructed nature of gender identities means gender identities: Are not stable or fixed Need not be congruent with sex assigned at birth Are not polar opposites (despite notion of “opposite sex”), but can operate on a continuum of masculinity and femininity*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-7 DIMENSIONS OF INEQUALITY: POWER, MATERIAL WELLBEING, AND PRESTIGE 1.Power: Capacity to impose your will on others, regardless of any resistance 2.Material wellbeing: Involves access to economic resources required to pay for necessities of life and other possessions and advantages 3.Prestige: Average evaluation of occupational activities and positions arranged in a hierarchy*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-8 EXPLAINING GENDER INEQUALITY Feminism: Body of knowledge about causes and nature of women’s subordination to men in society, and various agendas - often involving political action - for removing that subordination Feminist theories: 1.Liberal feminism 2.Marxist feminism 3.Socialist feminism…*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd LIBERAL FEMINIST THEORIES Gender inequalities caused and perpetuated by gender stereotyping and gendered division of labour Achieve gender equality through: Removing gender stereotyping and discrimination in workplace and education, and Changing laws to allow for equal opportunities in labour force and politics*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd MARXIST FEMINIST THEORIES Women’s unpaid domestic work maintains and reproduces labour force Capitalists benefit by women (wives/mothers): Ensuring workers (males) ready to work each day Raising children to become future labourers Acting as own reserve army of labour Achieve gender equality through socialism*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd SOCIALIST FEMINIST THEORIES Agree with Marxist feminist theories but include additional component: Recognize classes constitute only one set of social relations that oppress women Second set of oppressive social relations: Patriarchy System of male domination over women Decrease gender inequality through: State-subsidies for maternal benefits and child care Equal pay for equal work*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-12 EXERCISING POWER Male power and control over women characterize all social relations, routine behaviours, and commonly accepted practices Workplace sexual harassment: Result of general belief that men are superior to women and may impose their will upon them Is example of power as a system of dominance and exploitation Is system because capacity of men and incapacity of women to control and influence has become routine*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-13 SEPARATE SPHERES Separation of public sphere for men and private sphere for women Consequences of separation for women: Association of domestic labour as women’s work Devaluation of unpaid domestic labour Tendency to view nurturing and care-giving as biologically-determined traits Financial dependence on men Reduced access to power, prestige, and material wellbeing*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-14 FEMALE LABOUR-FORCE PARTICIPATION Since beginning of 20 th century, substantial increase in female labour force participation, including increase in rates of employed married women and women with young children Factors in increase: i.Increased demand for service workers ii.Decrease in number of children born; and iii.Increased financial pressures on families*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-15 DOMESTIC LABOUR Despite rise in female labour force participation, women still more likely than men to do unpaid work involving home maintenance and child-care While men have begun to do housework and child-care, women still spend more hours than men on domestic activities Consequences of “double day” for women: Less time available for recreational activities More likely to report feeling stressed*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-16 PERCENTAGE SPENDING 15 HOURS OR MORE A WEEK ON UNPAID HOUSEWORK AND ON CHILD CARE, WOMEN AND MEN IN THE LABOUR FORCE WITH AT LEAST ONE CHILD UNDER AGE 15 IN THE HOUSEHOLD, CANADA, 2006
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-17 OCCUPATIONAL SEGREGATION AND SEX TYPING Women in paid labour force typically do jobs that involve care-giving, nurturing, and household-type management Has given rise to: i.Sex typing (or sex labelling) of occupations: Designating an occupation as appropriate for one sex ii.Sex segregation of occupations: Concentration of women and men in different occupations*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-18 TEN MOST COMMON JOBS FOR WOMEN, CANADA, 2006
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-19 TEN MOST COMMON JOBS FOR MEN, CANADA, 2006
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-20 OCCUPATIONAL SEGREGATION AND SEX-TYPING: IMPLICATIONS “Women’s” occupations often lower than “men’s” occupations in terms of authority, responsibility, earnings, skill requirements, and mobility opportunities Inequalities indicate male advantage in labour force Women typically supervise fewer employees than men and are less likely to hold top positions Women confronted with glass ceiling: Level in an organization above which women and minority members seldom found*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-21 GENDER AND SKILL Sex typing and general devaluation of work done by women influence commonsense evaluation of what constitutes “skilled” work Women less likely to have high-skilled jobs given gender bias in socially constructed definition of skill Skill undervaluation of female sex-typed occupations disadvantages women through: Association of skill with wage level Potential to undermine pay equity policies which determine worth of job partly in terms of skill*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-22 NONSTANDARD WORK Nonstandard work (“precarious employment”) more common for women than for men Includes part-time work, part-year work, limited-term contract employment, multiple job-holding, etc. Involves less job security, lower pay, and fewer fringe benefits (e.g., pension plans)*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-23 EARNINGS Women typically earn less than men Explanations for pay gap: i.Gender differences in characteristics that influence pay rates (e.g., education, effort) ii.Gender differences in type of work done iii.Discrimination (both gender and statistical discrimination) iv.General devaluation of “women’s work”*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-24 RATIO OF WOMEN’S TO MEN’S EARNINGS, CANADA, 1976–2006
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-25 GENDER, BIRTHPLACE, AND COLOUR Is an intersection of gender inequality with inequalities stemming from birthplace and colour Women not born in Canada or those who are members of visible minority face additional hurdles: More likely to be employed in low-skill occupations Typically earn less than Canadian-born counterparts (except for Aboriginal women) Overall, earn less per week than women who are not members of visible minority groups*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-26 WOMEN’S GROUPS: ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE Women historically excluded from politics: Any activity that mobilizes people to make their views known, press for change, and achieve objectives Women’s movement: Social movement aimed at improving conditions of women Lobbying efforts of women’s movement since World War I include: Voting rights Gender equality in the workplace Fairer division of assets in divorce cases Programs to combat violence against women*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-27 WOMEN’S GROUPS: ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE Lobbying efforts limited by: i.Reliance of women’s groups on state funding (gives rise to pressure to compromise their role as critics of government) ii.Consensus building approach (is a hindrance in a political culture that requires quick responses) iii.Heterogeneity of women’s groups (is obstacle to coalition-building)*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-28 WOMEN’S GROUPS: ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE Efforts further limited by change in interaction between women’s groups and governments, which has been caused by: Electoral success of more conservative parties Federal government’s calls for economic restraint and increased provincial/territorial and private- sector responsibility Dissatisfaction within women’s advocacy groups on agendas (criticized for reflecting concerns of white, largely middle class women)*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-29 GENDER IN POLITICS Explanations for women’s underrepresentation in politics: 1.Sex-role stereotypes (women more family- oriented) 2.“Male” political culture (hostile to women’s participation) 3.“Gatekeeping” function of political parties (tend to place women in contests with poor chance of winning) 4.Insufficient resources (necessary for winning nominations and mount publicity campaigns) 5.Clash between political and family life*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-30 NUMBERS AND PERCENTAGES OF FEDERAL POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES WHO ARE WOMEN, CANADA, FEBRUARY 2008
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-31 GENDER IN POLITICS AND REPRESENTATION FOR WOMEN Representation by women not same as representation for women Most Canadian female legislators are white, middle-class, publicly heterosexual, and well- educated: Concern that these women do not and cannot speak for Aboriginal women, women of colour, elderly women, poor women, lesbians, and other marginalized groups*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-32 PUBLIC POLICY AND GENDER INEQUALITY Currently no government policy targets gender inequality in politics But are two areas of policy development that bear on gender inequality in the labour force: i.Employment equity, including affirmative action (create opportunities for historically disadvantaged groups in labour force) ii.Pay equity (as expressed in principal of equal pay for work of equal value To date, limited coverage and impact of policies*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-33 CORRECTING THE BALANCE: WOMEN IN POLITICS Could increase female representation in politics by: Having political parties display good intentions Reducing economic barriers to winning nominations and running for office Recognizing family needs and responsibilities, and the social roles of women…*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 7-34 CORRECTING THE BALANCE: WOMEN IN POLITICS (Could increase female representation in politics by…) Weakening or eliminating the gate-keeping tradition Engaging in affirmative action measures, and Centralizing party decision-making to give elites more control over women’s representation**
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