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Gender Inequality and the Family (3/28) How do inequalities from different sources combine with each other?

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Presentation on theme: "Gender Inequality and the Family (3/28) How do inequalities from different sources combine with each other?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender Inequality and the Family (3/28) How do inequalities from different sources combine with each other?

2 Handicapped parking Suppose that someone goes into a tirade: “The only reason that most folks can’t get a parking space is that there are set-aside handicapped spaces. A lot of the people with handicapped stickers do not need special spaces any more than you or I do. And the spaces are stigmatizing and create backlash.” What is true or un true about each of these? What would you answer? How is the situation the same or different from gender and/or racial affirmative action?

3 Does Handicapped parking prevent regular folks from parking? In one sense, that is the point. –i.e. non-handicapped persons have better access, and the access is being equalized. One can estimate effects of handicapped spaces on parking availability. It is tiny. Even if every non-handicapped person drives past handicapped spaces, they constitute a tiny fraction of all parking. The same is true of gender and race affirmative action positions.

4 Do handicapped persons need it? Can only be answered pragmatically and statistically. Different handicaps are different. Most handicapped persons would be effectively excluded from gov’t services, medical services, libraries, etc without them. It would be cumbersome to have multiple measures and kinds of spaces.

5 Sexism and Racism as self-fulfilling prophecies Labeling is a positive feedback loop It tends to accentuate whatever the things that originally produced the label by: –Altering opportunities –Altering self-conceptions –Altering contacts and networks –Eliciting divisive conflict There is no evidence that handicapped parking spaces produce stigma, although there is stigma Dummy!

6 Policy issues The sciences (specifically science faculty at universities) can choose to: a)Pass on the inequality (I.e. fail to grant tenure to the 1/3 of women. “Its not our fault”) b)Change the rules. (The requirement is supposed to pick talented scientists, not measure home stress; therefore make the requirements different for men and women.) c)Institute supports specifically for women (e.g. day care.)

7 Systems and unintended consequences In a “system” it is not possible to do only one thing. Everything that you do has multiple consequences. Many social policies may impact on the family, race relations or inequality in ways that are not intended. Being able to keep track of and estimate the relative size of multiple consequences is the point of “thinking in systems terms.” oops

8 Relation between gender inequality in science and gender inequality in the family Much of inequality built into the 5 unequal hurdles of Cole’s model is derivative of family roles. For example, the publications crunch (6 refereed publications for junior faculty to get tenure) comes at the time when faculty are most likely to have children under the age of 2. Cole assumes that in 1/3 of the cases, the mother has to do most of the childcare, and so has difficulty completing the 6 publications.

9 Forces driving gender and family role changes: The graph *p. 423 shows the single most powerful force transforming family and gender roles: Starting in WWII and continuing through the last generation, the labor force participation of married women has approached that of single women.

10 Changes in family structure *p.463 Shows that in one generation, the “father knows best,” Breadwinner-homemaker family went from absolute dominance to about 10%, and the dominant form today is the two-earner family.

11 Dynamics, Policy, Attitudes The dynamics driving these changes are complex and fairly inexorable. They are not a simple function of social policy or social attitudes, and probably neither of those could reverse them. But policy and attitudes may well make a difference in their effects. Privileging the HB family will almost certainly not bring it back, but it will make stresses greater on the bulk of families.

12 The entrance of men into the paid work force. The Breadwinner/homemaker family does not extend far back in history. It was generated in the 19 th c. Prior to the 19 th c most men worked at home on the family farm or blacksmith shop. There was gender role differentiation, but the specific kind associated with the Breadwinner/homemaker family was the temporary condition when men had entered the paid work force and women had not.

13 A. Hochschild The Second Shift (Viking 1989) Hochschild investigates how families today, with two earners, deal with housework. The “1 st shift” is 9:00AM to 5:00PM The “2 nd shift” is the housework, 5:00PM to 11:00, when both partners get home tired. The 2 nd shift is also the crucial family maintenance work (PTA, talking to Billy’s parents, scouts.)

14 Hochschild’s methodology Intensive surveys and minute to minute participant observation of 2-earner families. 1.Interview each spouse separately. 2.Interview them together. 3.Observe them for at least a day. 4.Joint interview to discuss results. The methodology drastically lowers the N to a few dozen cases.

15 Hochschild’s 4 Family types: Agreed division of labor Disagreement and conflict Egalitarian SS SS 50-50ModernDysfunctional Male-dominant SS “women’s Work”TraditionalAmbivalent My terms, not Hochschschild’s

16 Traditional Families Both husband and wife said that the second shift was women’s work When observed, the wife did all the cooking, cleaning and childcare. Traditional families are not complex. There were few of them, mainly immigrant. Even if all Breadwinner/homemaker families are traditional, they are still a small minority. If she has a full-time job at home, she is not going to be able to have much of a law career.

17 Modern families Both husband and wife said that the second shift should be shared When observed, it was. Modern families are also not complex. There were even fewer of them.

18 The effectiveness of modern and traditional families In the case of both modern and traditional families, there was relatively good agreement between what people said and what they did. Both kinds worked well; neither worked outstandingly better than the other. Many of the families were neither, –and lacked agreement between what people said and what they did –And did not work well.

19 Ambivalent Families Both husband and wife said that the second shift should be shared When observed, the wife did the overwhelming majority of the 2 nd shift. –E.g. she cleans the house; he cleans the garage. –(the house needs to be cleaned every day, the garage needs it once a month) –She does the cooking; he clears the table –Cooking takes an hour; clearing 2 minutes. Why aren’t they just traditional?

20 Dysfunctional Families A very common pattern was that the husband and wife said different things; arrangements were unclear. When observed, no-one did the second shift. –Some family maintenance is optional –Some essential maintenance looks optional –But the result is a dysfunctional pattern, in which essential tasks did not get done.

21 The Ineffectiveness of Dysfunctional Families In a situation of turbulence, change and conflict it is often true that if you volunteer, then the job is yours forever. There is no longer someone whose “full time” job is family maintenance. A lot of maintenance does not get done. This can be disastrous in the long run.

22 Hochschild shows that much family stress and breakdown stems from: Family roles and norms have not changed as much as the economy. There are very high pressures for labor force participation, in the U.S. but a relative absence of formal or informal supports, Producing ambivalence and double-binds

23 Which guys share the 2 nd shift Hochschild found some interesting results with regard to two prevalent theories: 1. The theory that people are conditioned into gender attitudes early, and so men from more traditional families would not share the 2 nd. 2. The theory that it is a matter of power and reward in the society: that it depends on whose income is essential to the family. The data is not decisive because of small N.

24 1. Childhood socialization People are conditioned into gender attitudes early, and so the theory men from more liberal families would share the 2 nd shift is plausible. But it is wrong. Hochschild found the opposite. In a situation of turbulence and conflict, change often comes about by a conscious decision.

25 Importance of the Income Power and rewards have pervasive effects And so the theory that it would depend on whose income is essential to the family is plausible. But it is wrong. Hochschild found the opposite. She suggested that men found “women’s work” not just “different” but “degrading” and they would do it only if they were confident of their own standing and esteem.


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