Presentation on theme: "Chapter 9: Gender Inequality"— Presentation transcript:
1Chapter 9: Gender Inequality How many of you think often about what it means to be a man or a woman? And about how gender is constructed in our daily lives?Most of us don’t think terribly often about these things; we take our own gender for granted and assume it is simply part of who we are.Today, we’ll take a sociological approach to thinking about gender, and I suspect some of what I have to say may seem strange. That’s okay, and in fact, that is part of the point of looking at things from a new angle.Chapter 9: Gender Inequality
2Gender InequalityYour chapter begins with the story of Betty Dukes’s lawsuit against the retail behemoth Wal-Mart. Dukes, a California woman, claimed that she spent years watching her male colleagues with less experience earn more money and be promoted over her. After eventually being demoted, Dukes took action and filed a lawsuit, charging the company with violating the Civil Rights Act of Eventually this case became a class-action suit on behalf of over 1 million women (the image here is from a protest in Utah). Ultimately the case was thrown out by the Supreme Court because the justices found no significant proof of structured gender discrimination (Supreme Court 2011).Does that mean the case is over and/or useless?No. It wasn’t that the justices saw no discrimination against Betty Dukes but that the discrimination was not, in their view, systematic. What the case did do was raise awareness regarding the ongoing problems associated with gender discrimination and inequality. Sociology examines the possibility of inequality and discrimination of many kinds, with gender being one of the foremost. What we know is that gender continues to structure our lives in many, many ways.
3Overarching questions Is gender biological, social, or both?Why is power invested in the male category?What does gender inequality look like and why?Why is gendered violence so commonplace?There are many big questions that need to be addressed as begin our conversation about gender and gender inequality. To begin, we need to think about gender as sociologists: is gender biologically determined, socially constructed, or some combination? We need to ask the “elephant in the room” question: why is it that in the vast majority of human societies, men have had more power than women? Once we consider that question, we can begin asking questions about what inequality looks like and what its effects are. This includes, for example, exploring the relative normality of violence against women.
4“Gender warrior”Before we jump into theories and definitions, let’s take a minute to consider just how strong our ideas about gender are. This is a picture of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, a “celebrity child,” who, for whatever reasons, is usually photographed in “boy clothes” and with a boyish hair cut. In March 2010, an article on Salon.com dubbed Shiloh a “preschool gender warrior.” What do you think about that? Why?Apparently masses of people have criticized the child’s parents for not playing by the rules. What are the rules? The rules are the typically unspoken but mostly accepted norms of gender-appropriate behavior. That so many people are so upset about the clothes someone else’s child wears tells us a bit about how much is at stake when we think about “doing gender.”4
5Sex and gender As sociologists we begin by separating sex and gender: Sex is a biological category.Gender is a social category.So let’s get down to business. The first thing to know when thinking about gender and gender inequality sociologically is that we separate sex and gender. We’ll get to the biologically basics in a minute, but first follow me. Sex is a biological category determined by chromosomes, hormones, genes, and so on. Gender is a set of roles and actions that is influenced by numerous social factors and by biology.5
6Biological differentiation ChromosomesXX and XYXXY or XYY can occur in rare casesHormonesEstrogen and testosteroneThe question: How important is biology in explaining behavioral differences?Biologically, we typically think of only two sexes, male and female. In terms of chromosomes, this means that each human being has either two X’s or an X and a Y; we are all either female or male. In rare cases, however, there are those who have either XXY or XYY, thus muddying the waters and causing a great deal of anguish for individuals and families who are forced to deal with gender uncertainty. We also tend to think of hormones as telling us a great deal about someone’s gender (and gendered behaviors), with estrogen being a female hormone and testosterone a male hormone. It turns out we all have some of both. And though men typically have more testosterone and women more estrogen, those amounts vary. Additionally, the amounts can be altered based on behaviors. What this tells us is that biology is not as clear as we’d like to imagine.The question that remains is how much biology explains in terms of explaining gender and gendered inequality. It explains some, but since—at least in the case of hormones—it can be subject to external influences, we know biology does not tell us everything we need to know.6
7Socialization and environment Gender roles are learned via socialization, both early on and throughout life.Gender socialization now begins prior to birth.Varying social environments produce different versions of “man” and “woman.”Gender is socially constructed.As sociologists, we think it critical to emphasize the important explanatory value of adding social factors to questions looking to explore gender.Sex is a genetic determination—chromosomes. Yes, there are rare cases of sexual ambiguity, but by and large chromosomes are a clear marker of biological sex. Gender, on the other hand, refers to role expectations and socialization.By role expectations, I mean the kind of behavior that is expected of someone identified to be, in this case, male or female. For example, commercials that show women doing all of the cooking and cleaning in the home and men at work, playing sports, and driving trucks clearly illustrate roles that are seen as normal for men and women.By socialization, I mean in particular the way children learn what kinds of behaviors, activities, and ways of presenting themselves are acceptable for their sex. That is, I mean the way they learn gender. For example, we buy dolls for girls and trucks for boys. This process actually begins before children are even born; just think about what goes into planning a baby’s nursery.If you think back to our chapter on socialization, we talked about Boo, the little boy who preferred to dress like a girl. This is an example of a child not following prescribed gender roles, and paying a price for this behavior. What Boo helps us see is that gender is not a biological fact but a cultural construction that is sanctioned when not properly observed.In other words, sex is biological, while gender is social and cultural.7
8Language and gender socialization The language we use is not gender neutral; it is part of everyday life.Much language glorifies the male category and demeans the female.One of the most persistent ways we are socialized is via language. Language is part of everyday experience is social life, and language is far from neutral. In fact, there are patterns of language that consistently reinforce gender inequality in ways that we rarely think about. Consider, for example, these harmless poems from childhood:“What are little boys made of?Snips and snails and puppy dog tails . . .”“What are little girls made of?Sugar and spice and everything nice . . .”This usage certainly makes clear distinctions between boys and girls, however harmless it seems. And many of the distinctions found in language have serious repercussions.
9Gendered languageJanet Shibley Hyde notes patterns in gendered language:Male as normative/female as exceptionParallel wordsInfantilization of womenAllowing language to devalue women and girls is part of socialization and contributes to inequality.Hyde, a psychologist, has noted the presence of multiple patterns of what she calls gendered language. Three examples of these patterns are male-as-normative, parallel words, and the infantilization of women. Let’s quickly think of examples of each:Male-as-normative/female-as-exception: chairman of the board, fireman, basketball team and women’s basketball team. What is the effect of this?Parallel words: bachelor-spinster, master-mistress, others? What are the connotations of these different words?Infantilization of women: calling adult women “girls,” “honey,” and “sweetie,” even in places of business. What is the effect of this?The effect is significant. The phenomenon of belittling male performance with feminine attributions is seen throughout the sporting world as well, with male players being called “girls” or “woman” for underperforming or being emotional. Terms like “throw like a girl” or “where’s your skirt?” have become part of our vernacular. Though we tend to wave off such name calling as unimportant, let’s think back to Hyde’s argument about the importance of language.The key here is that to allow the use of feminine terms to represent weakness or poor performance is to devalue females. This happens all the time and is internalized by both boys and girls.9
10Doing genderGender is more than simply a learned role, though that role is important.Gender is something to be done—accomplished—each day.Ethnomethodologists remind us that as important as learning and developing gender roles may be, being a man or a woman goes beyond that. Gender is something that we must all enact—and that we usually enact successfully—each and every day.The notion of “doing gender,” which comes from West and Zimmerman, reminds us that every interaction involves presenting ourselves as male or female in a host of ways. Your chapter offers the example of Norah Vincent, a journalist who spent 18 months disguised as a man. Vincent (who went by Ned during her time undercover) wanted to understand the full meaning of “doing masculinity,” and so spent time in traditionally male settings. She found that the way we do gender is a huge part of our lives that we are unlikely to notice unless they must be changed or abandoned. The other piece of this is that masculinity was also constructed in people’s responses to her, claiming that gender, then, is actually an interactive process.
11Gender in time and space Gender has not always looked the same:Consider changes in gender roles over the past 50–100 years here in the United States.Gender does not look the same across cultures:Mead’s research in New Guinea (1930s) showed significant variation between tribes and with outside cultures.Looking at changes in the meaning of gender across time and looking at variation in the meaning of gender across social space (in different societies) are two ways in which we can be very clear about the fact that gender is social.Consider changes over time. In the past 50–100 years, the roles women inhabit have shifted dramatically across social life. The majority of adult women now work outside the home. Women can vote, run for national office, divorce their spouse, and file for marital rape. Men can choose (though not many do) to stay home with the children. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.We find the same kind of variation when we look at different countries today. Surely, what it means to be a proper woman is not the same in the United States as it is in most Middle Eastern countries. It’s not even the same in all regions of the United States. Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist, showed that this kind of variation also existed among tribes in New Guinea in the 1930s.The point is that gender is not static; it is influenced by social factors. If it were purely biological, it would look the same across time and space.
12Gender in time and space Gender is not always confined to male and female.Example: the Zuni berdacheExample: the Afghan bacha poshOne of the seemingly solid truths about gender, from a Western perspective, is that there are only two: male and female. But as it turns out—and this is another example of the ways that gender can look different in different societies—this is not necessarily so. In some societies, the culture includes a third gendered space, known as a berdache. A berdache is a person of one gender who embodies the other but is not doing so for reasons of sexuality. Your textbook gives the example of the Zuni, a Native American tribe that incorporates a berdache group, whose constituents may be homosexual, heterosexual, or may be attached to other berdache. Again, this kind of variation is simply illustrative of the role of culture in determining what constitutes gender.The bacha posh, in Afghanistan, are girls who are dressed as boys by their parents, in order to confer on them the advantages of being a boy in that society. Bacha posh do have an easier time getting an education and working outside the home, but there is typically a return to the female role upon reaching puberty.12
13Gender systemsPatriarchy refers to the gender system in societies where men are dominant.Nearly all societies are patriarchal, though the degree varies greatly.Gender inequality refers to the difference in power, status, access, and choices between men and women.Now that I’ve established that gender can look different in different spaces, let’s think about what gender systems look like. Broadly speaking, such systems are matriarchal or patriarchal, meaning that either women or men, respectively, are dominant. In practice, though some cultures are partially matriarchal, the vast majority of human societies have been, and are, patriarchal. The degree to which this is true varies a great deal—again, think of the changes here in the United States over the past century—but patriarchy has been the dominant gender system in settled human history.A significant part of patriarchy is the ongoing presence of gender inequality such that men and male roles are privileged over women and female roles. Men, as a rule, have more power, more status, more access, and more choices than women. It is important to note that just because men and women are doing different things does not preclude equality. But if those different things are valued differently, such that those things typed male are routinely given greater value, then we are indeed looking at a system of gender inequality. This is where nearly all societies today stand, again, to varying degrees.13
14Figure 9.1 Women’s Participation in the Labor Force in Note the changes over time, and the connection with other trends such as increased educational attainment for women, increase in age at first marriage, and delayed child-bearing.Figure 9.1 Women’s Participation in the Labor Force inthe United States
15Inequality at workJobs gender-typed female are valued less and pay less.The gender gap in earnings has narrowed but remains in place.FT employees: 62% 82.1% (1970–2009)Hourly: 64% 79% (1970–2008)All employees: 46% 61% (1970–2008)Just because women have entered the workplace, however, does not mean that gender inequality has gone out the door. I’m going to talk about five big issues that continue to be a problem for women.First is the issue of gender-typing. Gender-typing occurs when certain kinds of jobs are considered male or female. Some are obvious: housekeepers are female and garbage collectors are men. Other jobs are less obvious, but typing remains: bankers are men, doctors are men, lawyers are men, teachers are women, social workers are women, nurses are women. Of course, there are many women who are doctors and men who are teachers, but the jobs are associated with one gender. Why is this a problem of equity? Because jobs typed as female are valued less and pay less than jobs typed as male, and this is true around the world and has been for a long time (see George Murdoch 1937).You can also see here the narrowing, but ongoing presence, of a gap in pay, typically called the gender gap. One of the primary causes of the pay gap has to do with sex-segregation in the workforce, wherein in men and women, for a variety of reasons, do not work in the same kinds of jobs. The jobs more likely to be “men’s work” typically earn more money. On the next slide you’ll see the pay gap represented graphically.
17Inequality at workPolicies like comparable worth aim to remedy the pay gap, but they have drawbacks.Informal structures such as the glass ceiling and glass escalator reproduce gender inequality by favoring male employees.Sexual harassment also continues to be a way for men to dominate women in the workplace.A third issue, which has been an attempt to remedy the pay gap by changing the devaluation of women’s work, has been the institutionalization of comparable-worth policies. These policies try to rank and then equalize the pay of male- and female-typed jobs, looking at objective measures of skill, responsibility, risk, and other such factors. Obviously ,this is incredibly hard to do in practice, and in addition, some economists worry over negative, unintended consequences.A fourth set of issues include the long-discussed glass ceiling and the newer concept of the glass escalator. The glass ceiling is an informal structure that seems to keep women from reaching the upper levels within organizations. The glass escalator is also an informal structure whereby men in female-typed fields seem to be propelled to the upper reaches in large numbers. Though the glass ceiling has been broken in some cases, when you look at the fairly small numbers of female chief executive officers (CEOs) of top companies, it is clearly still in place: in 2005 only two Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs.And finally, a fifth problem of gender inequality at work is that of sexual harassment. There are two kinds of harassment to consider: one occurs when a supervisor demands a quid pro quo, and the other involves the creation of a hostile work environment. This does happen to men as well as women, but the vast majority of the time it is women who are the victims; since it is typically men who are in the positions of power, this should be no real surprise.17
18Gender, family, and workThe perception remains that work comes second to child-rearing for women.Research shows that mothers are 44% less likely to be hired than non-mothers, regardless of equivalent qualifications and experience (Correll 2007).Mothers also earn less money than non-mothers.Another way in which gender plays out in the workplace has to do with attitudes that persist about women’s priorities, particularly as regards their commitment to work versus children. If employers continue to believe that women who are mothers are less committed to work (you’ll notice that fathers are not painted with the same brush despite evidence that men’s priorities have actually shifted in this direction), they are more likely to hire non-mothers, despite not being able to use this as a legitimate source of differentiation between job candidates.
19Gender and familyThe ongoing difficulty of balancing work and family rests largely on women.Managers see women as more tied to family than work.This affects women’s ability to get responsible positions.Women also continue to do significantly more housework than their spouses.Another way that work and gender interact is in the connection to family. Although men participate much more in the home than they did in earlier times, it is still women who do the majority of domestic work. Because of this, women not only feel more conflicted and more pulled in different directions, their employers assume this work-home conflict will be a problem and as a result pass over women when making promotions. This long-standing pattern of women doing most of what is often called the “second shift” (Hochschild) makes it hard for them to advance now that they have entered the workforce.
20Gender and educationDifferential treatment in schools perpetuates traditional gender socialization.More attention—positive and negative—is paid to boys.But something is changing: Today girls outperform boys on many measures.Obviously, the labor force is not the only major social institution where we see gender inequality. In education today we see a very mixed bag. We know from years of research that boys and girls are treated differently in the classroom, mostly in favor of boys. Even so, that attention also means more punitive as well as positive time. What we also know, though, is that in recent years, girls have outperformed and out-graduated boys. Colleges now typically have a majority of female students. So what is happening? There is a great deal of research under way to explore this change.
21Gender and politicsIn the United States, men outnumber women at all levels of political office, but especially at the state and national levels.Local offices are far more likely to be held by women.The U.S. in 2011:17 women senators (of 100); 77 women representatives (of 435)6 governors3 Supreme Court justicesAnother place where we see continued inequality is in the political realm. While there is no question that we have come a long way from having no women in public office at all, there are still fewer women than men at every level of the U.S. government. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that this is more true the higher up we go; perhaps politics can boast the ultimate glass ceiling. So far, here in the United States, we haven’t even had a female nominee for president.21
22Gender and politics: globally Globally, some thirty-eight countries have had female heads of state, but currently there are only 20.In 2009 women made up only 19.3% of national parliaments (legislatures).Many countries have had a woman as head of state, but women are still significantly underrepresented in national parliaments (legislatures).What are the ramifications of this disparity, both globally and in the United States? In concert with the lack of female leadership in corporations and other organizations, it means that patriarchy retains its hold at the highest levels of power.
23Gender Inequality Around the World Infographic exercises:Which three countries have the largest percentage of women holding seats in parliament? How are these three countries related to each other?Which of the three “gender empowerment measures” has a female participation rate of over 50 percent?In what year were women in the United Arab Emirates given the right to vote?What is the income ratio (i.e., the ratio of estimated female to male earned income) in the United States? Does this mean that the United States has high or low gender empowerment?In what two countries do women make up 43 percent of legislators, senior officials, and managers?Source: UNDP 2011a.
24Gender Inequality Around the World Ten Countries Ranked by the Gender Inequality Index% of female population 25+ with at least a secondary education% of labor force participation rate% of seats in parliamentYear women could voteRatio of estimated female to male earned incomeSOURCE: UNDP 2011a.24
25Violence against women Violence against women is institutionalized in varying ways around the world.Dowry disputes in IndiaSharia law in Islamic countriesFoot-binding in ChinaGenital mutilation in many countriesForced prostitution (sex trafficking)Culture of misogynyA less data-driven measure of gender inequality is the way in which violence against women continues the world over. Sadly, violence against women is so common that it is correct to say that it is, in fact, normal. You are likely all familiar—at least in theory—with such practices as food-binding, genital mutilation, and sex trafficking, and it is fairly easy to agree that these things are wrong. Although we here in the United States are vocally against physical violence against women, we still harbor a culture of misogyny that sometimes silently, sometimes more explicitly, reinforces male power and female victimhood. All it takes is time spent observing our popular culture to see that our culture both reflects and reproduces long-standing power structures.There are exceptions, but their very presence as something new or different seems to prove the rule.25
26RapeNearly one-quarter of women say they have been forced into a sexual encounter, but only 3 percent of men acknowledge coercive sex.College campuses are a prime location for sexual violence and attempted sexual violence.RapeCoercionStalkingThis culture of misogyny seems to also play out in the sexual behaviors of Americans, especially young people. Rape, sexual coercion, and stalking are not far-off possibilities but have become real events that college women are taught to prepare for and prevent against. Colleges are now one of the central sites of sexual violence. Of course, they are not the only places. Women face coercion and violence in many social locations. There are varying statistics, but some suggest that as many as one in five women will experience sexual violence in her lifetime.26
27Explaining gender inequality FunctionalismFeminist theoriesLiberal feminismRadical feminismBlack feminismAs with other types of inequality, there are theories that seek to explain gender inequality. Let me introduce you to functionalist theories of gender inequality and feminist theory.27
28Functionalist theorySees gender differences as good for societal harmonyProblems:Assumes gender roles are universal and staticPuts the broad harmony over problems caused by gender inequityAs always, functionalist theory attempts to see what function, or role, a social institution is fulfilling. In this case, the institution in question is gender inequality, and functionalist theory makes the case the gender differences are good for social harmony. You may have noticed that the language being used is one of difference rather than inequality. What functionalists claim is that essentially what we have is a gendered division of labor that works well and, as such, is a good thing.The problems are that this approach ignores inequality and its ramifications (for women and for society as a whole), and also that it assumes that gender roles and social organization are the same everywhere and are unchanging. It also assumes that what we have (or had) was truly harmonious or good. It does not take into consideration that gender is socially constructed—that society itself is socially constructed—and therefore misses the fact that a reduction of gender “differences” could be responded to actively by society.28
29Feminist theoriesAn activist approach that sees inequality as a systemic wrong that must be challengedToday feminist theory is used to explain inequality in many social institutions and concerns aside from those explicitly dealing with gender.Many versions of feminist theory; they do not necessarily agree with each otherFeminist theory jumped in to address some of the critiques of functionalist theory. One of the first things it sought to do was to bring a female voice into the scholarly discussion of gender inequality. One of the main problems of such theorizing to date was that it had been all from a male perspective. Another aspect of feminist theory is that it takes an activist approach. Feminist theorists see inequality as a wrong that can, and must, be righted.Liberal feminism sees inequality as stemming from discrimination in a variety of arenas. Liberal feminists seek to right the wrongs of inequality by working within established systems, for example, through laws and policies.Radical feminism sees that approach as weak-kneed and unlikely to promote real change. Radical feminists begin from a more conflict-oriented perspective, which is based on a radical rejection of patriarchy. Men are seen as exploiters, and the only path to change is the overthrow of all patriarchal systems.Black feminist theory adds the element of race to already serious concerns about gender. Black feminist theory explicitly recognizes the compounding social effects of being both nonwhite and female and insists that these things be addressed in concert.As you can see, though they all begin with the central problem of how to end inequality, various types of feminist theory emphasize different problems and solutions.29
30Chapter 9: Gender Inequality This wraps up our material on gender inequality. As you might guess, in many ways we have just scratched the surface. Your textbook chapter offers additional information and resources, and if there are particular areas that interest you, please let me know.
31Clicker Questions1. Your friend Meghan overhears you talking about the difference between sex and gender with your classmate Roger. Confused, Meghan chimes in: “Wait a minute! I thought sex and gender were the same thing!” You explain that a. sex refers to the physical differences in the body, whereas gender concerns the psychological, social, and cultural differences between males and females. b. sex is what couples do to conceive, whereas gender is an attribute of their baby. c. a culture’s understanding of gender determines what types of physical intimacy constitute sex. d. sex concerns the psychological, social, and cultural differences between males and females, whereas gender refers to the physical differences in the body.Answer: aFeedback: Are Gender Differences Due to Nature, Nurture, or Both? p Sex refers to physical differences of the body, whereas gender concerns the psychological, social, and cultural differences between males and females.31
32Clicker Questions2. What is the definition of the term “patriarchy”? a. the practice of passing down property through male lineage b. societies in which male religious leaders control the government c. societies in which women are legally recognized as property of their fathers or their husbands d. male dominance over women in a societyAnswer: dFeedback: How Do Gender Inequalities Affect Social Institutions? p Patriarchy is the dominance of men over women. All known societies are patriarchal, although there are variations in the degree and nature of the power men exercise, as compared with women. One of the prime objectives of women’s movements in modern societies is to combat existing patriarchal institutions.32
33Clicker Questions3. From 1970 to 2009, the gender gap in earnings (women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s) has a. remained the same. b. narrowed. c. widened. d. narrowed until 1990 and then remained the same.Answer: bFeedback: How Do Gender Inequalities Affect Social Institutions? p Another important economic trend since the 1970s has been the narrowing of the gender gap in earnings. Between 1970 and 2009, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings among full-time, year-round workers increased from 62 to 82.1 percent. Moreover, this ratio increased among all races and ethnic groups. Despite the lessening of the gender gap in pay, men still earn substantially more than women, however.
34Clicker Questions4. According to sociologists, why are women so often the target of sexual violence? a. Men are socialized to regard women as sexual objects and are socialized into a sense of sexual entitlement. b. Women are physically weaker than men and are unable to resist male advances. c. In an era of rapidly changing gender roles, males are often confused by the signals that women send them regarding their willingness to have sex. d. Men are unable to regulate their behavior when experiencing aroused sexual passion.Answer: aFeedback: Why Are Women the Target of Violence? p Some scholars claim that men are socialized to regard women as sex objects, to feel entitled to sexual access, and to instill fear in women by dominating them.
35Clicker Questions5. What does it mean for men and women to “do gender”? a. to present ourselves as “male” or “female” through our choice of behaviors and appearance. b. the institutionalized domination of men over women c. to designate occupations as male or female d. the process by which children learn about traditional conceptions of gender roles.Answer: aFeedback: Are Gender Differences Due to Nature, Nurture, or Both? p Some sociologists argue that we “do gender” in our daily interactions with others. We learn how to present ourselves as “male” or “female” through our choice of behaviors, fashion choices, hairstyle, and even tone of voice.
36Clicker Questions6. What is gender typing in occupations? a. It refers to the process of designating occupations as “male” or “female” jobs. b. It is the inequality between men and women in terms of wealth, income, and status. c. It is a promotion barrier that prevents a woman’s upward mobility within an organization. d. It refers to traditional conceptions of gender roles: men should be out at work providing for their families, and women should be at home looking after the children.Answer: aFeedback: How Do Gender Inequalities Affect Social Institutions? p Gender typing is the process of designation of occupations as male or female, with “women’s” occupations, such as secretarial and retail positions, having lower status and pay and “men’s” occupations, such as managerial and professional positions, having higher status and pay.