Chapter 7 Women and Work

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Chapter 7 Women and Work

Working Women: Employed Women—work for pay

Nonemployed Women—unpaid for their work
Decision to work---National survey in 1990 found 50% women would want to work even if no financial need; 50% would not.
Factors considered in decision:

Age—child care needs or not, desire to be home with kids

Education & salary---strongest desire to work from most educated and highly paid

Important to personal identities, more psychologically rewarding experiences at work

Background Factors Related to Women’s Employment:

Education—4 yrs college—2X more likely employed

Children—married with children u6 no different

Ethnicity—not strongly related

Immigrant women—low status/salary jobs
Employment Rates
Reasons for women in workforce

Encouragement through womens movement

Higher level educational attainment prepares for careers providing challenge, stimulation, and sense of accomplishment.

Many women must work for financial reasons, especially for single households

Women and Welfare

AFDC & TANF—new govt program (Temporary assistance for needy families, under Clinton)

Changes: 5 yrs max., states make decision on recipients

Results: Poverty—most live below poverty level

Some drop out college to work

Education—w/out college degree—women 10X more likely live at poverty level

Discrimination in Hiring Patterns—overt is illegal

Rhei Steinpreis: evaluate qualifications job candidates, varied gender. Asked psych professors—45% yes/females; 75% yes/male.

No difference in male/female professor
Access Discrimination—discrimination used in hiring; rejecting well-qualified women, or offer less attractive positions
When Does Access Discrimination Operate?

1 People who have strong gender-role stereotypes are more likely to demonstrate access discrimination. Less stereotyped—less bias.

Strongly religious/negative attitude

2. Access discrimination is particularly likely to operate when women apply for a prestigious position.

Study: Econ depts. In US universities. Most prestigious, least likely hire female

Financial service organizations: 30,000 employees, men at senior-level positions. Women lower jobs-not likely promoted

3. Access discrimination often operates for both women and men when they apply for “gender-inappropriate” jobs.

Glick study: select male for job when 80-100% employees male, same with females.

Male-executive; female—day care worker

4.Access discrimination is particularly likely to operate when the applicant’s qualifications are ambiguous.

Insufficient or unclear info about person and qualifications
How Does Access Discrimination Operate?

1. Employers may have negative stereotypes about women’s abilities.

2.Employers may assume that the candidate must have certain stereotypically masculine characteristics to succeed on the job. Misperception of woman: stereotypically feminine—even if not
3. Employers may pay attention to inappropriate characteristics when female candidates are being interviewed.

Judge according to appearance, secretarial skills, and personality not what is needed for job.

Gender-role spillover—beliefs about gender roles and characteristics spread to work setting. Stereotypically female traits
Affirmative Action—make special efforts to consider qualified people who are members of underrepresented groups—hiring and promoting.
Statistics suggest this works—companies have greater workplace equality for women and people of color
Reverse Discrimination—less qualified woman hired over qualified man---3 cases of 3000 examples of reverse discrimination
Discrimination in the Workplace
Treatment Discrimination—faced after job obtained

Salary Discrimination: in 2000-US woman earned 76% median men salary. Canada: 70% average salary earned by women

Gender Gap in Salaries---not explained by education, as women earn less at every educational level.

Female HS grad made 600 more than male w/o HS

Male—jobs that pay more
Study by Dunn—wide sample jobs—found 35% due to men in job pays better; 15% other factors—time off for child care; 50% due to discrimination
Comparable Worth—equal pay for different jobs when different jobs are comparable

Occupational Segregation---“women’s jobs” –nurse, secretary

“men’s jobs” –auto mechanic, electrician

work done by women not as highly valued as that done by men

match education, previous experience, skills, dangerousness and supervisory experience---example woman with BA in day care center, make higher income than HS trained air conditioner tech

$4, 205.00 more for woman

Reactions to Lower Salaries—research suggests women choose lower salaries—satisfied with less men/women give different salary requests—men higher

Entitlement—men, based on membership in male social group

Denial of Personal Disadvantage—women more concerned

Study—62% women expressed anger (38% didn’t)

38 % men did not express anger/concern with disparity
Discrimination in Promotions

Glass Ceiling—invisible barrier keep from top levels in professional organizations. Less likely to be promoted to management. 500 US corporations—497 headed by men

Sticky Floor—dead-end, low level jobs with no chance promotion

Glass Escalator—men quickly moving up to management in female dominated areas.

Other Kinds of Treatment Discrimination

Negative Evaluation, Lack of mentoring

Exclusion from informal social interactions

Discrimination Against Lesbians in the Workplace

What To Do About Treatment Discrimination


Women should be aware of the conditions in which stereotypes are least likely to operate, for example, when the job applicant’s qualifications are clear-cut rather than ambiguous.

Find work you enjoy, and develop skills and experiences that are especially relevant to your occupation. Know your legal rights.

Join relevant organizations, use the Internet, and make connections with other supportive people.
Locate a woman who has achieved success in your profession; ask whether she can serve as a mentor.

1. Understand affirmative action policies and take them seriously; make sure that women are included in the pool of candidates for hiring and promotion. Develop guidelines within the organization.

2. Appoint a task force to examine gender issues within the organization, and make it clear that the group's recommendations will be valued and carried out.

3. Train managers so that they can evaluate candidates fairly, reducing gender stereotypes.

Why Are Women Scarce in Certain Occupations?


Division of household labor

In US-53% married couples both employed

Husband & wife employed—men do 30-40% of household tasks.

Employed women: women average 27 hrs; men average 16 hrs

household labor
Canada: men performed median of 7 hr housework; 13 hrs median women

study—employed couples w/out kids—women spend 5 hrs more/week than husband. With kids—combined housework and childcare gap—17 hrs difference

Factors influence labor divisions: Latina/o couples most difference; nontraditional and politically liberal share housework more

Men entitled to leave housework to wife

Women’s and men’s family responsibilities

Women perform most childcare activities; provide care to aging parents; household chores of cook, clean, shop.

Men: male chores—yard work, repairs, car maintenance
Greater time burden for women

Variations: traditional couples: husband employed, homemaker

Dual-career couples: career vs job—share house tasks more equally than non

Explanation of family labor division

Time constraints: full time homemakers—more time for household chores

However, when compare spouses with comparable work hours—mothers still spend more time than dads in child care

Relative power: lower degree of marital power for women

Work related resources affect power levels---more resources of a partner, greater the influence/power they have

Household tasks usually not prestigious and often disliked—more power and more resources—likely to not take part in those tasks.
Gender attitudes: unequal distribution reflects spouse’s personal beliefs about appropriate gender roles. Internalized traditional gender beliefs of women’s responsibilities for home/childcare

Man main financial provider.

Satisfaction with Marriage

Employment Status—does not influence satisfaction with marriage or stability of marriage

Married women happier if husband does relatively large %age of housework


Attitudes toward women’s family and employment roles

College women—want career and motherhood. Plan for discontinuous work—stay at home while children young

White women—until child is 4

Black women—child turns 21/2

72% mothers w/child u18 employed
Attitude : women should stay home with kids; women who work when kids young—seen as less communal

Taking Care of Children

Mothers perform 60%-90% of child-care tasks in two-parent families. Study in US—men about 50 mn/day in child care; women 1hr 45 mn/day

Benefits of fathers performing child care—cognitive; higher self esteem; fewer behavioral problems

Fathers benefit—healthier and more caring of others; better relationship w/child

Single mothers

Maternal Employment and Children

Effects of mother’s employment on children
Gender role belief that women belong at home—leads to argument that women should be at home taking care of kids, and not employed outside

Various and complex variables---quality of child-care program; economic background of family; and mother’s sensitivity to child’s needs.

Research: in general, cognitive development of child in day care setting similar to child at home/mom

Low income families—day care may provide cognitive advantages—especially high quality day care

Most infants have same kind of emotional closeness w/mom as do child in high quality day care setting. Poor quality day care, and mom’s not sensitive to child’s needs
Social behavior—mixed results: child in poor quality day care may show more aggression than at home child

Child in high quality care more cooperative and fewer behavior problems than at home child (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 2001, 2002)

Advantages: children where mom employed---mothers provide models of competent women who can achieve in work place.

May not be as gender stereotyped; college students more supportive of maternal employment; and adolescent girls tend to have higher ed and career goals

Balance family and work

Costs: role strain---stress stemming from one’s roles. Experienced more by women, especially mothers

Role overload—role demands that exceed available time and energy (work 9 hrs, then do laundry, cook , supervise homework)

Interrole conflict----incompatible demands, from two or more roles (child’s activities interfere with work schedule/demands)

The more role strain experienced, greater depression and stress, and lower job and life satisfaction levels

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