Analyses Gender Inequalities Through A Focus Sociology Essay

Published: 2021-08-13 22:30:05
essay essay

Category: Sociology

Type of paper: Essay

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Hey! We can write a custom essay for you.

All possible types of assignments. Written by academics

GET MY ESSAY
Women’s economic roles have been changing, with employment rates increasing for women across successive generations. But changes in family roles have been more modest. Men are more involved in childcare, and the gender gap in housework has also narrowed over the last forty to fifty years but domestic labour – housework and care for children and elders – is still predominantly the responsibility of women. On average in
Europe employed women do more than three times the amount of domestic labour during the week than employed men. Men work longer employment hours but women have the longer ‘total working week’ when paid and unpaid work is summed.
A combination of cultural norms, habits and institutional arrangements perpetuate this ‘stalled revolution’. And the pace of change varies between countries, driven by a combination of shifts in social attitudes concerning appropriate gender and parenting roles, and as a partial adjustment to the emergence of dual-earner arrangements in couples where this was not widespread previously. State policy is important for easing or obstructing social change through the dynamics of daily life in households. The Nordic countries were the first to develop sustained institutional effort through the design of family policy to increase men’s involvement in the home, focussing on their responsibilities as fathers. It is in policy settings such as these that ‘egalitarian’ rather than ‘male breadwinner’ family arrangements are more able to emerge.
Reconciliation policies are paying more attention to the question of men’s involvement in providing care. The main intervention targeting fathers is through the design of statutory parental leave schemes, as well as the shorter paternity leave arrangements which exist in some countries. An important recent development is the extension of parental leave quotas for each parent in a new EU Directive. However, unless member states supplement the Directive’s requirements with financial compensation for the leave period then fathers’ take-up of parental leave is likely to remain low. The schemes which stimulate the best take-up by fathers are the ones with a quota of leave reserved for the father underwritten by a high earnings replacement rate and flexibility in when and how the leave may be taken. When fathers take parental leave this seems to promote a more gender equitable sharing of domestic work after the leave period ends, but the length of leave rather than leave itself provides the conditions for nurturing these changes. The Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish leave systems perform particularly well on these conditions, also the Dutch system, and fathers’ take-up rate is improving in some other countries such as Finland, Germany and Portugal following policy reform.
Parental leave is only one part of the family policy framework for promoting a more gender egalitarian division of domestic labour. Another consideration is what other working-time adjustments are available to parents. Few fathers seek part-time work in the
Netherlands despite the ‘right to request’ and it may be that fathers are more interested in adjusting how they organise their working hours across the day and week rather than reducing them. This seems to be the lesson from the ‘right to request’ legislation in the UK.
Family policy will not transform domestic gender roles on its own: continued efforts to advance gender equality in the labour market, including reducing the gender pay gap, are also needed if men and women are to share their earning and caring responsibilities more equally.
Gender-based employment segregation is a resilient feature of European labour markets.
While women have made some advances into some jobs which were previously maledominated, there has been less movement of men into female-dominated job areas. Social care jobs – childcare, teaching young children, nursing, eldercare – are among European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Men and Gender Equality – tackling segregated family roles and social care jobs March 2010 6 those which few men enter. The barriers which deter men from entering female dominated jobs mirror those which deter women from pursuing gender atypical employment: exposure to gender stereotyping from an early age; cultural notions about what ‘proper’ men do to provide for their families and discriminatory assumptions about men’s nurturing and emotional skills. A major deterrent is the poor pay and quality of many female-dominated jobs. Men who enter female-dominated social care jobs typically carve out particular ‘more male’ niches of work which emphasise physical or technical effort. They may incur personal costs, including some marginalisation from the social aspects of female-dominated workplaces. But men also seem to gain from a ‘glass escalator’ effect on career ladders when they are in the minority, in contrast to the ‘glass ceiling’ which women often face. Policy initiatives to encourage men into non-traditional jobs are rarer than measures targeted at women. Several countries have initiatives to challenge gender stereotypes among boys and girls and some run media campaigns to attract men into traditionally female-dominated jobs. Norway has introduced quotas to recruit men into early childcare with some success.
A framework for action on men should be developed as part of an integrated gender equality strategy. In relation to employment and family roles this should include challenging gender stereotyping in early education and childcare, tackling gender segregation in education, training and employment in female-dominated jobs as well as male-dominated ones, and developing reconciliation measures which support a more gender equal sharing of domestic and caring responsibilities. It will also need to address ways of supporting men’s active involvement in promoting gender equality, and other important problems such as gender- based violence.
Men in female-dominated ‘social care’ occupations
Gender-based employment segregation is a prevalent and resilient feature of European labour markets (Bettio and Varashchagina 2009). Where change has occurred it has mainly been through women making inroads into some male-dominated parts of the economy: certain professions and the lower/intermediate managerial grades. In some cases the scale of women’s entry has been so large that the occupation shows signs of becoming female-dominated in the future, at least on a head count basis. For example women now account for the majority of entrants to medical degrees in some countries.
In contrast to women entering ‘male’ labour market territory, there has generally been little, if any, movement of men into female-dominated job areas. Where men have entered female-dominated job areas it has been because of dramatic economic ‘push’ factors when unemployment has risen dramatically in male-dominated job areas, or rapid change in organizational structures which have made the job more attractive relative to working conditions in other more traditionally ‘male’ areas of work (Rubery and Fagan 1993; 1995). For example at German unification there was some displacement of women from the financial sector. More generally across countries men have also made some inroads into clerical and administrative work associated with technological change and declining job opportunities in ‘heavy industry’ elsewhere.
Gender stereotyping and employment segregation – women’s work is not for ‘real’ men
Boys and girls are exposed to gender stereotyping from an early age which helps perpetuate gender segregated education and training paths. Even pre-school children have gender stereotyped notions of what jobs men and women do, identify certain jobs as virtually synonymous with one gender, and express a preference for entering jobs associated with their own gender (Gottfredson 1981, Spain and Bianchi 1996, Williamson 1993; 1995). Thus, stereotyping narrows the range of careers considered by children from an early age, with Gottfredson claiming that sex-type boundaries are set by the age of nine years (1981 cited in Dodson and Borders 2006:284). Furthermore, it appears that boys hold more pronounced gender stereotypes of occupations than do girls (Spain and
Bianchi 1996:93, Employment Research Institute 2004 cited by Rolfe 2006).
This early exposure to gender stereotyping continues into adulthood. Sexist stereotyping in employment, the media and public life is widespread, and men and women are particularly aware of the prevalence of this in relation to their workplaces (European Commission 2010). Employment, or more generally the ‘economic provider’ role, is fundamental to the construction of most versions of masculinity and ‘what it is to be a man’, much more so than the role of employment in women’s identities (Morgan 1992 cited in Simpson 2004). Jobs which contribute positively to the construction of the ‘masculine mystique’ generate respect, power and authority; whether through physical strength and skill in manual jobs or specialist skills and hierarchical authority in white collar jobs (Cockburn 1981). Furthermore, heterosexual masculine identity is constructed in opposition to notions of what constitutes homosexuality as well as femininity, which deters some men from considering certain ‘female’ occupations since this might call their sexuality into question (Segal 1990).
Hence cultural norms and stereotypes is one of the barriers which deter men from taking jobs which they consider to be atypical for their sex (Williams 1993, Nixon 2000). If they enter employment which is considered to be women’s work this transgression can incur personal psychological and social costs by undermining their sense of their masculinity as well as triggering conflicts with peers (Cockburn 1981, O’Neill 1982 cited in Dodson and
Borders 2006:285). Given the centrality of work to most variants of masculinity men may feel more normative pressure than women to follow traditional employment roles in order to avoid ending up with a ‘damaged masculinity’ while women’s perception of their femininity may be less fragile and less reliant upon the jobs they do (Bradley 1993: 14).
Job search often relies on social networks which are often gendered: women notify other women of vacancies and vice versa (Spain and Bianchi 1996). Williams’ (1995) case study of a male elementary teacher illustrates this point. His motivation to enter this profession came from a male friend at college who suggested he take a class from the education.
Low Pay and limited career ladders – women’s jobs are often not worth entering
Alongside the normative and cultural pressures which deter men from entering gender atypical jobs there are the economic disincentives. Many female-dominated occupations are low paid, have limited job security, benefits or training opportunities and offer restricted career ladder progression. Furthermore, in countries where part-time employment is widespread some female-dominated job areas offer few opportunities for full-time hours (Plantenga, Remery and Rubery 2007, Bettio and Verashchagina 2009). The skill requirements in many service and care jobs are often under-valued in part because they are linked to tasks and ‘tacit skills’ undertaken by women unpaid in the domestic sphere. For example, childcare is low paid in many countries and this creates recruitment and retention problems (Owen 2003). While this is a problem for recruiting women it becomes a particularly acute barrier deterring men from entering the profession (Rolfe 2006; Hatten et al 2002).
The EGGE gender segregation reports)) present evidence that men are more likely to enter female-dominated occupations if the pay and career prospects are improved
(Bettio and Verashchagina 2009, Rubery and Fagan 1993; 1995). This has informed some recent policy initiatives. For example in Austria and the UK there are moves to ‘professionalise’ the social care workforce by improving training, pay and career ladders in order to redress recruitment problems and to make these jobs more attractive to men as well as women. This includes the creation of a new ‘assistant nurse position’ in the long term care sector in Austria. In Iceland there has been a move to integrate pre-primary teaching into the school system in an attempt to move it away from ‘care work’, as a result it is expected to lower the underevaluation of the highly feminised occupation and attract men, (Jonsdottir 2005).
Opportunities for men in non-traditional jobs/roles
While there are cultural, institutional and economic barriers which deter men from entering many female-dominated jobs, such employment can also provide men with promotion advantages. Men may be under-represented in the occupation but they are frequently over-represented in the senior and managerial grades so that pronounced gender-based vertical segregation is observed even in female-dominated parts of the economy. This is found for example, in nursing (Evans 1997, MacDougall 1997, Cross and Bagilhole 2002) and for teachers in elementary and secondary-level schools (Bettio and Verashchagina 2009, Rubery and Fagan 1993). Thus the negative connotations associated with being the ‘token’ minority (Kanter 1997) seems to be reversed and become a privileged status for men when they are the under-represented sex in some occupations. Case studies reveal that men can gain ‘situational dominance’ (Evans 1997) and are often encouraged by their female colleagues to apply for promotion, are better positioned to build networks with other men in more powerful positions, and are treated preferentially by their superiors; which effectively reduces the promotion opportunities for women (Floge and Merrill 1989; Heikes 1992, Simpson 2004, Williams 1992). Williams’ (1992) study of four female-dominated professions found that men were expected to move up into authority positions, and refers to this process as the ‘glass escalator’ in contrast to the ‘glass ceiling’ which women often face. It is for this reason that moves to desegregate female-dominated job areas also brings the risk of negative effects on career progression for women employed in these areas.
Policy interventions to encourage men into female-dominated job areas
Measures to reduce gender-based segregation have tended to focus on encouraging women into non-traditional jobs, for example see the suite of initiatives introduced in
Austria (Box 7). Measures targeted at men are much rarer; some examples are provided below, most of which are taken from the recent EGGE gender segregation report (Bettio and Verashchagina 2009).
Positive action measures to recruit men to female-dominated occupations
Some Governments have invested in advertising in an attempt to attract men to traditionally female sectors (Bettio and Verashchagina 2009). For example the Federation of Nurses in Iceland ran a media campaign to attract men to the nursing profession, which highlighted the potential opportunity for work within war zones. Since 1998 the UK government has employed a National Childcare Strategy which co-ordinate interventions to advertise and promote the childcare and early year’s sector to male employees (Rolfe
2006).
There are some initiatives to improve training opportunities and career ladders. Norway and Denmark have introduced trained ‘pedagogues’ to work with a broad range of ages of children and across varied settings as a means of attracting more men into the variety of roles available working with children (Cameron et al 2003). In France one aspect of the
ALICE project funded under the EQUAL Community programme focussed on how to make care work more attractive for men as well as women, alongside other activities thatfocused on the place of the father in society and tackling stereotypes and other obstacles to men’s more active engagement in parenting (Advisory Committee 2006).
The use of quotas to bring men into female-dominated areas is rare, but one exception is
Norway where since 1998 there has been a system of quotas for men to enter pre-primary teacher colleges, along with campaigns aimed at getting men more involved in working with children in pre-school and school settings (Men in ECEC www.wibnett.co and Men in Schools www.menniskolen.no). The quota system combined with other measures to recruit and retain men has succeeded in raising men’s presence in these occupations: between
2003 and 2007 the number of men employed by preschools has risen by half, in contrast to a standstill or decline in the other Nordic countries. However, the goal of at least 20% of men among the ECEC workforce, which was established in 1996 has still not been reached. The preschools/day care centres that have reached this target have done so through a combination of affirmative action and targeted recruitment and marketing strategies. One study, has, however, suggested that the men training on these courses are less motivated than the women, and have selected this training route due to a lack of attractive alternatives (Soldberg 2004 cited in Bettio and Verashchagina 2009). According to the Norwegian government research is needed to develop better and more systematic knowledge on men’s aspirations and experiences as a basis for strengthening the recruitment of men into areas where they are under-represented. This includes new initiatives, without quotas, to develop the recruitment of men to the health care professions; partly motivated by the predicted worsening of labour shortages in this area
(Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality 2009).
Conclusions
Gender segregation remains pronounced in the home as well as in the workplace. Across successive generations women’s involvement in employment has increased but the increase in men’s participation in childcare and housework has been modest. Domestic labour – housework and care for children and elders – is still predominantly the responsibility of women. A combination of cultural norms, habits and institutional arrangements perpetuate this ‘stalled revolution’.
State policy is important for easing or obstructing social change through the dynamics of daily life in households. Reconciliation policies which are designed to increase men’s involvement in providing care and doing associated housework tasks provide the policy settings in which ‘egalitarian’ rather than ‘male breadwinner’ family arrangements are more able to emerge. The main developments to date focus on men as fathers through entitlements to parental leave, as well as the shorter paternity leave arrangements which exist in some countries. The parental leave schemes which stimulate the best take-up by fathers are the ones with a quota of leave reserved for the father underwritten by a high earnings replacement rate and flexibility in when and how the leave may be taken. When fathers take parental leave this seems to promote a more gender equitable sharing of domestic work after the leave period ends, but the length of leave rather than leave itself provides the conditions for nurturing these changes. The Icelandic, Norwegian and
Swedish leave systems perform particularly well on these conditions, also the Dutch system, and fathers’ take-up is improving in some other countries such as Finland, Germany and Portugal following policy reform.
An important recent development is the extension of parental leave quotas for each parent in the new EU Directive. However, unless member states supplement the Directive’s requirements with financial compensation for the leave period then fathers’ take-up of parental leave is likely to remain low. An important complement to parental leave is provision for paternity leave at the time of birth. In several countries fathers have limited or no statutory paternity leave rights; and an EU level initiative would provide a useful stimulus to reform of this element of reconciliation policy.
Parental leave is only one part of the family policy framework for promoting a more gender egalitarian division of domestic labour. Measures which facilitate other working time adjustments are also pertinent. The example of the Netherlands suggests that few fathers seek part-time work despite the ‘right to request’. Working-time policies that enable men to adjust how they organise their working hours across the day and week may be more useful. This seems to be the lesson from the ‘right to request’ legislation in the UK where requests by fathers are usually for more flexibility, different schedules or small reductions in hours rather than a switch to part-time working.
Family policy will not transform domestic gender roles on its own: continued efforts to advance gender equality in the labour market, including reducing the gender pay gap, are also needed if men and women are to share their earning and caring responsibilities more equally.
Gender-based employment segregation is a resilient feature of European labour markets.
While women have made some advances into some jobs which were previously male dominated, there has been less movement of men into female-dominated job areas.
Social care jobs – childcare, teaching young children, nursing, eldercare – are among those which few men enter. The barriers which deter men from entering female dominated jobs mirror those which deter women from pursuing gender a typical employment: exposure to gender stereotyping from an early age; cultural notions about what ‘proper’ men do to provide for their families and discriminatory assumptions about men’s nurturing and emotional skills. A major deterrent is the poor pay and quality of many female-dominated jobs.
Men who enter female-dominated social care jobs typically carve out particular ‘more male’ niches of work which emphasise physical or technical effort. They may incur personal costs, including some marginalisation from the social aspects of female dominated workplaces. But men also seem to gain from a ‘glass escalator’ effect on career ladders when they are in the minority, in contrast to the ‘glass ceiling’ which women often face. Policy initiatives to encourage men into non-traditional jobs are rarer than measures targeted at women. Several countries have initiatives to challenge gender stereotypes among boys and girls and some run media campaigns to attract men into traditionally female-dominated jobs.

Warning! This essay is not original. Get 100% unique essay within 45 seconds!

GET UNIQUE ESSAY

We can write your paper just for 11.99$

i want to copy...

This essay has been submitted by a student and contain not unique content

People also read