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Occupational Gender Segregation Continued Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2180 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The important outcome related with occupational gender segregation is the segregation of the payment methods and the continual sex discrepancy in earnings with women on the inferior edge. The proportion of the gender wage gap is to 5 to 40 percent attached to workplace segregation is seemingly advanced than the amount by career break 15 percent and equivalent worth wage upgrading 5 percent (Hakim 1992; Preston 1999).

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There are two types of segregation: horizontal segregation, which occurs when there is a concentration of women and men in a determined ¬elds and occupations, and produces disparity in terms of career, pension and vertical segregation, which take place when there is a focus of women and men in determined degrees and levels of responsibility or positions, and produces disparity on salaries.

Theories explaining the existence of occupational segregation by gender can be categorized into three broad groups: the neoclassical and human capital theories, institutional and labour market segmentation theories, and non-economic and feminist (or gender) theories.

The neoclassical human capital model

Neoclassical economics believes that workers and employers are normal and that labour markets function efficiently (Anker, 1997). The neoclassical economic view explains occupational segregation between individuals or groups by different human capital investment, or by different choices in the tradeoff between pecuniary and non pecuniary job rewards. According to the human capital theory, men are paid more than women because men usually have more human capital. The term human capital refers to qualities of individuals that employers consider useful, like level of education and years of experience. Females are considered to have a lesser experience than males due to careers break up in effect of motherhood.

Some economists who support this theory put forward that women’s are not dedicated towards their jobs and hence, they have to undergo through a series of difficulties. For example, they have less chance to have a permanent job, be promoted to superior and better paid occupation. In this model, wage gender inequality is maintained because men collect more human capital in the competitive free market. Opponent of this theory like Witz (1993) contends that even when female work constantly with no professional rupture, they still terminate in inferior and poor-grade employments.

Institutional and labour market segmentation theories

The initial point of Institutional and labour market segmentation theories is the notion that institutions, such as unions and large enterprises, join in determining who is employed, fired and promoted, and how much employees are paid. Institutional theories are also based on the belief that labour markets are divisional in certain ways. The famous institutional theory is the dual labour market approach.

Dual labour market theory was initially employed by Barron R.D. and Norris G.M. (1976). From their viewpoint, there are two labour markets. The primary labour market consists of high wage, job security and better chance for promotion. The secondary labour market includes lower paid occupation with little job security and poor working condition. According to this theory, women earn less than men because they are disproportionately employed in secondary labour market. Dual labour market is the outcome of the strategies used by company boss to get hold to the varieties of workforce they necessitate Barron and Norris (1976). Companies are ready to propose superior rewards to retain primary sector workers.

It is somewhat a short step to become accustomed to the model of dual labour markets to occupational segregation by gender, with one labour market segment consisting in “female” professions and the other in “male” occupations. This segmentation entails moderately low wage rates in “female” occupations because many women workers are “overcrowded” into a small number of “female” occupations. On the other side of the coin, “male” occupations, benefit from reduced competition within a broad set of occupations and, consequently, tend to enjoy relatively high wage rates. If females, but not males, are crowded into low earnings jobs only due to discrimination, then the gender composition of a job becomes an index of labour quality for males and, to a small degree, for females (Hansen and Wahlberg 2000).

Veronica Beechey in 1986, identified some limitations of this theory, firstly, certain women in blue-collar employment are given low salary even if their occupation is alike to primary area males employment. In addition, this model cannot clarify the reasons why women are less promoted than men, even when employment in same occupation.

Gender theories

The central image of the gender theories is that women’s disadvantaged status in the labour market is mainly due and is an evidence of patriarchy as well as females subordinate position in the society and in the family. In many societies, men are regarded as the sole breadwinner and women are accountable for household chores and child care. Anker (1997) explains, this division of responsibilities and male domination are vital for influencing females to accumulate less fewer human capital in contrast with men prior the labour workforce. That is, why girls receive less education than boys, and is less likely to pursue fields of study such as sciences, but is more talented for literature or languages study. The same influences are also instrumental in explaining why women acquire less labour market experience, on average, because many of them withdraw from the labour force earlier, and many others have discontinuous labour experiences.

This theory further show how female occupations mirror common stereotypical roles. For example, women’s caring nature, skill and experience in household work, greater manual dexterity, greater honesty and attractiveness can qualify her for occupations such as nurses, doctors, social worker, teacher, maid, housekeeper, cleaner, etc. while women’s lesser physical strength, lesser ability in math and science, and lesser willingness to face danger can disqualify her for occupations such as engineer and mathematician (Anker 1997; Anker and Hein 1985).

According to many sociologists, there exists difference between sex and gender. Sex is the biological classification and gender is the outcome of social construction of separate roles of males and females.

According to Lorber (2005), masculinity and femininity is not inborn that is children are taught these traits. As soon as a child is identified as being a male or female, everybody start treating him or her as such. Children learn to move in gendered ways through the support of his environment. As the child grows up, he develops his identity, know how to interact with others and learn the role to play in the society. There are many drivers involved in the socialization process which transmits the traditional gender role to the children and henceforth leading to occupational segregation later on.

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One set of gender socialization occur between parents and the offspring. Parents are considered to be the primary agency in the process of socialization. They are inclined to interact with boys and girls in discrete styles. For example, a one year old baby is considered to have no sex difference however; parents are likely to act with boys and girls in dissimilar ways. They react to boys, when they seek interest by being aggressive and girls when they use gestures. As such interaction have long term effect on girls and boys communication styles, leading boys to more assertive styles and girls with more emotive styles in adulthood.

Ann Oakley (1974), studies mention four central avenues in which socialization into femininity and masculinity roles occur. Firstly, apply diverse physical and verbal manipulations to the child. For example, dress up children according to their sex, girls in pink and boys in blue color clothes. Secondly, draw the child concentration towards gender-identified toys. This is known as canalization whereby, boys and girls are given certain toys, clothing and other objects often culturally identified more with one gender than the other. The games of the boys tend to advance physical interest whereas for the girls it leads to physical closeness and mother-child talk.

Thirdly, employ different verbal explanations to similar behavior. In professional careers, women might find that they might are identified with different standards for the same behavior, being called “assertive,” for example, for behavior at work that in men is admired for being “aggressive.” In childhood it is the same case, a boy is cheered for being “active,” where as a girl is reprimanded for being “too rough.” Or a girl is complimented for being “gentle,” but a boy is criticized for not being “competitive enough.”

Finally, encourage or discourages certain stereotypical gender-identified activities. For example, girls are asked to help mother with sewing, cooking, ironing, and the like. Boys are to help dad to do yard work, shovel snow, takeout the trash, and so on. The classification of girls with indoor domestic chores and boys with outdoor chores becomes training for stereotypical gender roles. According to Oakley (1974), the socialization route aid to the preservation of male domination and female subservience. The roles learn through the above process shape adult behaviour and hence, contribute to the reproduction of differences in behavior of males and females.

School is the agency where conscious socialization happen.The education system is the main part of gender socialisation process. Looking through books from the very beginning gender stereotypes is present and reinforced. The small kids see women being represented in pictures in their books as with babies in their hands or women in domestic chores or at the high end – women nurses, women teachers. At the same moment, men are usually soldiers, playing some prestigious physical games and leaders. These images often direct to further divisions between man and woman.

The hidden curriculum is known for reinforcing the traditional model of how girls and boys look and act through the use of course material. For example, teachers strengthen gender roles by encouraging boys and girls to develop different skills. According to Thorne (1993), children also split themselves along gender lines in the lunch room, declaring different space of the playground and often sanction individuals who go against gender roles.

The school location can be strong context for gender behaviors. For example, the cafeteria is a strong context where boys and girls separate tables if given choice. Likewise, on the playground, boy and girl groups take over spaces. The children of Different World project found that in societies where all the boys and girls go to school together, identical gender interaction was very high during free play, thereby follow-on in more gender segregation than was generally found in homes and neighborhoods (Whiting & Edwards, 1988).

Generally the mass media are one of the most influential instruments of gender socialization because television, magazines, radio, newspapers, video games, movies, and the Internet are present in almost everywhere around the globe. As a social institution, the mass media reinforce traditional gender roles. Magazines pointing towards females bring light to the importance of physical appearance as well as finding, pleasing, and keeping a man. While boys’ and men’s magazines focus on significance of physical appearance, financial success, competitive hobbies, and attracting women for sexual encounter.

These supposed ”masculine” and ”feminine” characteristics and behaviors are reinforced across the media system, from video games and movies that show athletic heroes rescuing thin and busty damsels in distress, to television programs that depict women as housewives, nurses, and secretaries and men as lawyers, doctors, and corporate tycoons.

Print media also play an important role in socialization. In children’s literature, for example, boys typically are the protagonists, who use strength and intelligence to overcome an obstacle. Girls are included in stories as being naturally passive followers of the male leader or helper’s eager to support the male protagonist in his plan. This state of affairs is undergoing change, however. An increasing number of television shows, movies and books have crafted new visions of masculinity and femininity. It remains to be seen if these images take hold and affect gender socialization processes.


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