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Women and Work. Women’s Paid &Unpaid Work. Women are about 42% of the paid labor force in developed regions of the world Around the world, almost 70% of working-age women are employed Women do the majority of household tasks and child care worldwide. Women’s Unpaid Work.

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Women s paid unpaid work
Women’s Paid &Unpaid Work

  • Women are about 42% of the paid labor force in developed regions of the world

  • Around the world, almost 70% of working-age women are employed

  • Women do the majority of household tasks and child care worldwide

Child care responsibilities
Child care responsibilities

  • Mothers spend nearly twice as many hours providing child care at home as fathers do

  • Women are the primary custodians of child/family health

Women s paid work
Women’s paid work

  • In some cases, women are making inroads into occupations traditionally held by men

  • Women’s share of professional and managerial jobs has increased

  • At a much slower rate, women have moved into blue-collar occupations

Low wage workers
Low-wage workers

  • Retail sales, child care, fast food, restaurant work, CNA’s, education assistants, domestic labor

  • 60% of low-wage workers are women

  • 33% of women vs. 20% of men work in low-wage jobs

  • African American and Latino workers are over-represented in low-wage jobs

Equity and discrimination
Equity and Discrimination

  • Women’s work tends to be undervalued

  • Job applications or resumés are most likely to trigger prejudiced evaluations

  • Women’s successes may be attributed to luck rather than skill

  • Undervaluing of women’s work is one cause of the gender pay gap

Gender pay gap
Gender Pay Gap

  • Women earn 77% of what men earn

  • Effect persists when controlling for experience, education, industry, and hours worked

  • Larger gap for minority and disabled women

    • African American—61%

    • Latina—52%

Gender pay gap1
Gender Pay Gap

  • Women tend to work in lower-paying fields (nursing, teaching) than men do

  • Traditionally male-dominated fields (medicine, law, science) pay more

The glass ceiling
The Glass Ceiling

  • Women hold less than ¼ of senior management positions globally

  • Philippines and Russia at the top—over 40%

  • Lowest is Japan—7%

  • US is 22nd at 20%

Biological realities
Biological Realities

  • Men cannot bear children or lactate

  • Leads to biological argument against women earning as much as men

  • “Married with children” is a disadvantage for women but an advantage for men

Firm specific skills argument
Firm-specific skills argument

  • Men are given greater responsibility because they are seen as more committed to their jobs—less likely to leave for family obligations

  • Hence they develop skills which enhance their value to the firm where they work

  • This in turn leads to better pay and promotions and is what drives pay disparities

Motherhood as a source of discrimination against women
Motherhood as a Source of Discrimination against Women

  • Many employers are reluctant to pay pregnancy-related benefits

  • The US is one of a very few countries that makes no provision for paid maternity leave

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act mandates up to 12 weeks of leave (often unpaid) for certain workers

Donnicia venters case
Donnicia Venters case

  • Firing a woman because she wants to use a breast pump at work is not sex discrimination

  • Lactation “is not pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition”

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

  • Legalin most workplaces in the United States

  • Such discrimination is illegal in Canada

  • Lesbian and bisexual women earn 13-15% less than heterosexual women—more likely to be working in low-paying, female-dominated occupations

Women s working conditions
Women’s Working Conditions

  • Jobs dominated by women are often difficult and dangerous

  • For example, risk of serious injury is greater for a nursing aide than for a coal miner or steel mill worker

  • Factory work can involve long hours, uncomfortable conditions, and high pressure to produce quickly

Some remedies
Some Remedies

  • Reducing gender stereotypes

  • Stereotyping most likely when

    • The person is a “token” in the work environment

    • Evaluation criteria are not explicit

    • Organizational norms and policies tolerate or reinforce gender stereotypes

Some remedies cont
Some Remedies (cont.)

  • Pay equity legislation: equal pay for equivalent work

  • Comparable worth: equal pay for work of equal value

  • Affirmative action: strategies to increase the proportion of women and minorities hired, particularly in jobs where they have been traditionally excluded

Paycheck fairness act
Paycheck Fairness Act

  • Employers would be required to prove that a pay disparity is based on a “bona fide factor other than sex,” such as education, training, or experience

  • Passed the US House but was defeated in the US Senate in 2010


  • Do women need laws such as Affirmative Action and the Paycheck Fairness Act to achieve wage equity with men?

  • Does this sort of legislation diminish the achievements of women and minorities?


  • Does the focus on “leveling the playing field” foster competitive "masculine” values to the detriment of “feminine” values?

  • Should women try to “make it in a man’s world” or create alternative structures?


  • Does the reproductive role of women justify increased protection for women in the workplace?

  • Should women be afforded extra benefits (maternity leave) because of biological differences, or is this discriminatory?


  • Childcare gap between men and women narrows. (2011, June 16).CBS News. Retrieved March 10, 2012, from http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-20071588.html

  • Fitzpatrick, L. (2010, April 20). Equal pay and the gender gap: Men still outearn women - TIME. Time. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html

  • Gibbard Cook, S. (2004). Mothers in the faculty pipeline - Women in higher education. Women in Higher Education, 13(8). Retrieved from http://www.wihe.com/printArticle.jsp?id=18562

  • New U.S. Women in Business Statistics Released by Catalyst - Women on Business :: Women on Business. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2012, from http://www.womenonbusiness.com/new-us-women-in-business-statistics-released-by-catalyst/

  • Rampell, C. (2011, March 10). Women lead in unpaid work. New York Times. Retrieved from http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/women-lead-in-unpaid-work/

  • TradePost: Equal Pay for Equal Work. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2012, from http://tradepost.selectfamily.com/index.cfm/2011/4/14/Equal-Pay-for-Equal-Work

  • Unequal Harm: Racial Disparities in the Employment Consequences of Minimum Wage Increases | EPI Study. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2012, from http://epionline.org/study_detail.cfm?sid=137

  • Vermeulen, F. (2011, February 28). Wage differences between men and women - sexist or functional? Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/freekvermeulen/2011/02/28/wage-differences-between-men-and-women-sexist-or-functional/

  • Work Isn’t Working. (n.d.).Women Employed. Retrieved March 10, 2012, from http://www.womenemployed.org/index.php?id=19