Sociology Gender and Work
by
Amy Wharton
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0127

Introduction

Gender operates at all levels of social life and is deeply embedded in how work is organized, rewarded, and experienced. The sociological study of gender and work emerged during the 1960s and 1970s, as women’s labor force participation rates rose and as the Women’s Movement began calling attention to gender inequality at home and on the job. The field has evolved over time; conceptual frameworks have expanded and empirical foci have shifted in response to economic and societal changes. Early research focused primarily on workers and sought to determine whether and how men and women differ in their work attitudes and behavior. Over time, researchers have paid more attention to the social relations of work. Studies here focus on how the structure and culture of the workplace shape men’s and women’s social interactions and behavior. A more recent stream of literature in the gender and work area views gender as embedded within work structures and organizations. In this view, gender is not just an attribute that people bring with them to the job, but is built into the workplace itself. The development of new conceptual frameworks has been accompanied by new issues and topics. For example, the rise of the highly feminized service sector prompted an interest in the distinctive characteristics of these jobs. As dual-earner families became the norm, researchers increased attention to the ways that gender shapes work-family relations. Other topics, such as those related to gender discrimination and inequality, have been of interest to gender and work scholars since the field’s emergence in the 1960s.

General Overviews

Overviews of gender and work are especially valuable for introducing the topic and conveying the range of issues that have been investigated. Padavic and Reskin 2002 is a useful starting point as it provides a concise discussion of the field and includes fairly recent US data on men’s and women’s work situations. The edited collections Powell 1999 and Goodman 2010 also aim for breadth in their coverage of gender and work. Both collections contain chapters by well-known gender and work scholars. Powell 1999 includes in-depth literature reviews of key topics, while the chapters in Goodman 2010 are excerpts from classic books and articles. Powell and Graves 2003 focuses on women and men in management, which is a narrower subject but one of considerable interest to gender and work scholars, as well as researchers in management and business. Kabeer, et al. 2008 differs from the other selections in its focus and approach. The readings in this collection examine gender inequality in Norway and Sweden, but the authors are scholars from developing countries. Viewing gender inequality in the developed world from the vantage point of those representing less-developed regions provides new insights on this topic. It also reminds us that in a global society, there is no one single perspective that can best enable us to understand gender and work.

  • Goodman, Jacqueline, ed. 2010. Global perspectives on gender and work: Readings and interpretations. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    The readings in this edited collection on gender and work are organized into several topical areas, including historical perspectives, wage inequality, discrimination, household work, managerial and professional work, low-wage work, global perspectives, work and family, and policy.

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    • Kabeer, Naila, Agneta Stark, and Edda Magnus, eds. 2008. Global perspectives on gender equality: Reversing the gaze. Routledge/UNRISD research in gender and development 3. New York: Routledge.

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      This collection of readings examines gender inequality in Norway and Sweden. The contributors all have personal or professional ties to developing countries. Developing countries are often examined from the perspective of those situated in developed societies. This book “reverse[s] the gaze,” thus offering a new perspective on gender equality in a developed region of the world (p. 1).

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      • Padavic, Irene, and Barbara F. Reskin. 2002. Women and men at work. 2d ed. Sociology for a New Century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

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        Padavic and Reskin provide a concisely written overview of major topics relating to women and men in the US workplace. The book will be especially helpful for those seeking an introduction to this area of research and interested in recent data on labor market trends and patterns related to gender and work.

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        • Powell, Gary N., ed. 1999. Handbook of gender and work. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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          This edited volume provides a comprehensive look at gender in organizations. Divided into five major parts; each of the twenty-four chapters provides an overview of research on a particular topic, such as the wage gap, gender and leadership, work and family, etc. Also discussed are methodological issues in conducting research on gender and work.

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          • Powell, Gary N., and Laura M. Graves. 2003. Women and men in management. 3d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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            This volume summarizes the large literature on women and men in management. The book includes discussions of gender socialization and the employment patterns of women and men. It then turns to issues affecting women and men in management, such as working in teams, leadership, and career development.

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            Data Sources

            There are many online resources available to those interested in gender and work. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the International Labour Organization provide data, reports, and other information related to women’s and men’s employment situations.

            • International Labour Organization.

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              The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency charged with developing and overseeing international labor standards. Its website provides access to reports, publications, and databases on a range of topics related to employment and workers. Its Bureau for Gender Equality is specifically focused on gender and work.

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              • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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                The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was formed in 1960 and currently has thirty-four member countries around the world. Among its many functions is the collection and dissemination of information on economic, cultural, and policy matters. On its website can be found many reports on women and gender-related issues, as well as data on gender and work collected from its member countries.

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                • US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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                  The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the agency of the US government charged with collecting and analyzing economic data. Its website contains detailed information on the employment situations and earnings of women and men. In addition to statistical data, the BLS also issues reports and publications on economic topics, many of which address gender issues.

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                  Gender and Work: Past, Present, and Future

                  The period immediately following World War II began an era of change in women’s and men’s lives—and in gender relations more generally—that continues to this day. Women’s rising levels of education, changes in family structure, and married women’s move into the paid labor force were among the most important of these changes, which occurred throughout the industrialized world. Because these changes were so fundamental in their impact and scope, many who study the latter half of the 20th century refer to this period as a “gender revolution.” It is not surprising that this era has received much scholarly attention. Thistle 2006 provides a detailed analysis of the post-WWII era, paying particular attention to its differential effects on African-American and white women. Other readings in this section focus less on the past than on its implications for the present and the future. Moen and Roehling 2005 and England 2010 both call attention to the unevenness of social change. The authors’ selections highlight some of the consequences of changes that have occurred faster in some areas and for some groups than others. Cotter, et al. 2011 underscores this idea. It shows that gender role attitudes in the United States became more egalitarian between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s, but change has since stopped. This paper lends support to England’s suggestion that progress toward a more gender equal society has subsided. The other readings in this section explore the future of gender and work through a consideration of the new economy. Sweet and Meiksins 2008 provides a big picture look at future trends, while the remaining readings examine what might occur with respect to men’s and women’s work and gender inequality more generally. Finally, Walby 2011 and Williams, et al. 2012 examine the prospects for gender equality in the workplace in light of new and emerging forms of work organization. Though their specific foci and recommendations differ, both argue that traditional models of work and career no longer apply. Creating gender equality in the new world of work will require different policies and strategies. Together, the readings in this section show how broader societal changes in education, the economy, and the family have shaped and are shaped by gender.

                  • Cotter, David, Joan Hermsen, and Reeve Vanneman. 2011. The end of the gender revolution? Gender role attitudes from 1977 to 2008. American Journal of Sociology 117.1 (July): 259–289.

                    DOI: 10.1086/658853Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Analyzing thirty years of survey data on gender role attitudes in the United States, this study finds that gender role attitudes have been relatively stable since the mid-1990s. This lack of movement reflects the emergence of a cultural view that sees support for traditional gender roles as compatible with a belief that women have equal status with men.

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                    • England, Paula. 2010. The gender revolution: Uneven and stalled. Gender & Society 24.2 (April): 149–166.

                      DOI: 10.1177/0891243210361475Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      The gender system experienced fundamental changes during the latter half of the 20th century, and these changes have led to greater gender equality in many areas of life. Change in the gender system has been uneven, however. Gender inequalities persist in some domains, and movement toward gender equality has stalled in others.

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                      • Moen, Phyllis, and Patricia Roehling. 2005. The career mystique: Cracks in the American dream. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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                        Moen and Roehling argue that adulthood in the 20th century is fundamentally different from its earlier expressions. Instead of “lockstep” movement through fixed life stages, women’s and men’s work, family, and personal lives have become more open-ended and flexible. People’s experiences are out of sync with broader societal norms, social policies, and cultural beliefs, however, and changes must be sought.

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                        • Sweet, Stephen A., and Peter Meiksins. 2008. Changing contours of work: Jobs and opportunities in the new economy. Sociology for a New Century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

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                          This book provides a forward-looking view of the workplace. The authors describe a “new economy” characterized by advances in information technology, globalization, and other changes in the structure and organization of work. They examine the implications of this workplace for job quality and opportunities and discuss its impacts on women, racial and ethnic minorities, and workers in different social classes.

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                          • Thistle, Susan. 2006. From marriage to the market: The transformation of women’s lives and work. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                            The latter half of the 20th century was a period of fundamental change in women’s lives. This book offers a detailed examination of those changes through a comparison of white and African-American women’s experiences as mothers, wives, and workers in the paid labor force.

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                            • Walby, Sylvia. 2011. Is the knowledge society gendered? Gender, Work, and Organization 18.1: 1–29.

                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2010.00532.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              This paper explores the emerging “knowledge society” and considers its implications for understanding gender and work. A knowledge society is characterized by new types of work and new organizational forms. Walby suggests that each may have different implications for gender equality.

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                              • Williams, Christine L., Chandra Muller, and Kristine Kilanski. 2012. Gendered organizations in the new economy. Gender & Society 26.4 (August): 549–573.

                                DOI: 10.1177/0891243212445466Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                This article provides another take on the new economy. Williams, Muller, and Kilanski argue that job insecurity, teamwork, career maps, and networking are the primary features of work in the new economy. Drawing on a case study of geoscientists, they explore the possible implications of these characteristics for gender inequality.

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                                Theoretical Perspectives

                                Gender and work scholarship has been informed by several significant theoretical and conceptual approaches. Four are particularly noteworthy. The first, which was the subject of Kanter 1977, is the view that gender-related behavior and perceptions on the job can be explained by the organization, structure, and social relations of the workplace. This structural perspective thus suggests that to understand women’s and men’s experiences and behavior at work, one must look inside the workplace, not at characteristics that women and men bring with them to the job. Kanter’s argument sparked a fundamental shift in the way that gender and work was understood; Ely and Padavic 2007 builds on Kanter’s argument in its critique of organizational research on gender. Ridgeway’s status characteristics approach, carefully summarized in Ridgeway 2011, represents a second important perspective. Status characteristics theory highlights the role of gender in social interaction and the ways that gender stereotypes perpetuate gender inequality in the workplace. Martin 2003 provides a slightly different interaction-based approach to understanding gender and work. Acker’s gendered organizations approach is the third perspective that influenced gender and work scholarship. Acker 1990 and Acker 2006 argue that the workplace is not gender-neutral, but rather that gender is built into its organization and structure. Britton 2000 takes a closer look at Acker’s arguments. Reskin 2003 extends beyond gender to encompass all forms of ascriptive inequality. It suggests that researchers should focus their efforts on identifying the mechanisms through which ascriptive inequalities are created and sustained, rather than on the motives of actors. Many researchers have taken up the call of Reskin 2003.

                                • Acker, Joan R. 1990. Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations. Gender & Society 4.2 (June): 139–158.

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                                  This classic article suggests that organizations are not gender-neutral; instead, beliefs about gender differences and inequalities have shaped the structure of organizations and the processes by which they operate. As a result, organizations are said to be “gendered,” and gender inequality is assumed to be deeply embedded in their everyday functioning.

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                                  • Acker, Joan R. 2006. Inequality regimes: Gender, class, and race in organizations. Gender & Society 20.4 (August): 441–464.

                                    DOI: 10.1177/0891243206289499Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Intersectionality refers to the interlocking and mutually reinforcing relations among social class, race, and gender inequality. Acker develops the concept of “inequality regimes” to describe how intersectionality operates in work organizations. Inequality regimes vary in their visibility, legitimacy, intensity, and resistance to change.

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                                    • Britton, Dana M. 2000. The epistemology of the gendered organization. Gender & Society 14.3 (June): 418–434.

                                      DOI: 10.1177/089124300014003004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      Acker’s concept of “gendered organizations” is a fundamental idea in gender and work scholarship. Britton’s paper provides an in-depth, critical analysis of this concept. She explores alternative perspectives on the meaning of this term and suggests ways that it could be more fruitfully put to use by gender and work scholars.

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                                      • Ely, Robin, and Irene Padavic. 2007. A feminist analysis of organizational research on sex differences. Academy of Management Review 32.4: 1121–1143.

                                        DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2007.26585842Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Organizational research conducted from a management perspective has tended to embrace a sex differences approach. Ely and Padavic critique this approach and its assumptions. They argue that a focus on characteristics of organizations rather than similarities or differences between women and men would yield a greater understanding of gender in organizations.

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                                        • Kanter, Rosabeth M. 1977. Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.

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                                          This is a foundational book in the area of gender and work that continues to inform current research. Instead of focusing on women’s and men’s individual characteristics, Kanter argues that gender-related behavior at work can be explained by features of the positions that women and men hold or the work groups to which they belong.

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                                          • Martin, Patricia Yancey. 2003. “Said and done” versus “saying and doing”: Gendering practices, practicing gender at work. Gender & Society 17.3 (June): 342–366.

                                            DOI: 10.1177/0891243203017003002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            Drawing on the concepts of “gendered practices” and “practicing gender,” this article shows how gender emerges from and becomes embedded in everyday interactions in the workplace. Martin uses examples from organizational case studies to illustrate these concepts. This article calls attention to the role that subtle and often fleeting interactions play in maintaining gender inequality at work.

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                                            • Reskin, Barbara F. 2003. Motives and mechanisms in modeling inequality. American Sociological Review 68:1–21.

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                                              Reskin argues that sociologists have documented race and gender inequalities, but have not provided compelling explanations of these forms of disadvantage. She suggests that researchers should devote less attention to the motives of those who allocate resources and more attention to identifying the mechanisms that link ascribed characteristics to particular outcomes.

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                                              • Ridgeway, Cecilia L. 2011. Framed by gender: How gender inequality persists in the modern world. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755776.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                Ridgeway argues that gender is a fundamental social category that serves as an important guide for social interaction. Gender status beliefs, which assign higher status and greater competence to men than women, permeate social relations and shape people’s perceptions and behavior. Ridgeway examines the implications of her perspective for understanding gender inequality in the workplace and other spheres.

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                                                Intersectionality: Gender, Race, and Class Inequalities

                                                Intersectionality refers to the complex interconnections between gender and other social categories. Research on intersectionality is most often concerned with the relations among gender, race and ethnicity, and social class. All three categories represent dimensions of inequality that have persisted over time and are entrenched features of institutions and culture. Browne and Misra 2003 provides an overview of intersectionality as it applies to studies of the labor market. Gender and work scholars have used an intersectional approach in both quantitative and qualitative research. McCall 2001, Leicht 2008, and Kaufman 2010 offer important examples of quantitative intersectional research on the wage gap and other forms of inequality in the workplace. As these studies show, quantitative intersectional approaches are helpful for disentangling the effects of gender, race, and class on wages and other work outcomes, as well as identifying interactions among these categories. Browne 1999 is a more close-up look at the work situations and experiences of women of color. A final example of intersectional research is Kang 2010, a qualitative study of nail salons. Kang conducted interviews and did ethnographic fieldwork in six sites in New York City. The author explores how women of different social classes and ethnicities interact in work settings that involve intimate and emotionally intense contact between workers and their customers.

                                                • Browne, Irene, ed. 1999. Latinas and African-American women at work: Race, gender, and economic inequality. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                  This edited collection examines the earnings, labor force participation, and work experiences of African-American women and Latinas. The chapters address issues facing women in different kinds of occupations and highlight variations between and within each racial-ethnic group. The book also shows the ways that gender and race interact to shape women’s positions in the labor market.

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                                                  • Browne, Irene, and Joya Misra. 2003. The intersection of gender and race in the labor market. Annual Review of Sociology 29:487–513.

                                                    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100016Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    This paper reviews research on the intersection of gender and race in the labor market. The authors discuss alternative theories of intersectionality and explore their implications for understanding gender and racial inequality in the workplace. Browne and Misra also discuss the empirical and theoretical challenges posed by an intersectional perspective and identify potential ways to overcome those challenges.

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                                                    • Kang, Miliann. 2010. The managed hand: Race, gender, and the body in beauty service work. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                      Kang’s book is an ethnographic study of urban nail salons, their female employees, and female customers. Like other forms of body labor, manicuring necessitates close personal contact between workers and their customers. Kang explores these relations as they occur between women of different class backgrounds and ethnicities.

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                                                      • Kaufman, Robert L. 2010. Race, gender, and the labor market: Inequalities at work. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

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                                                        This book offers a comprehensive analysis of gender and racial inequality in the labor market. Kaufman examines how workers are sorted into jobs and the ways that job assignment and segregation affect the earnings of race-gender groups. He also develops a model of race-gender queuing to account for each group’s distinct labor market outcomes.

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                                                        • Leicht, Kevin. 2008. Broken down by race and gender? Sociological explanations of new sources of earnings inequality. Annual Review of Sociology 34:237–255.

                                                          DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.34.040507.134627Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          Research on wage inequality often focuses on differences between women and men, or between racial-ethnic groups. While important, these studies overlook wage inequality within groups, such among women or among men. Leicht argues that features of the contemporary labor market have made within-group wage inequality an increasingly important issue, with research and policy implications.

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                                                          • McCall, Leslie. 2001. Complex inequality: Gender, class, and race in the new economy. New York: Routledge.

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                                                            This book takes a multifaceted approach to the study of wage inequality. McCall examines the levels and sources of wage inequality by gender, race and ethnicity, and social class (defined as college-educated vs. non–college educated). She is particularly interested in comparing these groups’ industrial-era inequalities to their postindustrial forms. As the sources of inequality change, so do its policy implications.

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                                                            Sex Segregation of Occupations and Jobs

                                                            Sex segregation refers to the concentration of women and men into different occupations, firms, and jobs. It is a pervasive feature of the workplace in most societies. Sex segregation is produced through “supply-” and “demand-side” forces. On the supply side, researchers focus on factors that lead women and men to prefer different kinds of jobs or to seek different types of training and education. Demand-side factors, which refer to forces operating within the workplace, are particularly important in understanding segregation, however. For example, hiring agents play a role in assigning workers to jobs. Supervisors also function as gatekeepers, helping to determine training and promotion opportunities that may restrict or facilitate people’s movement into gender-atypical jobs. Segregation is important because it has consequences for gender inequality. A large component of the gender wage gap stems from the fact that women and men tend to be employed in different occupations, and women’s jobs pay less. Tomaskovic-Devey 1993; Tomaskovic-Devey, et al. 2006; and Huffman, et al. 2010 focus on job-level sex and race segregation in the United States. Tomaskovic-Devey 1993 provides a systematic look at the factors that perpetuate segregation and explores its consequences for workers. Correll 2004 uses a series of laboratory experiments to explore how cultural beliefs about gender shape men’s and women’s views of their abilities and career aspirations. She outlines a process that helps to explain how women’s and men’s choices contribute to gender segregation. Tomaskovic-Devey, et al. 2006 looks at trends in race and sex segregation over time, examining the degree to which changes in segregation levels may be a response to societal events, such as the Civil Rights movement. Huffman, et al. 2010 also examines trends in segregation over time, but focuses on organizational rather than societal factors that may explain change. Links between segregation and wage inequality are the topic of Gauchat, et al. 2012. Reskin and Roos 1990 and Ecklund, et al. 2012 shift the focus from mapping large-scale trends in sex segregation to a more in-depth look at particular predominantly male or female occupations. The focus of Reskin and Roos 1990 is on occupations that have feminized over time, while Ecklund, et al. 2012 examines how male and female scientists themselves account for the sex composition of their fields. Finally, Charles and Grusky 2004 looks at occupational sex segregation across industrial societies. The authors raise provocative questions about the coexistence of sex segregation and gender equality in other areas.

                                                            • Charles, Maria, and David Grusky. 2004. Occupational ghettos: The worldwide segregation of women and men. Studies in Social Inequality. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                              Occupational segregation by sex is a worldwide phenomenon. Despite the spread of egalitarian values, sex segregation has proved stubbornly resistant to change. This book distinguishes between horizontal and vertical sex segregation and shows how the persistence of both types is related to people’s beliefs in gender essentialism—the ideas that women and men are fundamentally different.

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                                                              • Correll, Shelley J. 2004. Constraints into preferences: Gender, status, and emerging career aspirations. American Sociological Review 69.1 (February): 93–113.

                                                                DOI: 10.1177/000312240406900106Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Using data collected from laboratory experiments, this paper explores supply-side factors that may contribute to gender segregation. Drawing on status characteristics theory, Correll shows how ingrained cultural stereotypes about gender lead women and men to make different assessments about their abilities and competence. These assessments shape career aspirations. Women and men seek out jobs that align with their gendered beliefs.

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                                                                • Ecklund, Elaine Howard, Anne E. Lincoln, and Cassandra Tansey. 2012. Gender segregation in elite academic science. Gender & Society 26.5 (October): 693–717.

                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0891243212451904Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  This article uses survey and interview data to examine perceived supply- vs. demand-side explanations for sex segregation in two academic fields—biology and physics. The authors’ focus is on how male and female scientists in each field explain the fields’ differing sex compositions. The authors find that gender and career stage help explain variations in these perceptions.

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                                                                  • Gauchat, Gordon, Maura Kelly, and Michael Wallace. 2012. Occupational gender segregation, globalization, and gender earnings inequality in US metropolitan areas. Gender & Society 26.5 (October): 718–747.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0891243212453647Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Using US metropolitan areas as the units of analysis, this article examines the relations between occupational sex segregation and the gender earnings gap. Although occupational sex segregation is a major determinant of this gap, these effects depend in part on globalization and labor market restructuring. The authors suggest that globalization has multiple dimensions that may have different effects on gender inequality.

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                                                                    • Huffman, Matt, Philip Cohen, and Jessica Pearlman. 2010. Engendering change: Organizational dynamics and workplace gender desegregation, 1975–2005. Administrative Science Quarterly 55.2 (June): 255–277.

                                                                      DOI: 10.2189/asqu.2010.55.2.255Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      This quantitative analysis examines the factors contributing to gender desegregation in US workplaces over a twenty-year period. The authors find that desegregation is shaped by organizational change, including changes in establishment size and the pace of growth or decline. Larger, growing workplaces experienced more desegregation; desegregation was also associated with the presence of more female managers.

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                                                                      • Reskin, Barabara F., and Patricia A. Roos. 1990. Job queues, gender queues: Explaining women’s inroads into male occupations. Women in the Political Economy. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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                                                                        This book introduces the concept of gender queues as a way to understand changes in the sex composition of jobs, particularly the process of occupational feminization. Reskin and Roos show how the queuing perspective can account for trends in occupational sex segregation over time. The book also contains cases of particular occupations that have changed their sex composition.

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                                                                        • Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald. 1993. Gender and racial inequality at work: The sources and consequences of job segregation. Cornell Studies in Industrial and Labor Relations 27. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.

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                                                                          Occupational segregation and job segregation are distinct. Job segregation by race and gender is the focus of this book. Tomaskovic-Devey examines levels of job segregation by race and gender within workplaces and considers alternative explanations for these patterns. He also examines the economic consequences of job segregation for workers.

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                                                                          • Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald, Catherine Zimmer, Kevin Stainback, Corre Robinson, Tiffany Taylor, and Tricia McTague. 2006. Documenting desegregation: Segregation in American workplaces by race, ethnicity, and sex, 1966–2003. American Sociological Review 71.4: 565–588.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/000312240607100403Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            This paper examines trends in workplace segregation by sex and race-ethnicity between 1966 and 2003. Sex segregation in the workplace has declined steadily during this time, across all regions and labor market sectors. Segregation between blacks and whites and between whites and Hispanics has also declined, but changes have been uneven and inconsistent.

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                                                                            Work Organization, Hiring, and Discrimination

                                                                            Gender discrimination in the labor force receives considerable attention in the popular media and is of great interest to scholars. Discrimination is complicated, however. Dobbin 2009 traces the origins of this concept as it has come to be understood in the American workplace. Petersen and Saporta 2004 is also useful for providing context, as the authors identify and discuss three broad types of gender discrimination in organizations. Petersen and Saporta 2004 and Gorman 2005 examine discrimination that occurs at the point of hire. This type of discrimination is often invisible since people do not always know why they were hired or passed over for a particular position, nor can they compare themselves with other applicants. Gender bias in work assignments is the focus of Madden 2012. The author shows how differences in the types of assignments each gender receives contribute to pay disparities in brokerages. Kalev 2009 explores gender inequality at work more broadly with an interest in understanding how it can be reduced or exacerbated by restructuring or other changes in work organization. Stainback, et al. 2011 takes a different approach to this topic in its authors’ research on the factors that affect workers’ perceptions of discrimination. Women and men are less likely to perceive discrimination when their gender is in the majority. This finding shows how workers’ perceptions are shaped by the sex composition of their job.

                                                                            • Dobbin, Frank. 2009. Inventing equal opportunity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                              In this path-breaking book, Dobbin traces the origins of contemporary understandings of discrimination, equal opportunity, and diversity. In contrast to those who cite the influence of social movements or government and the courts, Dobbin reveals the powerful role that human resource personnel played in defining and institutionalizing these ideas in the American workplace.

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                                                                              • Gorman, Elizabeth H. 2005. Gender stereotypes, same-gender preferences, and organizational variation in the hiring of women: Evidence from law firms. American Sociological Review 70.4 (August): 702–728.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/000312240507000408Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Gender stereotypes and beliefs about the ideal jobholder affect hiring decisions. This article shows how these effects jointly operate in the hiring process of law firms. The research found that the hiring partner’s gender also mattered in the hiring process, with women more likely than men to select women for some types of positions.

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                                                                                • Kalev, Alexandra. 2009. Cracking the glass cages? Restructuring and ascriptive inequality at work. American Journal of Sociology 114.6 (May): 1591–1643.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/597175Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  How work is organized can have important effects on the degree of gender (and racial) inequality in an organization. In a quantitative analysis of organizational changes in over eight hundred workplaces between 1980 and 2002, Kalev identifies the conditions under which job restructuring can reduce gender and racial inequalities at work.

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                                                                                  • Madden, Janice Fanning. 2012. Performance-support bias and the gender pay gap among stockbrokers. Gender & Society 26 (June): 488–518.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0891243212438546Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    The author examines the organizational-level sources of the gender pay gap among stockbrokers employed by two large brokerages. Madden introduces the concept of “performance-support bias” (p. 489) to describe the ways that managers intentionally or unintentionally undermine women’s access to high-commission accounts. When men and women had the same types of accounts, gender disparities in sales productivity (and pay) were reduced.

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                                                                                    • Petersen, Trond, and Ishak Saporta. 2004. The opportunity structure for discrimination. American Journal of Sociology 109.4 (January): 852–901.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/378536Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      This paper identifies three types of gender discrimination in organizations: allocative, within-job, and valuative. Allocative discrimination, especially at hiring, is Petersen and Saporta’s primary focus. Analyzing personnel data from one large US workplace, they find that gender disparities in job assignment and wages are greater at hire than at other points in workers’ tenure with the firm.

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                                                                                      • Stainback, Kevin, Thomas N. Ratliff, and Vincent J. Roscigno. 2011. The context of workplace sex discrimination: Sex composition, workplace culture and relative power. Social Forces 89.4 (June): 1165–1188.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/sf/89.4.1165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Perceptions of sex discrimination are shaped in part by features of the workplace, including its sex composition. Both women and men are less likely to perceive discrimination when their gender is in the majority. Workplace culture also shapes perceived discrimination, especially for women.

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                                                                                        Motherhood Penalties and Fatherhood Bonuses

                                                                                        The motherhood wage penalty has become an important area of study in the field of gender and work. Budig and England 2001 launched this line of research. The authors found that mothers earn less than other workers, even when controlling for other factors that could affect wages. Later research has sought to understand the possible reasons for this pay gap, as well as to explore other ways that motherhood and fatherhood affect the allocation of rewards at work and the societal implications of these patterns. Crittenden 2001 provides a comprehensive look at the economic liabilities associated with motherhood in the United States. Ridgeway and Correll 2004 and Correll, et al. 2007 develop the idea of motherhood as a status characteristic and report on research that supports this proposition. Drawing on Australian employment data, Carney 2009 identifies other factors that may contribute to mothers’ economic disadvantage and shows how these vary across the occupational spectrum. Hodges and Budig 2010 tests the other side of this argument, examining whether fathers receive an earnings bonus from their status. The authors find that the fatherhood bonus benefits some groups of men more than others.

                                                                                        • Budig, Michelle, and Paula England. 2001. The wage penalty for motherhood. American Sociological Review 66.2 (April): 204–226.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/2657415Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Analyzing longitudinal data collected in the United States, this article finds that employed mothers incur a wage penalty relative to other workers. Differences in job experience and/or productivity and discrimination against mothers in terms of their job assignments and work opportunities may all help explain this wage gap. Budig and England also discuss the public policy implications of the motherhood wage penalty.

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                                                                                          • Carney, Tanya. 2009. The employment disadvantage of mothers: Evidence for systemic discrimination. Journal of Industrial Relations 51.1: 113–130.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/0022185608099668Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Drawing from surveys of Australian workers, this study examines the extent to which mothers’ work behavior is consistent with “ideal worker” norms of continuous employment. Carney shows that mothers of young children who violate this norm are likely to suffer career disadvantages, and this was especially true for mothers in high status occupations.

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                                                                                            • Correll, Shelley J., Stephen Benard, and In Paik. 2007. Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty? American Journal of Sociology 112.5 (March): 1297–1338.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/511799Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Mothers experience disadvantages in the labor market relative to equally qualified childless women, childless men, and fathers. This article reports on two studies—a laboratory experiment and a study of employers—that demonstrate the penalties in pay and perceived competence that job seekers who are mothers experience.

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                                                                                              • Crittenden, Ann. 2001. The price of motherhood: Why the most important job in the world is still the least valued. New York: Metropolitan.

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                                                                                                Many books have been written about motherhood. Despite motherhood’s venerable status, however, this bestseller argues that mothers’ work is not only invisible and unrecognized, but also that motherhood is an economic liability. Crittenden explores the historical changes in mothers’ lives over the last century but devotes most of the book to an investigation of motherhood’s economic costs.

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                                                                                                • Hodges, Melissa J., and Michelle J. Budig. 2010. Who gets the daddy bonus? Organizational hegemonic masculinity and the impact of fatherhood on earnings. Gender & Society 24.6: 717–745.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0891243210386729Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  In contrast to the negative effect of motherhood on women’s earnings, studies suggest that fatherhood positively affects the earnings of men. Hodges and Budig take a closer look at this relationship. They find that the fatherhood earnings bonus is larger for men whose characteristics are more closely aligned with hegemonic masculinity.

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                                                                                                  • Ridgeway, Cecilia L., and Shelley J. Correll. 2004. Motherhood as a status characteristic. Journal of Social Issues 60.4: 683–700.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-4537.2004.00380.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    The authors apply status characteristics theory to motherhood. They argue that mothers are disadvantaged in the workplace because those in this role are judged to be less competent than other workers. The authors discuss the sources of these judgments, and they explore the implications of a status characteristics approach to understanding mothers’ workplace disadvantages.

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                                                                                                    Men and Masculinity at Work

                                                                                                    Women are the focus of much of the research on gender and work. This section highlights men’s experiences and the role of masculinity in the workplace. Several of the readings examine men employed in predominantly female occupations. Williams 1995 helped launch this line of research. Williams 1995 shows that while outsiders, including family and friends, may question men in predominantly female jobs about their motives and masculinity, men receive some career advantages from employment in a job held mostly by women. This particular claim has received significant attention from researchers and is the subject of Williams 1992, Budig 2002, and Wingfield 2009. The association of masculinity with power and authority in the workplace is taken up in a different way in Uggen and Blackstone 2004, an article on sexual harassment. The authors show that gender differences in perceived harassment can be partly explained by gender differences in workplace power. In addition, they find that men who do not conform to traditional notions of masculinity experience more harassment than their more traditional counterparts. Ely and Meyerson 2010 examines masculinity in a predominantly-male work setting. Drawing from qualitative research on oil platforms, they show how organizational initiatives can reinforce or undermine traditional masculinity and its association with risk and danger at work. More broadly, these authors show that workplaces can be sites of change in gender identity and relations.

                                                                                                    • Budig, Michelle J. 2002. Male advantage and the gender composition of jobs: Who rides the glass escalator? Social Problems 49.2 (May): 258–277.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1525/sp.2002.49.2.258Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Men earn more than women on average regardless of whether the job is male-dominated, female-dominated, or balanced in its gender composition. In addition, men are more likely than women to be promoted into predominantly male or balanced jobs. All men—not just those in predominantly female jobs—ride the “glass escalator.”

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                                                                                                      • Ely, Robin J., and Debra E. Meyerson. 2010. An organizational approach to undoing gender: The unlikely case of offshore oil platforms. Research in Organizational Behavior 30:3–34.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.riob.2010.09.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        This case study of men employed on two offshore oil platforms examines how changes in organizational policies and culture can unintentionally alter male workers’ conceptions of masculinity on the job. The authors show how a predominantly male workplace in which traditional notions of masculinity guided workers’ beliefs and behavior was transformed by an organizational safety initiative.

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                                                                                                        • Uggen, Christopher, and Amy Blackstone. 2004. Sexual harassment as a gendered expression of power. American Sociological Review 69.1: 64–92.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1177/000312240406900105Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          This article develops and tests a model for understanding the relations among power, masculinity, and sexual harassment. The model is derived in part from Catharine MacKinnon’s writings on sexual harassment in the workplace. Quantitative analyses of survey data find support for the model’s predictions regarding the workplace and societal conditions that foster sexual harassment.

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                                                                                                          • Williams, Christine L. 1992. The glass escalator: Hidden advantages for men in the “female” professions. Social Problems 39.3 (August): 253–267.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/3096961Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            This classic paper introduces the concept of the “glass escalator” as a way to capture the experiences of men employed in predominately female occupations. Based on interviews with workers employed as nurses, librarians, social workers, and elementary school teachers, Williams found that men in these fields often benefit from their gender in ways that facilitate upward movement in their jobs.

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                                                                                                            • Williams, Christine L. 1995. Still a man’s world: Men who do women’s work. Men and Masculinity 1. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                              This book is a qualitative study of men’s experiences in four predominantly female occupations: nursing, social work, elementary school teaching, and librarians. Williams explores men’s reasons for entering these fields, their efforts to explain their career choice, and the role masculinity plays in shaping their experiences on the job.

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                                                                                                              • Wingfield, Adia Harvey. 2009. Racializing the glass escalator: Reconsidering men’s experiences with women’s work. Gender & Society 23.1: 5–26.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0891243208323054Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                The glass escalator has been used primarily to understand the experiences of white men in predominantly female jobs. Wingfield examines whether men of color in nursing experience the glass escalator in the same way as their white, male counterparts. She finds that men of color in this field do not reap the same career advantages from their masculinity as white men.

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                                                                                                                Constructions of Gender in Global Service and Production Work

                                                                                                                The rise of a global economy has brought local workforces, jobs, and cultures into contact with new conceptions of work organization and gender. The readings in this section examine these local/global connections in the context of feminized service and production work. The focus of Salzinger 2003 is the assembly line labor force employed by the global factories on Mexico’s US border. The predominance of women in this labor force has given rise to assumptions about women’s inherent suitability for low-paid, global production jobs. Salzinger challenges this view by showing how femininity and masculinity are socially constructed on the assembly line floor and take varying forms depending on local conditions. How global economic forces shape and are shaped by local conditions is also the focus of the two readings on China, Otis 2008 and Hanser 2008. Both are interested in how Western ideas about service have influenced the expanding Chinese service sector. These articles reveal some of the ways in which a globalizing economy has helped to diffuse Western ideas about gendered work into other societal contexts.

                                                                                                                • Hanser, Amy N. 2008. Service encounters: Class, gender, and the market for social distinction in urban China. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                  China’s expanding middle class has created new consumer markets in that society. Hanser examines the implications of these changes through an ethnographic study of Chinese salesclerks and their customers. She shows how gender shapes interactions between clerks and customers and how these interactions reflect new forms of status distinctions and inequalities in China.

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                                                                                                                  • Otis, Eileen M. 2008. Beyond the industrial paradigm: Market-embedded labor and the gender organization of global service work in China. American Sociological Review 73.1 (February): 15–36.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/000312240807300102Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    Studies of the global economy often focus on manufacturing, yet globalization has also affected the highly feminized service sector. Otis examines women’s service work in two Chinese luxury hotels. Women workers in both settings are expected to display femininity in their interactions with customers, but how they do so differs depending upon the characteristics of the local clientele.

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                                                                                                                    • Salzinger, Leslie. 2003. Genders in production: Making workers in Mexico’s global factories. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                      Women are an important part of the assembly line labor force in global factories. Salzinger examines the social construction of femininity and masculinity in four Mexican assembly plants. She shows that femininity and masculinity are not singular concepts, but instead are constructed differently depending upon local contexts.

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                                                                                                                      Overviews of Gender, Work, and Family

                                                                                                                      Work and family research has grown exponentially in recent decades, and this expansion has taken place throughout the industrialized world. The readings in this section provide overviews of this large and growing literature. Williams 2000 sets the stage, providing a historical and conceptual overview of the forces and trends that have made work and family a central topic in gender and work scholarship. Gerson 1993, a qualitative study of men’s lives, adds to this bigger picture by examining how men’s life choices have been transformed over the last few decades. Hochschild 1989 and Hochschild 1997 focus specifically on the transformations in marriage and family life that have occurred as more households have become dual-earner. The author is especially interested in the gender division of labor in household work and the ways that time pressures have altered the meaning of family life for women and men. Time pressures at work and at home are also the topic of Jacobs and Gerson 2004. The authors use survey data to identify the time pressures faced by workers and their families, and they explore how the structure and culture of the workplace exacerbates these issues. The remaining readings in this section (Pitt-Catsouphes, et al. 2006; Bianchi and Milkie 2010) provide up-to-date summaries of work-family research. Bianchi and Milkie 2010 not only reviews past studies, but also identifies what the authors see as important future lines of work-family research.

                                                                                                                      • Bianchi, Suzanne M., and Melissa A. Milkie. 2010. Work and family research in the first decade of the 21st century. Journal of Marriage and Family 72.3 (June): 705–725.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00726.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        This article provides an overview of current work and family research. The authors show how developments in this field have been shaped by broader societal trends, such as immigration and other demographic changes, and the growth of the 24/7 economy. They also identify several important topics for future research.

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                                                                                                                        • Gerson, Kathleen. 1993. No man’s land: Men’s changing commitments to family and work. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                                          Men’s work and family lives have changed dramatically over the past half-century. Gerson examines these changes and traces their impact on men’s lives. Drawing from interviews of men whose lives reflect differing approaches to work and family, Gerson shows how the meanings of manhood are being redefined.

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                                                                                                                          • Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 1989. The second shift: Working parents and the revolution at home. New York: Viking.

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                                                                                                                            This is one of the most influential books ever published on the gender division of labor in household work. The Second Shift conveys the effort involved in this work and its significance for family life. Hochschild explores how gender shapes couples’ negotiations over who performs what tasks and the meanings couples attach to these activities.

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                                                                                                                            • Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 1997. The time bind: When work becomes home and home becomes work. New York: Metropolitan.

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                                                                                                                              In this influential book, Hochschild argues that work and family have switched places in people’s emotional lives. Families have become busier and more stressful than ever, while work is where people go to regain a sense of control and accomplishment. Hochschild explores the causes and consequences of this reversal and suggests ways to undo the time bind.

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                                                                                                                              • Jacobs, Jerry A., and Kathleen Gerson. 2004. The time divide: Work, family, and gender inequality. Family and Public Policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                Jacobs and Gerson examine trends and patterns in work hours, focusing primarily on the United States. They show how work hours and feelings of overwork vary by gender, family type, and occupation. The authors also suggest possible solutions to the time pressures felt by many workers and their families.

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                                                                                                                                • Pitt-Catsouphes, Marcie, Ellen Ernst Kossek, and Stephen Sweet, eds. 2006. The work and family handbook: Multi-disciplinary perspectives and approaches. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                  Gender is central to an understanding of work and family. As its title implies, the readings in this edited collection draw from all of the social sciences, as well as social work and management; they reflect multiple methodologies and theoretical perspectives. The book provides a comprehensive overview of work-family research.

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                                                                                                                                  • Williams, Joan. 2000. Unbending gender: Why family and work conflict and what to do about it. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                    This book has had a major impact on work and family scholarship over the last decade. Williams shows how the ideal worker in the industrial era came to be associated with men. The lingering effects of this association have undermined women’s ability to gain equality on the job and contributed to a workplace that is antagonistic to workers’ family concerns.

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                                                                                                                                    Meanings of Work and Family Across the Occupational Spectrum

                                                                                                                                    These readings explore the experiences of women in different places on the occupational spectrum and possessing different resources for managing their work and family lives. Two of the readings pay particular attention to working- or middle-class women and families, and two examine the work and family experiences of women in higher-level managerial or professional occupations. Despite different foci, the readings share a concern with understanding how women make sense of their work and family choices and how these choices are enabled and constrained by the larger social context. Damaske 2011 examines women’s expectations about work and family as these develop and change over their twenties and thirties. Damaske finds that neither women’s identities as workers and/or mothers, nor their life choices, are fixed or stable over time. Garey 1999 examines how women in health-related occupations manage the tension between their roles as mothers and workers. Like Damaske, the author calls attention to the fluidity in women’s lives as they pursue strategies that enable them to fulfill both roles. Blair-Loy 2003 and Stone 2007 focus on women in high-level managerial or professional jobs. These women seemingly have fewer constraints on their ability to balance their work and family lives than other women and have the option of choosing either work or family as a primary activity. Despite the greater resources and flexibility of this group of women, Blair-Loy 2003 shows that women executives must carefully negotiate inflexible cultural schemas that expect them to be both highly committed workers and devoted mothers. Stone 2007 explores the conditions under which high-achieving women decide to leave their jobs and become at-home mothers. Together, these readings reveal the ways that women navigate their work and family lives and the factors that enable or constrain their ability to pursue both jobs and motherhood.

                                                                                                                                    • Blair-Loy, Mary. 2003. Competing devotions: Career and family among women executives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                      High-level executives are expected to be intensely committed to their jobs and careers. For women, the “work devotion schema” can create a conflict with the expectations attached to mothering and family life (p. 20). Blair-Loy examines how women in high-level positions negotiate the “competing cultural schemas” of work and family (p. 179).

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                                                                                                                                      • Damaske, Sarah. 2011. For the family? How class and gender shape women’s work. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                        Damaske’s qualitative study examines how women navigate their work and family lives. She identifies three gendered pathways that women use to balance their roles as mothers and workers. Damaske pays particular attention to the ways that class and race shape women’s experiences and identities as mothers and workers.

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                                                                                                                                        • Garey, Anita Ilta. 1999. Weaving work and motherhood. Women in the Political Economy. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                          What it means to be a mother and what it means to be a worker often seem in conflict. Drawing from interviews with mothers employed in health-related jobs, Garey explores the different strategies that women use to resolve this tension.

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                                                                                                                                          • Stone, Pamela. 2007. Opting out? Why women really quit careers and head home. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                            Under what conditions would high-achieving women with good jobs decide to leave the paid labor force to become at-home mothers? Stone seeks answers to this question by interviewing women (and their husbands) who have pursued this option. She shows that “opting out” results from pressures affecting both work and home life.

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                                                                                                                                            Gender Division of Labor in Household Work

                                                                                                                                            It is impossible to fully understand women’s and men’s involvement in paid work without also considering the ways that gender shapes the division of labor in household work. Household work includes tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping, and researchers sometimes also include care for children in this category. Studies investigate the time women and men devote to household work, the kinds of tasks each typically perform, and the ways in which this participation shapes (and is shaped by) each gender’s involvement in paid work. Bianchi, et al. 2012 summarizes current data on US trends in household work and childcare. Among the authors’ findings is that women continue to do more housework than men, though the gap has diminished over time. The other readings in this section explore the nuances of this general pattern, often focusing specifically on dual-earner households with children. For example, Bittman, et al. 2003 shows that the size of the gender gap in housework time depends on the relative earnings of each partner. Offer and Schneider 2011 looks at multitasking, which is an underexplored, yet common activity for busy working parents. Glauber and Gozjolko 2011 examines men’s participation in household work after becoming fathers. Cross-national studies of household work and childcare have been especially useful for disentangling the factors that shape women’s and men’s involvement in these activities. Hook 2006, a study of men’s involvement in unpaid work, and Craig and Mullan 2010, an analysis of women’s and men’s work-family time in five countries, are examples of cross-national research. Because of workers’ need to juggle both work and home responsibilities, achieving work-family balance (and avoiding work-family conflict) is a challenge for mothers and fathers in dual-earner households. Milkie, et al. 2010 and Allard, et al. 2011 explore this topic, showing how both family and work characteristics shape parents’ ability to balance their work-family responsibilities.

                                                                                                                                            • Allard, Karin, Linda Haas, and C. Philip Hwang. 2011. Family-supportive organizational culture and fathers’ experiences of work-family conflict in Sweden. Gender, Work, and Organization 18.2 (March): 141–157.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2010.00540.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              This paper examines men’s family-to-work and work-to-family conflict in Sweden, a country known for its support for parents’ efforts to balance work and family. Surveys of fathers employed by private Swedish firms reported more work-to-family conflict than family-to-work conflict, and they were less likely to experience the former when their informal organizational culture was supportive of work-family balance.

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                                                                                                                                              • Bianchi, Suzanne M., Liana C. Sayer, Melissa A. Milkie, and John P. Robinson. 2012. Housework: Who did, does, or will do it, and how much does it matter? Social Forces 91.1: 55–63.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/sf/sos120Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                This article summarizes data on trends in housework and childcare in the United States from 1965 to 2010. These data show that women continue to do more housework than men. Both genders are spending more time on childcare than previously, and the gender gap in childcare time has diminished. The authors explain the significance of this research for understanding gender inequality.

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                                                                                                                                                • Bittman, Michael, Paula England, Liana Sayer, Nancy Folbre, and George Matheson. 2003. When does gender trump money? Bargaining and time in household work. American Journal of Sociology 109.1 (July): 186–214.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/378341Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Employed wives do more housework than employed husbands. Analyzing data from the United States and Australia, this study shows that the amount of housework performed by wives declines as their earnings increase. However, when wives’ earnings exceed their husbands’, wives do more housework and husbands do less.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Craig, Lyn, and Killian Mullan. 2010. Parenthood, gender and work-family time in the United States, Australia, Italy, France, and Denmark. Journal of Marriage and Family 72.5 (October): 1344–1361.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00769.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    This article compares the time spent in paid work, household work, and childcare in households with and without children in five countries. Country-level characteristics affect how much time parents in each country spend doing various activities versus non-parents, how much time parents spend with children, and the size of the gender gap in mothers’ versus fathers’ time with children.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Glauber, Rebecca, and Kristi L. Gozjolko. 2011. Do traditional fathers always work more? Gender ideology, race, and parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family 73.5 (October): 1133–1148.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00870.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Research suggests that men with more traditional gender beliefs increase their work hours after becoming fathers, while men with more egalitarian beliefs work less. Glauber and Gozjolko find that this pattern is truer among white men than African-African men. The relations between gender beliefs and work hours among men are also shaped by social class.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Hook, Jennifer. 2006. Care in context: Men’s unpaid work in 20 countries, 1965–2003. American Sociological Review 71.4 (August): 639–660.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/000312240607100406Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        The average amount of time men spend doing unpaid work (i.e., housework and childcare) has increased since the 1960s in most industrial economies. Analyzing data from time diaries collected from men in twenty countries, Hook shows that countries differ in the degree to which their policies support or impede men’s participation in unpaid work.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Milkie, Melissa A., Sarah M. Kendig, Kei M. Nomaguchi, and Kathleen E. Denny. 2010. Time with children, children’s well-being, and work-family balance among employed parents. Journal of Marriage and Family 72.5 (October): 1329–1343.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00768.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Balancing work and family is especially challenging in households with children. Spending quality (i.e., interactive rather than routine) time with children improves parents’ work-family balance, especially for mothers. Social class also affects the relations between time with children and work-family balance. Regardless of gender and social class, parents who are satisfied with their children’s well-being report greater work-family balance.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Offer, Shira, and Barbara Schneider. 2011. Revisiting the gender gap in time-use patterns: Multitasking and well-being among mothers and fathers in dual-earner families. American Sociological Review 76.6 (December): 809–833.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/0003122411425170Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Multitasking, or engaging simultaneously in two activities, is pervasive in contemporary society, especially among working parents. This study explores its frequency and its emotional consequences for women and men. Mothers multitask more than fathers on average and do so under different conditions and with different emotional consequences.

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                                                                                                                                                            Care Work: Paid and Unpaid

                                                                                                                                                            Providing care to children, the elderly, or others who may be unable to care for themselves is an activity strongly associated with women. Women are expected to be the primary caregivers in the home and, in the workplace, are more likely than men to fill what England 2005 calls “nurturant occupations.” Caring for another, whether paid or unpaid, is distinct from other kinds of work, however. Understanding the meaning and significance of care work for those who perform it and for the larger society are themes that have attracted the attention of gender and work scholars. England 2005 describes the ways that care work has been conceptualized, and Duffy 2005 expands the discussion by considering how race and class can be better incorporated into these frameworks. The other readings in this section help to illustrate Duffy’s argument. For example, Weigt 2006 shows how the privatization of care work in the United States has disproportionately affected poor women, who struggle to adequately care for their children while working in a low-wage job. The remaining readings address the intersections of gender, race, class, and care through a focus on caregivers employed in private households. Macdonald 2010 examines the relations between nannies and the upper middle-class mothers of the children for whom they provide care. A large and growing component of the private care work labor force in the United States is immigrant women from less affluent regions. This issue is at the center of Hondagneu-Sotelo 2001 and Ehrenreich and Hochschild 2002. Both readings explore the work and family lives of these paid caregivers and consider their experiences in the context of gender in the global economy.

                                                                                                                                                            • Duffy, Mignon. 2005. Reproducing labor inequalities: Challenges for feminists conceptualizing care at the intersections of gender, race, and class. Gender & Society 19.1 (February): 66–82.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0891243204269499Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Duffy argues that care work can be conceptualized as nurturance or as a form of reproductive labor. She examines how each framework informs care work research, paying particular attention to care work performed by low-waged workers and women of color.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Arlie Hochschild, eds. 2002. Global woman: Nannies, maids, and sex workers in the new economy. New York: Metropolitan.

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                                                                                                                                                                This edited collection was among the first to call attention to the global dimensions of care work. Women’s high levels of labor force participation in advanced industrial societies have fueled a demand for female immigrants to perform the services women historically provided in the home. These readings explore the implications of this trend.

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                                                                                                                                                                • England, Paula. 2005. Emerging theories of care work. Annual Review of Sociology 31:381–399.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.31.041304.122317Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  This review article explores alternative perspectives on care work. Both paid and unpaid care work is closely associated with women and, as a result, tends to be culturally and economically devalued. England examines the costs of devaluation for those engaged in care work as well as for children, families, and society.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette. 2001. Doméstica: Immigrant workers cleaning and caring in the shadows of affluence. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Immigrant women fill many of the nanny and housecleaner jobs in the United States. Because the work is done in private households by workers with little status or power, these jobs have received relatively little attention from researchers. This book is an in-depth, qualitative study of the work and family lives of female housecleaners and nannies in Los Angeles.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Macdonald, Cameron Lynne. 2010. Shadow mothers: Nannies, au pairs, and the micropolitics of mothering. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Professional childcare is a low-paid, predominantly female occupation. Macdonald examines the experiences of paid caregivers who work inside the home. She pays particular attention to the relations between paid caregivers and the mothers who hire them. Macdonald also takes up larger questions surrounding the “commodification” of motherhood in contemporary society.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Weigt, Jill. 2006. Compromises to carework: The social organization of mothers’ experiences in the low-wage labor market after welfare reform. Social Problems 53.3 (August): 332–351.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1525/sp.2006.53.3.332Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        One consequence of welfare reform in the United States in the late 1990s was that poor mothers were expected to enter the paid labor force. This institutional ethnography explores mothers’ experiences as caregivers and workers as they moved from welfare into low-wage jobs. Social policies that make care work a private responsibility create burdens for low-income women.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Social Policies, the State, and Gender Inequality in Cross-National Perspective

                                                                                                                                                                        Cross-national research has assumed a prominent role in gender and work scholarship. Much of this research focuses on industrial economies. In part, this emphasis on industrial economies reflects the increasing ease of accessing and analyzing cross-national data from these countries. This emphasis on industrial economies also makes theoretical sense, as it allows researchers to explore similarities and differences across different types of market economies, with different forms of state involvement, social policies, and cultural institutions. Van der Lippe and Dijk 2002 summarizes some of the most common measures and approaches that have guided this research. Other readings take up more specific questions. Treas and Drobnič 2010 focuses on the gender division of labor in household work. This collection contains case studies of particular societies and cross-national analyses. Mandel and Shalev 2009 examines the gender earnings gap, seeking to understand the societal-level factors that contribute to wage disparities between women and men. The aim of Pettit and Hook 2009 is more comprehensive: drawing on individual- and societal-level data, the authors explore the complex relations between women’s inclusion in the labor market and gender inequality. All of the readings in this section underscore the roles that social policies and states play in shaping women’s and men’s lives and life chances. While revealing important societal differences, this research reminds us that gender exerts a powerful effect on the organization of work and family.

                                                                                                                                                                        • Mandel, Hadas, and Michael Shalev. 2009. How welfare states shape the gender pay gap: A theoretical and comparative analysis. Social Forces 87.4 (June): 1873–1911.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1353/sof.0.0187Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Advanced industrial societies differ with respect to the size of their gender pay gap, and these variations can be partly explained by welfare state policies. Among the most important policies are those that facilitate (or reduce) the size of the public sector, mothers’ integration into the labor force, and the degree of social class inequality in the society.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Pettit, Becky, and Jennifer L. Hook. 2009. Gendered tradeoffs: Family, social policy, and economic inequality in twenty-one countries. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                                                                                                                                            This book provides a comprehensive, cross-national analysis of gender inequality in the labor market. Analyzing data on workers, labor market characteristics, and government policies, the authors reveal the complex relations between factors contributing to women’s inclusion in (or exclusion from) the work force and those that perpetuate (or reduce) gender inequality in the labor market.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Treas, Judith, and Sonja Drobnič, eds. 2010. Dividing the domestic: Men, women, and household work in cross-national perspective. Studies in Social Inequality. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                              This edited collection examines household work in comparative perspective. The chapters address a range of issues related to the gender division in household work, such as cross-national differences in beliefs about mothers’ employment, the role of state policies in promoting equality in household work, and the relations between women’s employment and the gender division of labor in the household.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • van der Lippe, Tanja, and Liset van Dijk. 2002. Comparative research on women’s employment. Annual Review of Sociology 28:221–241.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.28.110601.140833Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Comparative research on women’s employment tends to focus on industrialized societies, with studies most often including the United States and Western and Eastern Europe. This review article discusses the measures and characteristics of women’s employment most often used in comparative research, and it describes three approaches to studying women’s employment from a comparative perspective.

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