Contemporary Gender Inequality Comparative Gender Inequality – What causes improvements in women’s position in society? Gender Inequality in the U.S. – Why the gender difference in income? Do evolved sex differences influence work behavior? – – – – Workplace harassment Leadership style Language use Deference behaviors How does the U.S. compare to other developed societies? There have been egalitarian societies, and male-dominated societies There have been no female-dominated societies. Even today, men have the most political power in even the most gender egalitarian societies such as Sweden. Percent of legislative seats held by women, 2000 In general, gender inequality tracks the amount of inequality in the society as a whole Lowest in h & g societies, highest in agrarian societies, lower again in industrial societies. The most gender inequality today is found in the developing, formerly horticultural and agrarian societies of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In many of these societies, discrimination against women is built into the culture, and sometimes into government policies and laws. Girls are less likely to be sent to school Women get paid less Women’s wages in manufacturing, as a percentage of men’s wages Women may be beaten by men Women reporting physical assault by male partner, selected studies, 1990s. Women suffer rape and worse during wars What causes improvements in women’s position in society? Women’s position in society typically improves with economic development. Modernization theory suggest that this happens immediately. Other theories say it depends on the society – Beliefs about women’s place in politics, education, and the labor force – Religious beliefs Also important: – government policies regarding the education of boys and girls – type of educational system – Policies and laws about women, such as the legality of abortion and the availability of family leave Gender Inequality in the U.S. Since 1967, women have joined the paid labor force in the United States in ever larger numbers Women have experienced increases in income at all educational levels and have also experienced rising income relative to that of men Income inequality remains, however In 2007, the median income for men was $45,100, was $35,100 (full-time, year-round workers only). In families, women are better off economically if they are married. Female headed families are most likely to be in poverty Mother headed families have the highest poverty rates Why the Gender Difference in Income? Women are in different jobs than men are, and the types of jobs women have tend to pay less than the types of jobs men have. Even for jobs in which women are a majority of workers, men are more likely to have the high level, better paid positions. Do evolved sex differences influence work behavior? Given their higher commitment to children, women are more likely than men to have competing demands on their time because of child care considerations. Some women may choose to work fewer hours, take on less demanding jobs, or be less career-oriented as a result. Sexual harassment Given their less investment in prospective offspring, males are likely to be less discriminating in potential mates than females. This promotes a greater interest in any prospective mate—that is, any young healthy female. There is evidence that males are more likely to read a sexual subtext in an interaction than females. This can lead to misunderstandings about intent and resulting sexual harassment. Leadership Styles Women generally lead differently to men Men tend to be more comfortable in hierarchical social situations – Tend to take a more directive approach to leadership Groups of women are based more on equality of members than status, and that women are less comfortable in a hierarchical situation in the workplace. – Tend to take a more consensus-based approach to leadership Language Use Linguist Deborah Tannen suggests that all male conversation may be seen as a negotiation over status—who has it and who does not. Female conversation may be seen as a negotiation for intimacy or closeness. Such sex differences in conversational style can lead to misunderstandings between men and women. – Women may see male style and selfish and egoistic – Men may see females style as indecisive Deference behaviors There is much evidence from experiments that young women are more likely to defer, and young men not defer, in mixed-sex interactions These predispositions toward deference behaviors may be innate. May make positions of authority more difficult for young women How does the U.S. compare to other developed societies? Women earn less everywhere In terms of authority in the workplace, in most countries women have less authority on the job than men Rosenfeld et al. (1998) found that Australia and the United States have high levels of gender equality in authority, whereas Sweden and Japan are at the lower end of gender equality in authority.