by Laura Doering and Sarah Thébaud
Sociologists have long argued that we don’t just gender-stereotype individual men and women. We gender-stereotype jobs as well. For instance, we tend to think of firefighters as masculine and preschool teachers as feminine.
This kind of stereotyping has important implications for all kinds of labor market outcomes. It shapes applicant pools, hiring decisions, pay, and performance evaluations, among other things.
But how quickly do jobs get gender stereotyped in the first place? And to what extent do such stereotypes affect the authority that men and women experience? Our research reveals that when we attach gender stereotypes to jobs, both women and men can experience disadvantage.
In our recently published study, we looked at how clients responded to managers in a job that was not already gender-stereotyped because it was relatively new and gender-balanced in its composition: a commercial microfinance loan manager.
Since this job had no clear gender association, we reasoned that clients would treat the role as masculine or feminine based on the first person with whom they interacted. That is, if a client was first paired with a male manager, that client would come to treat the role as if it were a “man’s job.” And if a client was first paired with a woman, he or she would treat the role as if it were a “woman’s job.”
by Liana Christin Landivar
Casual conversations and news articles are full of stories about overworked Americans who no longer clock in for the mythical 9-to-5. From working late nights at the office or at home after the kids have gone to bed or taking work on vacation, people feel like they are working 24/7.
Accounts of the lengthening workweek and time intensification resonate with workers who may feel greater time pressure and stress. Long hours are detrimental to work-life balance and research shows that long work-hour expectations push mothers out of the labor force.
Yet the evidence shows that work hours have not increased. Since the early 2000s, work hours have declined broadly across all occupational groups, and the share of men and women working full-time is at its lowest point since 1970. The work-hour decline predates the Great Recession and is not solely attributable to an increase in part-time work.
by Lisa Wade
The average man thinks he’s smarter than the average woman. And women generally agree.
It starts early. At the age of five, most girls and boys think that their own sex is the smartest, a finding consistent with the idea that people tend to think more highly of people like themselves. Around age six, though, right when gender stereotypes tend to take hold among children, girls start reporting that they think boys are smarter, while boys continue to favor themselves and their male peers.
They may have learned this from their parents. Both mothers and fathers tend to think that their sons are smarter than their daughters. They’re more likely to ask Google if their son is a “genius” (though also whether they’re “stupid”). Regarding their daughters, they’re more likely to inquire about attractiveness.
Golfers playing as the Eagle Creek wildfire rages behind them in Washington State and Oregon
This week we’re introducing our “Friday Roundup” – a weekly compilation of news articles and essays that we think might be of interest to our readers.
Race in America
Harvey, Irma, and the Burning West
Policing and Hospitals
Media headlines of late are challenging our presumptions about what is invisible labor.
Amazon, for instance, announced the opening of a store that eliminates the frontline job of cashiers – as well as the checkout lane and all the self-checkout machines. Instead, this work will be done through the automatic scanning of consumer movements around the store and on the shelves. Live employment will be diverted to locations behind the scenes, in labors of preparing and stocking the food.
Likewise, in my home state of Missouri, a waitress at Hooters was fired for failing to do the work of looking right on the job. That labor involved wearing a wig (bought at her own expense) to cover scar on her head after returning from brain surgery, and thus upholding gendered and sexualized appearance rules at work.
Even acts of resistance on the job are telling, like when an African-American employee broke a stained-glass window in the Yale dining hall where he washed dishes. Outraged by a scene depicting slaves picking cotton, he was no longer willing to do the work of idly supporting in a discriminatory organizational environment.
Automation, aesthetic labor, and racial tasks are examples of contemporary ways that the workplace is disempowering workers and submerging the types of tasks they are expected to do. This is the starting point of a new book I co-edited with two legal scholars, Marion Crain and Miriam Cherry.