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Males retain lion’s share of power and prestige in post-recession economy.

by Inga Kiderra

(This article was originally published on the UC San Diego News Center. The original version can be read here.)

It’s March 2013 – 50 years after Betty Friedan’s explosive book launched feminism’s “second wave,” 41 after Title IX, the equal-opportunity amendment banning sex discrimination in education, was signed into law – and some exceptionally successful women are making a lot of news. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is riding high in public opinion, winning straw polls for the 2016 presidency. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, after shrugging off maternity leave, has sparked the “Great Telecommuting Debate” with a company-wide ban on working from home. And Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, is on the cover of TIME and every other national stage, it seems, talking about “Lean In,” her just-published memoir and “sort of feminist” manifesto on succeeding as a female in corporate America.

The very presence of these women would seem to contradict the need for a national dialogue on women in the workplace that Sandberg is urging. Except that it doesn’t. These women are rare exceptions – according to a report from the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions at the University of California, San Diego.

The report details ongoing inequalities in the American labor market on the basis of gender.

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In last weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson had a nice article debunking the so-called skills gap in manufacturing. He noted that manufacturers constantly complain about not being able to hire skilled workers – yet they offer starting pay as low as $10 per hour.

One manufacturer Davidson spoke with stated that workers with an associate degree can make $15 per hour in his factory. Yet, as Davidson noted “a new shift manager at a nearby McDonald’s can earn around $14 an hour.” The problem is not lack of skilled workers, but that manufacturers are offering wages too low to attract skilled workers.

Some employers are willing to train but even they are facing a deficit in basic math and science skills, which are increasingly important for modern, computer-based manufacturing. Davidson closes by suggesting that “so-called skills gap is really a gap in education, and that affects all of us.”

While it may be true there is a general education deficit in the US, this barely scratches this surface of a deeper problem facing postindustrial economies: what kinds of jobs are replacing formerly-well paying manufacturing jobs as these are outsourced to low-wage countries and lost to advancing technologies?

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Daniel Schneider received his PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University in 2012.  He is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Postdoctoral Scholar in Health Policy Research at UC-Berkeley/UCSF.  Daniel’s paper, “Gender Deviance and Household Work: The Role of Occupation,” won the 2012 James D. Thompson Award from the Organizations, Occupations, and Work section of the American Sociological Association and was recently published in the American Journal of Sociology. The following is the text of an interview recently conducted with Daniel by Kate Kellogg, an Associate Professor of Organization Studies at MIT.  

Kate Kellogg: What are your general research interests, and what led you to explore the specific question of gender deviance?

Daniel Schneider: My research is at the intersection of family and inequality. My work looks at how inequality structures the formation of families and how gender inequalities then play out within those families. So, for instance, some of my work has looked at how differentials in wealth by race and education shape differential entry into marriage. But, other research looks at how families then perpetuate inequality and serve as sites for unequal practices.

This work taps into that second vein, looking at how economic resources and engagement in the market economy matters differently for men and women in the household. More specifically, this project engages with an existing literature on how men’s and women’s relative economic resources shape housework time.

Kate Kellogg: Can you say a little bit about the behind-the-scenes’ trials and tribulations of your research process?

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The OOW team is delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Jeremy Reynolds, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Georgia.

Jeremy has published leading research on work-family conflict, differences between actual and preferred work hours, flexible staffing arrangements and high performance work practices. For more on Jeremy and his research, check out his website.

In his first post, soon to be up, Jeremy uses the context of the election season as an opportunity to take a reflective look at how the deluge of news and information we face every day can be quite overwhelming for those trying to sort good information from bad, even for social scientists.

Our first birthday is coming up on Sunday, and while most of you no doubt have it dutifully marked on your calendars, we thought a little reminder might be nice. It has been a fantastic year for us, and we hope you have enjoyed reading our posts  as much as we have enjoyed writing them.

As the big day approaches, we wanted to  let you know that there are some exciting changes in store for the blog. In the next few days, we’ll be rolling many of those changes out. The blog is getting a new name – “Work in Progress”. We’re told that the section we are affiliated with in the American Sociological Association, the Section on Organizations, Occupations, and Work, used to have a newsletter of that name. We happen to think that the name captures our evolving scope and size perfectly.

To go along with the new name, we’re also moving the blog to a new home on the web and giving it a bit of a visual makeover. We’ll be keeping our Twitter and Facebook pages updated with the changes, and those of you who follow us through email will also be getting updates once the transition happens.

As part of this process, we’re also launching a separate website for the Organization, Occupations, and Work Section. This will allow our members to stay updated with section news and announcements while allowing us to keep the blog to focused on commentary and analysis.

In the meantime, we thought we’d look back with our trusty analytics tools and put together a list of our greatest hits from the year. Based on page views,  our three most popular posts were:

Chris’s post was part of our panel on Facebook as work, and Adia’s post was part of our panel on the gender wage gap. While we’re hard at work this weekend getting ready for our birthday party and blog relaunch, we hope you check out our readers’ favorite posts from the last year and maybe some of your own as well!

The OOW team is delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Chris Warhurst, Professor of Work and Organizational Studies at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Chris is going to write a monthly column, focused mostly on the issue of “aesthetic labor,” which refers to how employers attempt to mobilize, develop and commodify the looks, dress and style of workers. For more on this concept, see Chris’s overview here and an empirical study of his here.

But also keep an eye tuned here for Chris’s posts, which are sure to be insightful! His first post, soon to be up, discusses sociological evidence showing a beauty premium and a beauty penalty in employment – better looking people get paid more (and have more opportunities), while average or worse looking people fare worse in the labor market.