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Social Work Gender Class

In what ways are social class, ‘race’/ethnicity, and gender problematic identity constructionsAnd how can they affect achievement in education?

Abstract

An examination of the problematic identity constructions associated with social class, race / ethnicity and gender. Theories of essentialism and social constructism are used to understand these notions, and to assess the extent to which they can affect achievement in education.

1. Introduction

The following will take a theoretical approach using contrasting ideas about the nature of social reality to look at problems of race / ethnicity, social class and gender / sexual identity, and the impact each has on equality in education.

Social constructivism is the idea that there is no one objective reality shared by everyone. The meaning of physical reality is created by individuals and groups through beliefs based on their past experience and predispositions (Walsh 2010). Social constructivism has been widely influential in the social sciences and humanities, and was shaped by a number of theorists including Vygotsky (1925) whose studies of how children learn emphasizes the role of a social framework for education, and also by Berger and Luckmann (1966), who popularized the notion in English speaking countries (Van Dusek 2006). Social constructivist approaches to race, class and gender suggest that the way we perceive each is a function of history and culture, rather than a given objective fact.Our views of women and men, and the roles appropriate to each, for example, is rooted in the political climate, and relates to social power structures (Hirschmann 2003)

By contrast, essentialism is the view that the characteristics ascribed to members of different races or sexual identities are fixed and objective. It suggests that the way things are perceived reflects the essential nature of that thing. The essence is a causal mechanism for the properties things display (Mahalingam 2003). When applied to sexuality, for example, an essentialist view suggests that orientation is based upon an inner state which causes a person’s sexual feelings and actions. The view also holds that the essence is either biologically caused or acquired in the first few years of development (Clarke et al 2010).

While race, gender and class can be viewed alone, more recently an ‘intersectional’ approach has emerged, pointing out that these three constructs overlap, and can create layer upon layer of disadvantage and multiple oppression. Suggested by Crenshaw (1991), intersectionality shows that social identity is created in a more complex way than we might have thought (Berger 2006).

1.1 Race / Ethnicity

It is certainly the case that different races and ethnicities are characterised by differing physical appearances, including colour of skin and facial features. However, an essentialist view of race and ethnicity would suggest that each race also has a number of behavioural, mental and intellectual characteristics which distinguish them from other races. For example, there is an assumption that native Hawaiians are lazy, of low intelligence, promiscuous, hospitable and easy-going (Ponterollo et al 2009). Essentialism may also suggest that the characteristic traits are genetic, and that some races / ethnicities are superior to others.

Essentialism in approaches to race and ethnicity seem to be rooted in a late 19th century scientific viewpoint which assumed biological explanations for a range of human characteristics (Rubin 2005), and which naturalised traits such as racial difference. It has been suggested that essentialism still exists in educational, with the belief that each race had a distinct and fixed character, and that different racial groups should be taught with this in mind (Giroux and Shannon 1997).

There are a number of clear problems with essentialist theories of race and ethnicity. For example, attempts to put humans into racial groups seem to use arbitrary selection of traits with no clear explanation of why these traits are important. In addition, essentialist views, fail to account for the richness of human life, culture and experience. Finally, essentialist theories seem to lack significance. What use can they be put to(Corlett, 2003). Further, it has been pointed out that the genetic basis for ethnic essentialism is flawed, as races exhibit greater genetic differences within themselves than between one race and another (Hill and Cole 2001).

Essentialism is often associated with racism: the idea that “people are seen as causing negative consequences for other groups, or as possessing certain negatively evaluated characteristics because of their biology” (Hill and Cole 2001, p. 162). In education, it might lead, for example, to an assumption that children of a certain race are less intellectually able than others, and hence to a reduced attempt to engage with them; or to the assumption that black people excel at sports (Hill and Cole 2001).

In contrast, a social constructivist approach to race and ethnicity seems a more useful one for equality in education. This position allows for greater flexibility as race and ethnicity are seen as dynamic forces, subject to change and shaped by power relationships and cultural forms that dominate the institutions in which they are found (Giroux and Shannon 1997). The social constructivist sees race as a construct “a concept that signifies and symbolises socio-political conflicts and interests in reference to different types of human body” (Winant 2001, p. 317; cited Dillon 2009). Race is not a biologically determined set of fixed characteristics, but rather a complex mix of projections regarding inequality, hierarchical relationships and conflict which have been used to differentiate, regulate and shape reactions between people. The set of presuppositions about racial characteristics become objectified into social institutions and cultures. They are a consequence of social attitudes and decisions made about other people by individuals and groups (Dillon 2009).

Because racial differences are encapsulated in social institutions, and as education is an institutionally based phenomenon, racial prejudice and distinctions made between ethnicities need to be accounted for in education, and it seems important to reject an essentialist view in favour of a constructivist one, with the insight that perceived differences in learning ability, for example, are a consequence of historical political and social vested interests, and do not reflect an underlying reality.Within the UK, there has been a move towards eradicating racism within education. An unthinking mono-cultural approach which promoted British colonial history has given way to a multi-cultural one. Nowadays, an awareness of legislation and regulations regarding race are built into teacher training, for example it is stated that student teachers need to be familiar with the 1976 Race Relations Act, which outlawed discrimination between racial groups. A number of other laws and regulations since have framed education, including codes of practice issued by the Commission for Racial Equality, and more recent directives introduced by the European Court of Human Rights (Hill and Cole 2001).

Despite the existence of such legislation, there is still a question regarding whether racism is still part of the education system. If we accept the social constructivist view, while racist attitudes are open to change, they are deeply embedded in the culture. Schools and other educational bodies may be subject to ‘institutional racism’, “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin” (MacPherson et al 1999). Institutional racism is enshrined in the culture of an organisation, and individuals who make up the organisation may not even be aware of it. If an institution is predominantly white, it is likely that it has practices which exclude non-white people. The Stephen Lawrence enquiry in the UK in 1999 brought the issue to public attention, and a number of changes to the national curriculum, reporting procedures and monitioring levels were made.

1.2 Social Class

The UK is still heavily stratified in terms of class, with resulting inequalities, poverty and social exclusion. The division between rich and poor has increased over the last 20 years, with the rich becoming even better off, and the less well off even poorer.There are various views of what the class system means. Class can be characterised on the basis of occupation and education, with manual (skilled, unskilled or semi skilled) trades equated with the working class, white collar workers with the middle classes, and professionals with the upper classes (Hill and Cole 1999). Marxism has offered a long-lasting analysis of class, suggesting that it is a vehicle whereby the interests of a few are allowed to override the interests of the many.Marx saw society as a history of class struggle, and class as closely tied up with the interests of capitalism, under which the means of economic production are placed in the hands of a small number, with most people having to sell their labour to survive. Marxists also suggest that the education system was class-ridden, existing primarily to tend to the interests of the elite by a process of ‘economic reproduction’, training people to take up a place in the work force, and by ‘cultural reproduction’’, by which children are educated to believe that the upper classes tastes are the norm, and working class ones should be rejected (Hill and Cole 1999).

It has been claimed that Marxism challenges essentialism, for example by opposing the notion that the division between the working and upper classes is ‘natural’ and ‘fair’. However, many suggest that Marxism is in fact inherently essentialist rather than allowing fluidity in the class structure. For example, Marx believed in the fixed nature of the key concepts he used, ‘the individual’, ‘class’ and ‘the state’. He further assumes that people are members of a particular class for life, rather than able to move from one class to another. He also suggests that there is a unity to the concept of the ‘working class’, for example, over and above the shared conceptions of all the people who make up the class (Wolfreys 2006). Littlejohn (1978) suggests that for Marx, social class expresses an ‘essence’, with political movement reduced to expressions of interests determined elsewhere. In addition, Littlejohn suggests, Marx saw society as having a fixed, stratified structure in which economics underpinned political, legislative and cultural layers (Littlejohn 1978).

Post-modernism has suggested that the Marxist notion of class is no longer relevant, and argues that we are now in a post-capitalist era, in which the old social distinctions play no part (Hill and Cole 1999). Post-modernism is consistent with social constructivism, as it suggests that there is no reason to believe in an objective, fixed society, and that we rather need to study discourses and texts to understand what social constructs mean for the people who interpret them. For the post-modernist, personal identity has become fragmented and decentralised, and the notion of class has lost power as it has become subsumed by other measures of identity including gender and race. As identity is fragmented, so individuals can define themselves as classless, or move from class to class (Lareau and Conely 2008). In short, “social class has… ceased to be of central empirical significance to our culture” (Milner, 1999). However, this view is widely disputed, for example by Hill, who suggests that post-modernists are simply unable – or unwilling – to recognize the divisive power of class in today’s society (Hill, 2002).

The growth in the gap between rich and poor does suggest that class issues are still relevant. In terms of education and equality, it seems that class does play a role. Bordieu, for example, carried out empirical studies in French educational establishments, and showed that family background, social class and school are linked, with schools still representing the social and economic inequalities found in wider society. His suggestions have been confirmed by work in the US, suggesting that social differences are reinforced by the education system there, for example the policy of elite colleges such as Harvard to favour children of ex-students. Dillon also points out that access to education is not enough to increase social mobility, as working class students are likely to lack the abilities to make the most of their education that their middle class peers take for granted, for example skills in networking (Dillon 2009). It is also possible that more recent changes to education frameworks in the UK including raised fees for higher education and more freedom for schools to select pupils will create a climate which introduces further divisions between classes in an ‘increasingly segregated system’ (Taylor 2006).

1.3. Gender / Sexual Identity

Similarly, gender and sexual identity are notions with inherent problems. If we adhere to an essentialist view, it would be assumed that certain characteristics are attached to people of each gender, for example men are more intelligent, better with machinery, and better at sports, with women more suited to home making and issues to do with emotions. Similarly, an essentialist perspective might suggest that gay men are uniformly ‘camp’, dress flamboyantly and have a high-pitched voice, with lesbians likely to look like men and have a rough manner.

By assuming that men and women have certain characteristics which define them, stereotyping is more likely to arise. Stereotypes can be acquired through family and wider society, and often develop at a young age, although are complex in nature and the precise nature of the stereotyped characteristics can vary considerably. Stereotypes are not innate: children first learn to differentiate between men and women before later ascribing sets of characteristics to them (Schneider 2004). Stereotypes both influence, and are influenced by, the role men and women play in society. They are problematic in that they not only describe differences between men and women, but also dictate what roles they should play. This can lead to oppression and the suppression of an individual’s freedom. Stereotypes cover a wide range of areas including cognitive abilities, physical appearance, behaviour and emotion. While stereotypes about both gender and sexual orientation are less oppressive now than they have been in the past, prejudice based on such labelling is still in existence, perhaps in a more subtle way (Worrell 2001), for example concerning whether women are expected to do as well in education as men.

Stereotyping on the basis of gender or orientation can lead to oppression and inequality as it reinforces prejudices about difference, and can help maintain inequality and perpetuate injustices. Stereotypical views about men and women may be used to justify unfair treatment, for example paying women less on the assumption that work is less important to them (Andersen and Taylor, 2007). Awareness of the ways in which women are oppressed by men has increased since the advent of feminism, which uncovered the ways in which there is an unfair balance of social and economic power between men and women, and the extent to which men have a vested interest in controlling women to maintain this balance in their favour. Oppression of women, it has been argued, is carried out not just by individuals but is built into social and institutional structure so pervasively that it is not always obvious (Choudhuri 2008). Similarly, oppression and inequality can damage those of non-mainstream sexual orientations, particularly gay men and lesbians. While awareness, understanding and tolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people (GLBT) has increased over the last hundred years, negative treatment has not been removed. “Prejudice, discrimination and oppression on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity permeate our sociocultural context, affecting everyone in deleterious ways” (Messinger 2006, p. 44).Oppression on the basis of sexual orientation can take various forms including exploitation (not offering gay workers the same rights for spouses as given to different sex couples), powerlessness (disrespectful treatment, discrimination in the work place), systematic violence (verbal or physical abuse directed at an individual solely because he or she is gay) and cultural imperialism (the assumption that the worldview of the prevailing, ‘straight’ culture is the correct one) (Messinger 2006).

Within education, therefore, there is a clear need to work against discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, although such discrimination may well be institutionalised and hence less visible. Equality can be worked towards through a variety of methods including understanding the complexity of sexuality and gender, being aware of an challenging heterosexual assumptions and practices, understanding the role education can play in overturning prejudice, challenging homophobia, understanding how gender and orientation issues can intersect with race and class, and learning about LGBT histories (Banks and Banks 2009). Even in these seemingly more enlightened times, research evidence from the USA suggests that LGBT pupils are at higher risk of harassment within their educational instutites: many reported feeling unsafe while in school (64% compared with 10% of pupils who felt unsafe because of their gender), while many lesbian pupils reported physical and verbal harassment and victimisation (Klein 2007). Within the UK, legislation does exist to ensure equality for LGBT teachers, and a national initiative to reduce homophobic bullying was launched with incidents logged and a teaching programme suggested (Sears 2005).

2. Conclusion

If a teacher subscribed to an essentialist view of gender, race and class, he or she might believe that one or other gender, race or social group is inherently better than others at academic subjects. This might lead to situations where the academic performance of the pupil was affected negatively or positively. For example, a belief that boys are better capable of mathematics or science might lead to the teacher spending more time with the boys, praising their good work more enthusiastically or not helping girls. A belief that Afro-Carribean boys are noisy and don’t care about their education might lead to the teacher being more harsh with boys of this race, assuming that they are more likely to be disruptive in class. A similar belief might cause the teacher to assume they are unlikely to be interested in certain subjects.Similarly, the teacher might assume that working class pupils were inherently less intelligent, and might as a result spend less time with them, and not work to encourage any goals of further education. On the other hand, by taking a constructivist view, there is more scope for children to be seen as individuals, and not typecast by their class, sex and ethnic background. A constructivist might also be aware of the extent to which an educational institution is sexist, racist or classist as part of its very structure, and take more steps to counteract this.

References

Andersen, M L And Taylor, H F (2007) Sociology: understanding a diverse society (4th edn), Cengage Learning, Belmont CA

Banks, J A and Banks, C A M (2009) Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, John Wiley and Sons, USA.

Berger, P L and Luckmann, T (1966), The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Anchor Books, NY.

Berger, M T (2006) Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Choudhuri, L (2008) Community Planning for Intervention for Victims of Domestic Violence, Kassel university press, Kassel.

Clarke, V, Ellis, S J, Peel, E, Riggs, D W (2010) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer Psychology: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambs.

Corlett, J A (2003) Race, racism, and reparations, Cornell University Press, USA

Crenshaw, K W, (1991) ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color’, Stanford Law Review, 43:6, 1241-1299.

Dillon, M (2009) Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and Their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, John Wiley and Sons, USA

Dusek, V (2006) Philosophy of technology: an introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden MA / Oxon.

Giroux, H A and Shannon, P (1997) Education and cultural studies: toward a performative practice, Routlege, UK

Hill, D (2002) Marxism against postmodernism in educational theory, Lexington Books, Oxon

Hill, D and Cole, M (1999) Promoting equality in secondary schools, Continuum International Publishing Group, London, New York

Hill, D and Cole, M (2001) Schooling and equality: fact, concept and policy, Routledge, UK

Hirschmann, N J (2003) The subject of liberty: toward a feminist theory of freedom, Princeton University Press, Princetown NJ.

Klein, S S (2007) Handbook for achieving gender equity through education (2nd edn.), Routledge / Lawrence Erlbaum , Mahwah, NJ.

Lareau, A and Conley, D (2008) Social class: how does it work?, Russell Sage Foundation, New York.

Lawson, H and Scott, D (2002) Citizenship education and the curriculum, Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport CT

Littlejohn, G (1978) Power and the state, Taylor & Francis, London

Mahalingam, R (2003) ‘Essentialism, Culture, and Power: Representations of Social Class’, Journal of Social Issues, 59:4, 733-749.

McPherson, W, Cook, T, Sentamu, J and Stone, R (1999) The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, HMSO, London

Milner, A (1999) Class, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Morrow, D F and Messinger, L (2006) Sexual orientation and gender expression in social work practice: working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, Columbia University Press, New York

Ponterotto, J G, Suzuki, L A, Casas, J M and Alexander, C M (2009) Handbook of Multicultural Counseling (3rd edn.), SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Rubin, E H (2005) Adult psychiatry (2nd edn.), Wiley-Blackwell, Malden MA / Oxon.

Schneider, D J (2004) The psychology of stereotyping, Guilford Press, NY.

Sears, J T (2005) Youth, Education, and Sexualities: A-J, Greenwood Publishing Group, USA.

Taylor, M (2006) ‘It’s official: class matters’, The Guardian, Tuesday 28 February 2006.

Vygotsky, L S (1925/1978), Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.

Walsh, J (2010) Theories for direct social work practice (2nd edn.), Cengage Learning, OH

Winat, H (2002) The world is a ghetto: race and democracy since World War II, Basic Books.

Wolfreys, J (2006) Modern British and Irish criticism and theory: a critical guide, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

Worell, J (2001) Encyclopedia of women and gender: sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender, Elsevier, USA

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Free Essays

The Effect of Gender on Consumer Behaviour

Introduction

Consumer behaviour patterns are influenced by the culture, the psychology, the social and financial status of the person making a shopping excursion. The success or failure of the venture is affected by when, where, how and why people make the decision to go shopping.

This report investigates the differences between the genders when fashion buying decisions are made. It seeks to determine if there are basic influences affecting choice. Are they persuaded by advertising in magazines or on televisionDo their friends or celebrities have an influence on their decisionDoes their social life play a part?

Consumer behaviour is the study of why, when, where, and how people either do or do not buy products. It blends fundamentals of psychology, sociology, cultural experience and economics. This report covers an investigation into understanding the gender related buying decision making process, It seeks to find an answer to the question, why do ladies enjoy shopping and spending money and men do notThe survey also sought to confirm that women make more shopping visits then men and spend more money than men at that shopping.

There are a number of additional factors which could also affect consumer behaviour, shopping enjoyment and spending, these could not all be included in the questionnaire, due to size and time constraints. Brand loyalty and advertising psychology, peer pressure relating to fashion and design, competition between brands and shops, and price, are all factors which affect the choice of fashion eventually made. Does a pair of jeans bought from the local market, against a pair of designer jeans from a designer boutique; really make any difference when all you are doing is studying.

The other main factor is the internet and the numerous ways of perusing the latest design fashions and the ease of buying them. Historically men have had a dislike of buying trips[1], since emancipation women have taken on the purchasing role [2], buying the clothes, toiletries etc. For the man. The fashion explosion of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with rock and roll, punk and boy bands moved that shopping trend back to the male. The substantially increased numbers of the female university population over the same time frame held the balance. However the internet, releasing the man from shopping trips and making available a whole and constantly changing choice of fashion products could well now have quite a different result if this survey was repeated in 3 to 5 years.

Literature Review

This report examines the effect of gender on consumer behaviour and the consequence those influences has on fashion choices. It analyses data from questionnaires to determine the influence of free time activities and the role of celebrities in the decision making process.

In an article published in 2001 Otnes C.[3] States that she believes “Shopping is also increasingly recognized as contributing to the creation of self-identity of men and women and that it is possible for a man to simultaneously engage in consumer behaviour and maintain his masculine identity.”

Otnes’s theory is that shopping for fashion is no longer seen as a female prerogative, there is no longer a stigma involved in men choosing fashions. She believes that this behaviour improves the self esteem, self expression and confidence of men.

The feminist view of consumer behaviour and fashion is explored by De Grazia, Victoria. & Furlough, Ellen. (1996) they write that; “Fashion codes and beauty standards are denounced as akin to purdah, footbinding or the veil – public sexual impositions on women, which, beyond domesticating women’s drive towards liberation, constrain them physically and violate their authentic selves. The other side argues that mass consumption liberates women by freeing them from the constraints of domesticity.”

They hypothesise that pre emancipation, men controlled the finances and determined the shopping list. Since emancipation, this has changed, along with the greater numbers of women seeking university education and equality in employment and financial control.

In a paper on gender related advertising published in Academy of Marketing Science Review, Putrevu S[4]. (2001) argues that wide advertising implications follow from the differences between genders. He believes, after observation that men, through pictures and music, benefit from nonverbal reinforcement of the verbal product message built into an advertisement. He believes that direct verbally descriptive messages carry more impact for the female.

He goes on to suggest that “The rather strongly held gender identities suggest that appropriately targeted gender advertisements might be quite effective” This author believes that this marketing philosophy is very apparent in the design and targeting of fashion retail marketing and the role celebrities play in those adverts.

In a wide ranging study on gender behaviour titled in 2007, “Men Buy, Women Shop,” researchers at Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retail Initiative[5] and the Verde Group[6], a Toronto consulting firm, determined that women responded more positively than men to personal communication with sales associates. Men were more likely to react to more practical aspects of the experience, such as good parking, the length of the checkout line whether the item they came for was in stock.

Some quite emotive phrases are used throughout the literature available on consumer behaviour

Jennifer Waters[7], in an article in MarketWatch (2006) believes that “ Men are on a mission, women on an adventure when shopping.”

Paula Courtney[8], president of the Verde Group talks about “hunters vs. gatherers” this phrase was published in a paper titled “Men buy, Women Shop” (2007)

According to Wharton marketing professor Stephen J. Hoch, gender behaviour when shopping, reflects differences throughout many aspects of life. “Women think of shopping in an interpersonal, human fashion and men treat it as more instrumental. It’s a job to get done,” he believes that the data available has implications for retailers marketing policies so they can design and develop a more segmented approach to building and maintaining loyalty among male and female customers.

Recognising the large numbers of potential buyers involved based at universities[9], Cosmopolitan Magazine has devoted a whole section to influence students fashion decisions and purchases.

Their February 2011 edition offers discounts for students, 20% off specific lingerie items, a student shopping soiree, 10 ways to save money at university and 30 days of Fashion and Beauty to come. The Cosmopolitan magazine is totally female orientated, covering fashion in clothing and toiletries. The Sunday Times however caters for all genders in their weekly fashion section. Their February issue has an article headline “Combine cut-price student fashion with cool”, this offers tips for obtaining bargain outfits without damaging your credibility.

The OK magazine takes the use of celebrity marketing to the extreme; the whole content is built around celebrity fashion and influences, mainly female but with the odd male celebrity article inserted.

The shelves of magazine shops are literally full of female biased fashion periodicals with basically no male orientated publications, except for ‘pin up’ magazines. Confirming the results of the questionnaire and the gender which is most influenced by celebrity marketing.

Methodology

The purpose of this study was to examine whether there were basic differences in the gender behaviour of students, when choosing items of fashion. It also looked at the influences of celebrities in fashion advertising and whether this had a bearing on the choices made by the students.

To obtain the information from which to draw conclusions, a questionnaire was designed and given to the 10 male and 10 female students, all in a relatively small age group, to eliminate any age influences. The procedure involved the right to withdraw and confidentiality related to the data was explained to each participant.

It was decided to use questionnaires rather than aural interviews to gather the data, because this author felt that the data would be easier to obtain and collate and then be easier to represent in graphical format. Interviews are normally held at a pre-determined time and place, with the interviewer completing a form based on what the respondent says. Questionnaires usually consist of short closed ended questions, whilst interviews are often broad open ended ones.

Questions 1 and 2 were age and gender identification. The gender split had been pre-determined and the age range was chosen to narrow the attitudes and fashion parameters of the participants. In a small sample of this size the input of an older student, with different fashion perceptions, could have serious effects on the data integrity.

Question 3 asks how often the students were inspired in their fashion choices by a celebrity look. This question was the first related to the influence of celebrities in both a passive i.e. Advertising and non-passive role i.e. Television shows. Question 4 examines the free time activities of the two genders. Did they mirror each other or were there marked differences and could the responses to this question be significant in consumer behaviour.

Questions 5, 7 and 8 were all celebrity biased. What influence did the participants think a celebrity had on themIf they had money to spend, would that be affected by the influence of a celebrity and how did they get in touch with the world of the celebrity. Question 6 asked the question, where did they get their fashion tips from?

Results and Discussion

The results of this survey[10] illustrate some quite interesting deviations between gender

Behaviour and their attitudes to fashion purchasing. The age ranges were almost identical, 18 out of the 20 students questioned being between 18 and 23 years old. It can be assumed therefore that these students are spending time away from home for the first occasion, preparing for their adult life, living without help, making their own budget decisions but having the community and peer pressure of their fellow undergraduates. The answers to question 3[11] in that 70 % of the men surveyed seldom or never were inspired by a celebrity look, whereas 90 % of the ladies were, sum up the basic differences in consumer behaviour as highlighted by Wharton[12] that “Men buy, Women Shop” and that women visit shops, not only to purchase goods but equally to enjoy the experience.

From question 4, it can be seen that one third of the ladies spent their spare time shopping, against one third of the men being involved in some sporting activity. It is also interesting that none of the ladies listed, used their computer as a free time activity but 40% of them, answered later, that they kept in touch with the celebrity world online and 60% of them got their fashion tips online.

Questions 7 and 8 relate to favourite celebrity influences with a substantial majority of ladies saying they were positively influenced, whilst the men were the opposite. This was mirrored in a question relating to having ?1000 to spend, would they spend the money on a celebrity’s productThe majority of ladies saying yes, the majority of men, answered no.

In hindsight there were a few more questions which would have improved the data information. A question on their fashion definition would have been useful; was it clothing, footwear or toiletries. How was the shopping done; physical visits, catalogues, television, charity shops, the internetHow often did they goHow much money, as a percentage of their income did they spend?

Conclusion

The data from the questionnaires confirmed a number of things relating to the original hypothesis, which was to determine whether there was a difference in consumer behaviour relating to fashion, between the genders and if so what were the influences?

The differences were quite specific and at different ends of the available answers. Female students were very inspired by a celebrity look whereas men were not. In today’s enlightened society where all sexes took an interest in fashion, cosmetics and appearance, this cannot be attributed just to a basic desire to look and smell nice. This author believes the main influence in this area is the ease of use of internet shopping, where access to the latest designs, bargains, outlets of female fashion is instantly available at any time of the day or night and with, in most cases, next day delivery. From the questionnaire responses 75% of the women replied that they got fashion information from the television or the internet as against 35% for men. This is quite surprising when it is set alongside the results that show 35% of the men get their fashion tips from magazines but only 10% of the women did. However the answer to this apparent anomaly is the availability and design of online magazines which are as colourful and full of adverts, articles and photographs as the paper version. They are mainly free to access with but as in the case of Cosmopolitan magazine some months out of date.

A more traditional response was that 70 % of the women would spend ?1000, if they had it, on a celebrity’s product, against 80% of the men who would not. Considering that this author believes there are few fashion items available, for both genders, which are not celebrity endorsed, then it would be interesting to determine where the male ?1000 would be spent.

This report is about consumer behaviour and the influences of celebrities on the fashion perceptions of different genders. In a report issued in 2004 Bakewell, C. Mitchell, VW[13] stated that they believed that: “The neglect of men in consumer decision making research is lamentable”.

They point out that men make up a significant shopping group and will make dissimilar shopping decisions to women. They argue that retailers should appeal to their male customers, by improving the competence of the processes and value perceptions, associated with the shopping experience. In other words ‘overcome traditional male hostility’. Once again the results of the questionnaire confirm this. Men do not like shopping trips ‘per se’ and see them as a chore and an experience to be avoided. Only 10% of the men responded that they went shopping in their free time.

In conclusion the evidence obtained from the survey showed quite different consumer behaviour between the genders especially relating to the influence of celebrities. Men had different communication avenues to fashion tips and celebrities, allowing those celebrities to have little or no influence on their consumer decisions. Women took far more interest in celebrity influences and were prepared to be persuaded by the celebrities’ attitude. The role of the internet is interesting, the results showing far more interaction between online uses by women than men. Equally the past relationship with parents was interesting, showing that neither gender was influenced at all, as far as fashion tips, by their parents. The conclusions are that celebrity involvement, either by magazine, online, advertising, television shows or shop fronts does influence the consumer behaviour of women in relation to fashion but not men.

Categories
Free Essays

Women and Madness – exploring women’s firsthand literary accounts and asking how the social context of gender impacts on the diagnosis of mental illness.

Introduction

In this essay I discuss three pieces of writing by women, reflecting on their experiences of medical treatment. Dating from 1898 to 1999 they explore the concepts and realities of women diagnosed with mental illness. I will mostly focus on the content of the pieces although discuss the imagery and metaphor that is repeated in all.

The first piece “The yellow wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a work of semi autobiographical fiction, the other pieces “Thorazine shuffle” by Allie Light and “The Looney Bin trap” by Kate Millet are autobiographical accounts of episodes of care. I will discuss themes that reoccur through all pieces and contrast the differences experiences to build a picture of mental health care for women throughout these times.

The yellow wall paper

Written in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “one of the most commanding feminists of her time” (Hedges 1973 :119) at a time it was rare for women to address sexual politics, Gilman makes the link between gender, insanity and patriarchy. Gilman was a prominent activist and writer on social reform including “Women and economics” (1898) – an analysis of the situation of women and a theoretical treatise that argued that women were “subjugated by men, that motherhood should not preclude a women from working outside the home” (Gilman 1898).

The yellow wallpaper is a short story written in epistolary style as a series of first person journal entries. The journal describes the narrator’s experience of isolation during a period of “rest cure” (Oppenheim 1991) for a “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman : 33).

Hysteria from the Greek hysteron for uterus, was a female condition defined as relating to femininity and female sexuality – a once common mental diagnosis of the 19th century it is no longer used as a diagnostic category (Micale 1993). “Like all things feminine (hysteria) seemed elusive and enigmatic to a patriarchal medical profession and was resistant to male rationality” (Showalter 2007). A Neurologist and progressive thinker of the 19th century, Horatio Bryan Donkin, linked the complaint not just to females’ physicality but to her “social conditions”. Donkin also noted a high propensity for hysteria among unconventional women, namely writers and artist (Showalter :145.) In this period doctors linked female ambition to mental illness warning that “pursuits of new opportunities (in work and fulfilment) would lead to sickness, sterility and race suicide (Showalter :121).

The tale describes the narrators gradual decent to madness. A feminist stance can and should be read into the novel considering the author; the themes of restriction and confinement echo the experiences of women of this time. Throughout the tale the narrator acts as prisoner, but a prisoner of her husband’s patriarchy not her own madness. Her husband forbids her to exercise her imagination in any way (Gilman: 34, 35, 36). She rebels and, deprived of any other stimulation turns imagination on to neutral objects in an attempt to ignore her increasing frustrations (Gilman: 34). Her preoccupation with the paper begins at first with dislike of the pattern, building to her seeing the pattern as bars with a creeping skulking female figure behind (Gilman: 40). Her negativity colours all she describes, “I never saw a worse paper in all my life… (its sprawling pattern) committing every artistic sin”. The idea of sin is pertinent, as is her description of the papers colour as “repellent, unclean yellow” a “sickly sulphur” (Gilman:35). These themes of illness, un-cleanliness and unnaturalness echo ideas of blame and questions of morality with pervaded the culture at this time. She reflects John makes her angry (Gilman: 34), and attributes this to her condition. She speaks of the effort it takes to dress or entertain, she blames herself saying she wishes she could help John (to make her better). She reflects John doesn’t know how much she suffers, simply that he knows there is “no reason and that this satisfies him” (Gilman:35).

Our narrator is intelligent and educated, she knows a “little of design” (Gilman:39). Frustrated by her lack of intellectual stimulation (Gilman :36), she is excited by the paper – watching it gives her something to look forward to. John says she is getting better despite the paper (Gilman: 42) she doesn’t tell him she feels it’s because of the paper (Gilman: 43) for she fears he will take this away from it. This seems to suggest that life outside the room is equally if not more dull than it is now inside with her preoccupation. The more the wallpaper occupies her, the more reality retreats. Her dissociation begins as she starts to hide her true feelings from the real world.

Gilman was sent home after a month of rest treatment with instruction “never touch a pen, brush or pencil as long as you live” (Knight: 323). We see this element to the cure in John’s insistence that she doesn’t write. We see also the prevailing theory of the time in Jennie “…a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession…she thinks it is the writing which makes me sick!” (Gilman: 37).

The idea of writing as therapy the narrator offers “I think only if I was well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me” (Gilman: 36) opposes prevailing medical belief that linked female ambition to mental illness (Showalter :121).

At this time psychiatrists were concerned with a moral cure for hysteria. Victorian Psychiatrist Henry Maudsley said “there is sex in mind as distinctly as there is sex in body”. The pervading thought at this time was that Mental illness would come if women tried to defy their “nature” and try to act as equal to men in society rather than as companions. Dr Edward C. Mann wrote in a medical journal in 1980 “The mental condition of women with hysteria is somewhat peculiar. The patient, when the hysterical feelings come upon her, does not feel disposed to make the slightest effort to resist them, and yields to her emotions, whatever they may be…she cares nothing for her duties and seemingly takes pleasure in exaggerating all her slight discomforts and annoyances, and be her suspicious exacting and unreasonable behaviour makes life generally uncomfortable to those about her.”(Shannonhouse: XIII).

Through illness the narrator is absolved of her obligations but as punishment or moral reminder of her duties she is placed in the nursery. Here, with little other stimulation, she becomes fixated on the wallpaper beginning with dislike for its appearance, moving from identifying secret meaning it its pattern to being excited by its hidden world. Considering Gilman’s feminist ideals, her experiences of mental illness and her understanding of the cause of this, as well as her experience of receiving the “rest cure” we can read the creeping woman (Gilman:40) in the paper as allegory for woman’s place in society. The bars she sees in the paper (Gilman: 42) being representative of the constraints of society and marriage (Gilman 1935:5)

The narrators husband John – also her physician – treats her not as his wife but as patient and as child; we see this in his language to her “blessed little goose” (Gilman: 36) “What is it little girl…Bless her little heart!…she shall be as sick as she pleases!” (Gilman: 37). Of all the rooms in the house it is the former nursery she is confined to despite her protests. The narrator speaks early on status of their marriage, immediately seeking to place this in context of social norm “John laughs at me of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman :32). The narrator suggests that John as physician is the reason she does not make a quick recovery (Gilman: 33). In this way both author and narrator demonstrate insight to female mental illness and to the role that both patriarchy and medicine play. Today a prominent part of the treatment of the mentally ill is socialisation and integration with daily activities not isolation.

Gilman shows us the separation of the narrators’ consciousness in her secret journal as the story moves gradually towards climax, from the first mention of the wall paper until it builds to consume her thoughts and writing. Through her sickness the narrator is relinquished of her own parental and marital responsibilities. “Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous.”(Gilman:35). The narrator struggles to not creep and to maintain her independence and autonomy, however the weight of guilt she experiences at neglecting her moral obligations as “he said I was letting it get the better of me and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies” (Gilman: 35) coupled with the punishment of isolation slowly drives her mad. Gilman herself accredited her illness to marriage and motherhood (Gilman 1935).

We can read the narrators madness as a choice, she chooses madness over returning to her obligation but in this choice we can hear Gilman’s critique of women’s’ options at this time -Madness or compliance. In her autobiography Gilman says she sent a copy to Weir Mitchell, who chose not to comment she later learned however that he had revised his treatment (Gilman 1935).

Thorazine Shuffle

Written in 1999 Light reflects on her treatment in a mental institution 1963, she says “I was twenty seven when I began having the blues, not feeling in control of my life. I needed help with my children. I was afraid I didn’t know how to be a mother”. The theme of motherhood, and expected role are echoed here from the previous piece as is the authors fixations with descriptions of light “the particular slant of the light…the quality of late afternoon light…refracted on walls” (Light: 168) we can compare this to the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper preoccupations with light “you can only see it in certain lights” (Gilman: 38) “when the cross light fades and the low sun shines directly” (Gilman: 39). “I watch for that first long, straight ray” (Gilman: 42). Also, her desire to set her belongings on fire (Light: 168) is again echoed in yellow wallpaper “I thought seriously of burning the house” (Gilman: 44).

Light like Gilman, tells how in illness her morality is called into question. She describes how her first meeting with her male psychiatrist involves her naked in a gown on a bed and him asking her questions of a sexual nature “do you like kissing your husband’s penis?” (:169) She reflects there was no right answer to this question, both called her nature into repute, either “frigid or a whore” (Light: 169). She describes her embarrassment and her shame. Here we see that a woman questioning her place in patriarchal systems is still a consideration in diagnosing female mental illness.

Within the ward itself Light describes a war, between the depressives and the manic patients “two battling armies” (169). She describes the sphere of influence within the Hospital as feudal system; the choice of language paints a vivid picture. “Langley Porter was a serfdom. Doctors came as trainees and we became their property…even as these potentates profited from the shambles of our lives we trusted them” (171). The language shows the divide between practitioner and patient and the authority of the former. “Potentates profited” – the power relationship is reinforced by the alliteration and the choice of words; Potentates – people with power and authority -who don’t simple make a living but profit from their patients. The word serfdom creates an image of the hospital as farm with patients as dumb animals to be worked and sold.

“I was given to Dr. Schwartz” (171), again the passivity is shown in the language, given to not assign to. The author uses the language of child or victim, a supplicant powerless to affect change. “if I behaved myself I could sleep at home”.(171) “Our contract began with the removal of clothes”(171). The use of “contract” suggests a business transaction; the passivity of the statement seems to reflect a blunting of emotion in the face of the oppressive environment.

The imagery has a sexualised overtone. “I had entered a kindergarten of managed play…the physical therapist pressed upon us the need to practice looking beautiful” again the merging of ideas of childlike helplessness and adult sexuality. “With our uncombed hair and unfocused vision, we sleep walked the corridors with books on our heads to improve out posture”. The idea that this is a legitimate treatment feels preposterous in light of modern treatment.

Themes of gender, responsibility and obligation of the earlier piece are echoed here. Even in chaos the obligation to be thought beautiful and to work towards this goal. “There is no way a patient, using her own words, can logically convince a doctor that she knows something about her person. He has to see for himself and then, if the patient doesn’t die, she might have won her point.” The helplessness is overwhelming. The author says “patient” but her use of “her own words…her point” add to the argument that it is woman as patient, female as supplicant to male – the social norm in a patriarchal society which psychiatry still was at this time. “He said I would feel better if I looked at him… I obeyed Dr Schwartz. I wanted to be a good girl…so I would do whatever that entailed…I often told Dr Schwartz that I needed something in my life…Something of my own…I wanted to go to school…his reply was “if you can’t stay home and look after your children, then get a job. Don’t waste everyone’s time by going to college”. Experienced 64 years after the writing of Yellow Wallpaper the idea as female as equal and deserving of education and experience is still seen as dismissible.

The loony-bin trip

In Millet’s account her first description a treatment and of oppression comes from a woman “tonight big nurse found me out…her instinct grabbed for me…and found the pill still in my cheek. I could confront or swallow. I decided to confront” (Millet :98). Hers is the most recent account of admission and her opponent female, perhaps this is what leads her to confront her treatment openly, unlike her counterparts. Her opposition is no good however, she is medicated. Here again we see women as powerless “Ann’s husband put her here, Mary’s in-laws, Margaret’s own mother” (100) although this time other women are complaisant in this forced incarceration and treatment. A female nurse “…who treat us as defective children…more like convicted felons” (99) administers medication. Millet talks of “being in the hard lock of Dr.Strong forever” (103).

The patriarchy she feels suppresses her is religious “You are in the hands of the church you ran away from…despite the presence of state it is Rome that has you prisoner…you little American freedom fighter business quite over, women’s lib and other notions crunched like cellophane” ( 103). “Joan of Arc, a heretic. Every night I will be tortured thus…they will inoculate me with this horror…our great sad room of waking women, each a prisoner of her mind and body.” (104).

Millet born 1934 is an American feminist writer and activist. Best known for her 1970 book “Sexual Politics”, she won a trial to prove her sanity and changed the state of Minnesota commitment law (Time 1970). Although in this age, 1970 women fight against their oppression “After a certain time many victims collapse and agree to be crazy; they surrender.” (Millet: 100). This new treatment environment is as toxic as the rest cure Millet describes it as “an irrational deprivation of every human need” asking if the cure for madness is fear and if the fear of being a captive might motivate recovery (101).

Sleep is a reoccurring theme of all three pieces. Gilman’s physician wants the protagonist to get more of it, Light describes how “I was put to sleep” (Light:169) Millet recounts “I won’t need anything to sleep. No, really. No. And the needle jabs your rear like an insult and the white stupor comes over”(Millet :102).

Both light and Millet describe how “a mental patient was not allowed to refuse medication. We were warned to take it orally or it will be injected” (Light: 172). This theme of women as defective or broken, for arguing with oppression and wanting different experiences from their lives reoccurs though all three accounts. Hard to fathom treatments with illogical cures acting to reprogram women to “behave” by fear and boredom appears in all, As the ideas of childlike powerlessness and of being property are also repeated.“there have always been those who argue women’s high rate of mental disorder is a product of their social situations, their confining roles as daughters, wives and mothers and their mistreatment by a male dominated and possibly misogynistic psychiatric profession” (Showalter:3).

Depression and anxiety are twice as prevalent in women as in men (Busfield 1996) and inequalities of gender create dependence and powerlessness in women. Because relationships between patients and staff reflect those in society the work force is often blind to inequality (DH 2002) and this is clearly highlighted in the suffocating treatment all three women experience. “There are differences in the family and social context of women’s and men’s lives…mental health care must be responsive to these differences” (Jacqui Smith, minister of mental health; department of health 2002).

Light tells us she comes from a line of depressives, passed down through the female line and again reiterates the connections between motherhood and depression. Light reflects on the history of depression on the female side of her family “My grandmother gave birth to nine children…her despair at perpetual pregnancy was contagious…My mother was a small girl when her mother tried to hang herself from the kitchen rafters. Pregnant again”.

Her mother’s favourite bed time story was about a little girl afraid of being stolen from her bed, the mother promises the girl will be safe but the girl is still stolen. The learned helplessness in their situations is passed down with each generation. The author reflects that all the stories her mother told her were about the consequences of looking, Blue beards wife looks it the locked room and seals her fate to join the dead wives there. Psyche looks at her lover after being bidden to love in the dark and loses him to death. In reality they are all about the consequences of defying patriarchal dictate.

Gilman , writing at a time when it was uncommon for women to have a voice, as an active feminist who divorced she still had to adhere to the confines of her society, her story then is a cautionary tale against women’s madness, its roots and its treatments.

In all accounts relatives exist as diminished characters over powered by the protagonists madness, this overpowering seems to be a release from the pressures and constraints all three women feel in their lives.

Reference list

Busfield,J., 1996 Men, Women and Madness – Understanding Gender and mental disorder. London :Macmillian Press Ltd

Chesler, P., 1997. (3rd ed) Women and madness. New York: Fall Walls Eight Windows

Department of health (2002) Womens mental health : into the mainstream accessed at http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4075487.pdf On 31/3/11

Hedges. E,R., 1973 Afterword. The Yellow Wallpaper. New York: The Feminist Press

Knight, D,D,. 1994 The Diaries of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia

Light, A., 1999 “Thorazine Shuffle” in Shannonhouse, R,.ed. (2000) Out of her Mind: Women Writing on Madness: New York: The Modern Library

Micale, M.S., 1993 On the “Disappearance” of hysteria: A Study in the Clinical Deconstruction of Diagnosis .The history of Science Society. ISIS. 84:496-526

Millet, K., 1990 The Loony-Bin Trip in Shannonhouse, R,.ed. (2000) Out of her Mind: Women Writing on Madness: New York: The Modern Library

Oppenheim, J,. 1991 Shattered Nerves: Doctors, Patients and Depression in Victorian England. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Perkins Gilman, C., 1891 The Yellow Wallpaper.in Shannonhouse, R,.ed. (2000) Out of her Mind: Women Writing on Madness: New York: The Modern Library

Perkins Gilman, C., 1898 Women and economics. New York: Cosmobooks

Perkins Gilman, C.,1935 The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography. (3rd Ed) London: The University of Wisconsin Press

Shannonhouse. R. (ed) ,2000 Out of her Mind : women writing on madness. New York: The Modern Library.

Showalter, E., 2007 The Female Malady- Women, Madness and English Culture 1830- 1980. London: Virago Press

Time magazine, 1970 The liberation of Kate Millet. Accessed on 31.3.11 @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,876784-1,00.html

Categories
Free Essays

Contemporary marketing issue of how gender affects the decision making and buying behaviour processes.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

It is quite obvious that, as men and women have different needs and wants they are going to be attracted to different products, however they are going to have a unique gender characteristics approach to the way the make a purchasing decision and embark on the process when deciding how to acquire the product they want.

1.2 Importance of study

I feel the importance of this study is a contemporary marketing issue as the subject of how gender affects the decision making and buying behaviour processes is a key topic area.

They way consumer approach to the buying and decision making process affects how marketing is being perceived in its effectiveness or ineffectiveness; by only appealing to one gender and sending the ‘wrong message’ out.

1.3 Research purpose (including research question and objectives or hypotheses as appropriate)

1.4 Limitations

Time constraint was a major contributor to limitations of this study, however with good organisation and an academic thought process the hypothesis has been proven with some really interesting new facts.

Without sounding patronising, I would assume you would agree that a worldwide collection of data from the questionnaire would bring in some interesting results, but as this study only needs to focus on a small majority, we are happy with the outcome.

1.5 Organisation of study

For the purpose of this study a sample of 100 consumers will be taken. 50 men and 50 women between the ages of 16-40 will be surveyed using an specially designed questionnaire, to be distributed to our sample online using e-mail and social networking site. A ‘snowball effect’ is highly likely in this case and will only add more credibility to the validity of the results recorded in this research study.

2. Literature Review

2.1.1 Chapter introduction

In this literature review the comparison of findings from other researchers on the subject surrounding the differences between male and female purchasing and decision making process. This literature review will show a further understanding of the subject gender affecting consumers approach to their decision making and purchasing process.

The intended outcome of this review of relevant literature will show the findings on whether there are any proven differences between the way male and female consumers make their purchasing and decision making process.

2.2 Overview for review

In this chapter we hope to be able to share with your what we have found from other academic writers on this subject that we feel relevant.

We have researched deeply into the subject, and have found articles from the US interesting.

The chapter is now split into relevant sub sections leading to the summary and methodology where we hope to prove our hypotises.

2.3 Buying Behaviour

It is just not possible to study exactly what happens in the consumers mind when making a purchasing decision because, as we have found, the individuals mind is just so complex and varies dramatically from individual to individual. Instead theories of decision making process can help assess what makes the consumer decide in their buying process they are committed to purchase.

Egan, J (2007) describes how two different types of paradigm called cogitative and behavioural are utilised by individual consumers when entering into a purchasing decision.

Firstly, the cogitative paradigm is controlled by the individuals functioning and rational thought process, these are goal-orientated ways the individual can process information. The functioning and rational thought process linked closely with the cogitative paradigm is determined by the way the individual makes their choice by problem solving and decision making.

The behavioural paradigm followers accept as true that it is not possible to be able to study exactly what goes on in the mind when making a purchasing decision as the mind is just too complex; so instead a black box is used to help measure the flow in and out of the mind representing how behavioural patterns occur.

Egan, J (2007) has also shown that there are many processes in which the average consumer should and can experience when making a purchasing decision, to post purchase but not always in the same order and these are explained here further:

Routinized problem solving: Is when repeated purchasing of the same product takes place, usually of low cost and limited external knowledge.
Problem recognition: Acknowledging that a purchase must be made to accomplish a need or want.
Information search: When the consumer collects information that compares the product before making a purchase decision.
Evaluation: Evaluating the information collected for the purpose of making an informed purchasing decision.
Decision: In terms of buyer behaviour, making the decision to purchase.
Purchase: When the act of exchange takes place.
Post purchase evaluation: When the product is evaluated and the consumer decides if they would re-purchase the product.
Straight re-buy: This is a term widely used by B2B when the consumer decides to re-buy the same product from the same supplier.
Total set: Meaning all the products that are available in the same category.
Awareness set: When the consumer is aware of the available items in the same category.
Evoked set: Are the products in the category that the consumer is aware of and intents to make a purchase choice from as they are at the front of mind.

2.4 How the decision making process works

The process of making a decision can be different for each individual but is largely accessed on the basis of common decision making traits by the decision making process. As the decision making process involves the use of thoughts and feelings, knowledge and past experiences, before the end decision is reached it can be affected by many external factors such as the opinions of others and previous behaviour associated with potential purchase.

Integrated marketing communications looks closer at the way the individuals purchasing and the decision making process is affected by external influences. IMC is described by Pelsmacker as “The idea behind integrated marketing communication is coordination of messages for maximum impact.” Pelsmacker describes this as an impart that is created through the use of synergy. Synergy is the linkages that are created in the indivduals mind as a result of the messages that are received to create an impact, described as an impact “beyond the power of any one message on its own.” (Pelsmacker De, P. 2001).

We have found that the decision making process consists of 5 main stages; the need of recognition and problem awareness, the use of information search, evaluation of any alternatives, purchase and the post purchase evaluation. This model suggests that each individual goes thought the same stages for every purchase; however for more routine purchases, it can be possible for the individual to miss out a stage or complete the decision process in the opposite order.

The need for recognition starts the decision making process, by making the individual recognise a need/problem or simply respond to a marketing based stimulus by thinking about the decision making process.

Problem awareness prompts the individual to consider how much or little information is needed. When the need is strongest to purchase, then the individual could make the purchasing decision to buy straight away; if the need is not strong then the individual will embark on processing information and will conduct an information search as Pelsmacker described.

An information search is the main influence on the individual’s decision making process. The individual may seek to obtain any relevant information from many different sources, including; family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours.

Commercial sources including advertising and sales people can also contribute. Sources considered as public such as newspapers, TV and radio can play a part in contributing. And finally, experiential sources such like physically handling, investigating and using the product will play a part in influencing the individual’s final purchasing decision.

Evaluation of alternatives encourages the individual to assess what else is available to them in the market place, assessing prices, alternative brands and brand credibility and benefits/services.

As every individual is different, the helpfulness and influence any sources of information could be to them will vary by product and individual.

Here the Foote Cone and beldin (FCB) shows how the levels of involvement are ranked in a grid format.

Foote Cone and Beldin (FCB) Involvement Grid

Think Feel

Informative (Thinker)

Learn-feel-do (Economic)Affective (Feeler)

Feel-learn-do (Psychological)

Habit formation (Doer)

Do-learn-feel (Responsive)

Self-satisfaction (Reactor)

Do-feel-learn (Social)

(Fill, C. 2009).

Involvement affects all consumers but in different ways. As different individuals can purchase the same product, their individual levels of involvement will be different as they are purchasing for different reasons and as the levels of involvement range from high to low there are always different expected outcomes as some individual’s levels of involvement could not be described simply as high or low.

Engel and Blackwell (1982) showed their understanding of involvement levels based solely on high involvement routine decision making and repeated purchase behaviour in the low involvement products. Where as in the Foote Cone and Beldin Grid, they have made their understanding on thinking and feeling.

For each factor there are resource implications as the individuals personal self-esteem can make the complex confusing. For example:

“The purchase of a can of tomatoes, or a carton of milk, should be regarded as relatively low involvement because it has little financial or social risk attached to it. By comparison, the purchase of a car or holiday is highly involving. The potential benefits from the success could be very high but the personal costs of failing could also be very high. In addition to the product itself being more or less involving, individuals themselves can have different levels of involvement.”

Pickton, D. Broderick, A. (2005).

The individual uses the information obtained to feel involved with the product they are considering purchasing. So where the involvement is regarded as high, the individual is more likely to carry out an extensive evaluation.

The post purchase evaluation is the final stage in the purchasing decision. If the individual is not entirely happy with the purchase they have made they may think that an alternative would have been better, this is called ‘cognitive dissidence’. When cognitive dissidence has taken place it is common that the individual will not repurchase straight away and will often choose a different brand when making a similar purchase in the future.

2.5 The impact of gender on the decision making process

It is fairly common that, as men and women want different products that they are going to have a unique to their gender characteristics, a process when deciding how to acquire the product they want.

It is also a widely regarded opinion that women do more shopping than men, does this make them more informed when making a purchasing decision perhaps, with all that experience surely women are more informed than men.

In recent research published by the NFWBO (National Federation of Woman Business Owners) it has been found that women are the primary decision makers in 85% of households, women make 75% of the decision when buying a new house and 81% about groceries. The article goes on to reveal that women are the main influencers on spending for the household and women have over taken men in spending online.

(http://www.bright-marketing.com/article-marketing-to-women-what-women-really-want.php)

Firstly there are many factors that point towards the notion that men and women are likely to make purchasing decisions differently. Hennig Thurau, (1998) cited in Mitchell, V. W., Walsh, G. (2006) found that men use more information and communications technology products (eg videos, mobile telephones and computers) than women, and that men show a greater interest in these products (Rudell, 1993) cited in Mitchell, V. W., Walsh, G. (2006) also that men show a increased interest for the latest technical products compared to women (Dialoge 4, 1995) cited in Mitchell, V. W., Walsh, G. (2006) .

It has been found that men are also more likely to engage in variety-seeking purchasing (Helmig, 1997) cited in Mitchell, V. W., Walsh, G. (2006), exhibit weaker brand involvement (Guest,1964) cited in Mitchell, V. W., Walsh, G. (2006), be less environmentally concerned and be less likely to buy environmentally-friendly products (Ozanne et al., 1999).

Having already established that men and women are looking for different outcomes in their purchasing decisions, gender affects consumers approaches to decision making (Mitchell and Walsh, 2004) and the decision difficulty (Walsh and Mitchell, 2005) cited in Mitchell, V. W., Walsh, G. (2006), while gender differences were also found for appearance-related attitudes and behaviour (Burton et al., 1994).

Mitchell and Walsh (2004) found in a study they lead which went further into examining how gender can affect the decision making process, that Sproles and Kendall’s (1986) ‘consumer styles inventory’ (CSI) had found five new male buyig behaviour categories, these discoveries include:

A need for satisfying
Enjoyment and variety seeking
Fashion and scale seeking
Time restricted
Economy seeking

Bakewell, C and Mitchell, V.W (2006) conducted a study on the different decision making styles of women and men, they used a sample of 480 young males and females and identified nine different decision making styles that both sexes used and three decision making styles that just males used which are;

Store loyalty and low price seeking
Confused time restricted
Store promiscuity.

These are interesting results, especially considering that young males have agreed with young females that they consider store loyalty important. Bakewell and Mitchell sum up their findings as this “The findings suggest retailers should focus on loyalty creation programmes, price related appeals and methods of improving shopping related efficiencies when targeting young male shoppers.”

Bakewell, C and Mitchell, V.W. 2006.

Elliott and Speck made an interesting discovery when they researched into how males and females differ when it comes to purchasing decision, they picked up on the fact that advertising affects individuals differently, even though all advertising is meant to make the consumer want that product that is being marketed to them. “Males are reported to perceive less advertisement clutter on television and in magazines” (Elliott and Speck,1998).

Unusually it has been found that at least 9 researchers have found in existing literature and agreed on the following point

“Consumer decision making is likely to be related to a number of consumer traits such as social class, the type of family unit, age, gender, lifestyle and life-stage – all of which can exert an influence.”

(Meyers-Levy and Maheswaran, 1991; Burton et al., 1994; Darley and Smith, 1995; Costa et al., 2001; Mitchell and Walsh, 2004. Cited in Beynon, M.J. et al. (2010)

This point is interesting as it shows that advertising does not affect every consumer the same way. So we know that males and females make purchasing decisions differently, but we are now aware that age, lifestyle and life stage can all contribute to the purchasing decision making process.

It has been found and proven by another group of researchers, that gender type differences are highly evident in the decision making and purchasing behaviour process; as gender characteristics are evaluated differently, depending on the gender of the individual (Gefen and Straub (1997), Venkatesh and Morris (2000) and Sun and Zhang (2006) cited in Hernandez, B. et al (2011).

We can reveal that the genders controlling the process all possess these three points:

Men are more pragmatic
Women experience greater anxiety when faced with new activities
Women are more strongly influenced by their immediate environment

2.6 Key findings from literature review

From investigating any relevant sources we have found that there are many factors, not just sex, that can affect the individuals buying behaviour such as: race, religion, culture which plays a great role in defining who we are from an early age. Family being a primary source and work colleagues being a secondary source are big external factors that can influence the individual’s decision.

Internally there are primary factors that affect how consumers make purchasing decisions, attitude, perceptions and learning styles are significantly great influences. These characteristics like age, gender, income and family style act as further determinants to what the consumer finds interesting and appealing.

Reed and Ewing (2004) describe the ‘Magic bullet’ theory is a stimulus-response concept; also how it was an underlying assumption of communication developed from early models of communication around the time of the evolution mass market (P.Reed and M.Ewing, 2004). The magic bullet theory was initially believed to be able to implant the media message to the audience in a ‘uniform’ fashion so that the audience would then be able to directly respond to the mass advertising message, sounding similar to a subliminal message theory.

The ‘magic bullet’ theory was proposed to work on the belief that consumers were rational decision makers who were actively seeking products information; subsequently allowing this theory to work on the grounds that the consumers could draw stored advertising and marketing information from their memory.

3. Research Methodology

3.1 Chapter introduction

The proposal of this research study is collect data from a sample of participants that will decide if the hypnotises is proven.

For the purpose of this study a sample of 100 consumers will be taken. 50 men and 50 women between the ages of 21-45 will be surveyed using questionnaires that will be distributed online.

The questionnaires will be sent to a small sample of respondents, the respondents will be firstly screened for their age and location, thought the best effort will be made to only contact respondents that meet the studies criteria.

The benefits of using the internet to distribute the questionnaires are that a theory known simply as the ‘snowball effect’ will help our questionnaire reach more respondents. This is because as we send our questionnaire to the selected respondents, they will forward on the link to our questionnaire to their friends, colleagues and family, who will be of similar specification to the respondents we original contacted. The ‘Snowball Effect’ is highly likely in this case and will be welcomed as it will add more credibility to the validity of the results.

A focus group will take place after the results of the online questionnaire are analysed. The researcher has chosen to conduct the research in this manner as they feel it will give the them a good idea of what topics within the research question need to be addressed and investigated further with the member of the focus group.

3.2 Research purpose

The purpose of this research study is to gather information on how and why males and females make their purchasing choices and decision making process when faced with the decision to purchase an item.

The research aim and objective of this research study is to establish and verify if in fact men and do think and act differently when faced with making a purchasing decision.

3.3 Research approach (including justification)

The approach used to conduct the qualitative and quantative research is based on academic methods which are widely recommended thought UK universities. The researcher has chosen to conduct the research for this study purpose in this manner, as it is widely understood and proven tool to collect and analyse research.

However a lot of academic research methods are out dated and long winded. In the case of this study purpose, the time constraint is just a few months so….??

3.4 Research strategy (including justification)

The research strategy is to firstly establish our target audience; once we are aware of them we can word our questionnaire suitably to their level. This is a key starting strategy, as if they do not understand what we are asking them, they cannot be expected to give an honest answer, subsequently making the results un-validable.

By selecting a sample group, it has given the researcher an opportunity to select from a wide range of consumers ie: professionals, students, unemployed and of different race and class. This is make sure every point is considered and analysed.

3.5 Time horizons (including justification)

The amount of time allocated to designing and completing this research task was 3 months.

2 weeks, 4 days and four hours it actually took from researching, to designing, to distributing to finally analysing the questionnaires.

To research into the target market: 1 week
To research into the design on questionnaires: 1 day
To design and create the questionnaire: 2 days
Sourcing contacts suitable for taking part: 3 hours
To distribute the questionnaires: 1 hour
Collecting and analysing results: 1 week

The researcher found time to complete this research around working a full time job, and made it possible in the time horizon stated.

3.6 Research methods (including sampling)

For this study purpose it was found the most effective way of producing a good quality of validable results using quantitative and qualitative research to gain a better understanding, first hand, of what today’s consumers are thinking and experiencing in the consumer market.

As stated in the previous chapter, the questionnaire was designed by our researcher. The questionnaire was reached and created to suit the level of participants who took part.

Using previous professional, academic and work colleagues the questionnaire was distributed thought email and posted on a social networking site. We felt both these avenues would be successful for our study purpose as we could reach a large amount of our sample.

From the link submitted in the email and social network post, we advised out target group follow the link to a survey specialist website, where they could fill in the questionnaire we designed.

We decided to use the survey specialist website for the reason that it was popular amongst other academics, it is trustiest and overall because it is safe. Safety is a big issue for consumers online and this is wanted to assure was fine.

Another option for collecting responses to our questionnaire was by post, we decided against this idea for the reasons, it is slow and costs money; whereas online is free and fast.

After we had reached a suitable number of responses we collected the results. After the results had been verified and sorted, our researched entered the data in a spread sheet. The data was then analysed into percentages and made into graphs.(Please see appendix 3.)

The sampling has been aimed at including consumers between the ages of 21-45 because this guarantees that each individual has had experience in different purchasing scenarios and will be more inclined to be open and honest in their answers.

Sampling is seen to be appropriate for this study purpose as time and money are a constraint meaning that a survey of the whole nation would take far too long and cost far too much money for this study purpose and could ultimately restrict the data collected to a sample between the ages of 16-40 in the UK and Ireland.

The design of the questionnaire will be simple but not basic, with no confusing or ‘trick’ questions. The use of simple language will be used to insure that any questions will not be misinterpreted.

3.7 Data handling

All data received from the participants will be treated confidentially and will not be used for any other purpose or shared with any third parties.

3.8 Data analysis

Questions were sent out via email to a large number of particiapnts, they were specially selected, depending on age range (16-40) and location.

The researcher specifically controlled where the questionnaires were being sent as they did only want to receive replies from UK and Ireland consumers. Keeping the research within in boundaries has prevented the sample on becoming to large or collecting information that could not be used.

Information that couldn’t be used for this study purpose would be from an individual aged under or above the requirements as this wouldn’t be viable from this study. Also individuals from other countries as this study is just testing the hypnotises in the UK and Ireland.

3.9 Data quality

As the sample used to collect the qualitative data for this researched has been kept small, it allows the researcher to pay special attention to the results.

The results will be analysed using excel, excel is a reliable and provides excellent validity to the results.

The results will be calculated into percentages to give a good idea of how many participants answered each question.

Each questions results will be displayed in a range of graphs, these include pie charts, bar charts, line charts and others.

3.9.1 Reliability

It was intended to keep the sample for this research purpose between 80-100 participants, this was to insure that every question answered could be entered into the excel database with ease, ensuring that the researcher did not miss any answers.

To make sure the results reliable, any answers send by participants that did not meet the requirements of age and location were safely disposed of. Special care was taken here so that the main sample was not affected and kept to the guidelines stated by the researcher.

3.9.2 Validity

For collecting the research there has been special attention paid to collecting both forms of qualitative and quantitative data, this is to insure that our results are fair as they will be analysed by a profession.

3.10 Ethical considerations

With a respect to ethics, each individual taking part in this research will be treated with an un-bias, understanding and fair attitude.

To ensure that this project treats all individuals who take part in it and form part of the research, each participant will agree to sign a consent form being signed before taking part in the research.

The consent form will give the participants ‘peace of mind’ that none of the information they share with the researcher will be shared with anybody else. All participants information will be safely stored, where they cannot be tampered with thought-out this study purpose. After this study purpose all information kindly collected from the questionnaire and focus group will be safely disposed of (shredded).

3.11 Chapter summary

In this chapter we have discussed how to the research required for this study purpose would be carried out

4 Results

4.1 Chapter introduction

In this chapter we will be examining the results interpreted from the data collected from our sample.

All results are available in the appendix chapter of this document, they will be referred to thought-out this chapter.

Interpretation – okay – you are going to add the statistics (nice, colourful charts I hope!) in an Appendix. But interpreting and reporting the results of No. 4 needs to be informative but above all, interesting. Feeding the anticipation I mentioned above is important.

So, for example, you found that more 20-year old females bought Nike trainers than 20-year old males after seeing a male-dominated Nike advert – wouldn’t that be a big surprise to the marketeers?

So that kind of stuff – beating the old stereotypes – finding something new is essential to the analysis and conclusion of the thesis.

4.2 (sub-sections reflecting the issues covered in your data, 4.2, 4.3 etc.)

4.3 Chapter summary

5 Discussion

5.1 Chapter introduction

54.2 (sub-sections reflecting your research objectives, 5.2, 5.3 etc.)

5.3 Chapter summary

6 Conclusions

6.1 Chapter introduction

6.2 (Sub-sections reflecting your research objectives, 6.2, 6.3 etc.)

6.3 Implications for research

6.4 Implications for practic

6.5 Revisiting the limitation

6.6 Directions for future research

6.7 Chapter summary

7 Appendices

7.1 Appendix One – Personal reflection on the research process

7.2 Appendix Two – Research ethics form and associated strategy

7.3 Original copy of questionnaire

Categories
Free Essays

In what ways are social class, ‘race’/ethnicity, and gender problematic identity constructions? And how can they affect achievement in education?

Abstract

An examination of the problematic identity constructions associated with social class, race / ethnicity and gender. Theories of essentialism and social constructism are used to understand these notions, and to assess the extent to which they can affect achievement in education.

1. Introduction

The following will take a theoretical approach using contrasting ideas about the nature of social reality to look at problems of race / ethnicity, social class and gender / sexual identity, and the impact each has on equality in education.

Social constructivism is the idea that there is no one objective reality shared by everyone. The meaning of physical reality is created by individuals and groups through beliefs based on their past experience and predispositions (Walsh 2010). Social constructivism has been widely influential in the social sciences and humanities, and was shaped by a number of theorists including Vygotsky (1925) whose studies of how children learn emphasizes the role of a social framework for education, and also by Berger and Luckmann (1966), who popularized the notion in English speaking countries (Van Dusek 2006). Social constructivist approaches to race, class and gender suggest that the way we perceive each is a function of history and culture, rather than a given objective fact.Our views of women and men, and the roles appropriate to each, for example, is rooted in the political climate, and relates to social power structures (Hirschmann 2003)

By contrast, essentialism is the view that the characteristics ascribed to members of different races or sexual identities are fixed and objective. It suggests that the way things are perceived reflects the essential nature of that thing. The essence is a causal mechanism for the properties things display (Mahalingam 2003). When applied to sexuality, for example, an essentialist view suggests that orientation is based upon an inner state which causes a person’s sexual feelings and actions. The view also holds that the essence is either biologically caused or acquired in the first few years of development (Clarke et al 2010).

While race, gender and class can be viewed alone, more recently an ‘intersectional’ approach has emerged, pointing out that these three constructs overlap, and can create layer upon layer of disadvantage and multiple oppression. Suggested by Crenshaw (1991), intersectionality shows that social identity is created in a more complex way than we might have thought (Berger 2006).

2.1 Race / Ethnicity

It is certainly the case that different races and ethnicities are characterised by differing physical appearances, including colour of skin and facial features. However, an essentialist view of race and ethnicity would suggest that each race also has a number of behavioural, mental and intellectual characteristics which distinguish them from other races. For example, there is an assumption that native Hawaiians are lazy, of low intelligence, promiscuous, hospitable and easy-going (Ponterollo et al 2009). Essentialism may also suggest that the characteristic traits are genetic, and that some races / ethnicities are superior to others.

Essentialism in approaches to race and ethnicity seem to be rooted in a late 19th century scientific viewpoint which assumed biological explanations for a range of human characteristics (Rubin 2005), and which naturalised traits such as racial difference. It has been suggested that essentialism still exists in educational, with the belief that each race had a distinct and fixed character, and that different racial groups should be taught with this in mind (Giroux and Shannon 1997).

There are a number of clear problems with essentialist theories of race and ethnicity. For example, attempts to put humans into racial groups seem to use arbitrary selection of traits with no clear explanation of why these traits are important. In addition, essentialist views, fail to account for the richness of human life, culture and experience. Finally, essentialist theories seem to lack significance. What use can they be put to(Corlett, 2003). Further, it has been pointed out that the genetic basis for ethnic essentialism is flawed, as races exhibit greater genetic differences within themselves than between one race and another (Hill and Cole 2001).

Essentialism is often associated with racism: the idea that “people are seen as causing negative consequences for other groups, or as possessing certain negatively evaluated characteristics because of their biology” (Hill and Cole 2001, p. 162). In education, it might lead, for example, to an assumption that children of a certain race are less intellectually able than others, and hence to a reduced attempt to engage with them; or to the assumption that black people excel at sports (Hill and Cole 2001).

In contrast, a social constructivist approach to race and ethnicity seems a more useful one for equality in education. This position allows for greater flexibility as race and ethnicity are seen as dynamic forces, subject to change and shaped by power relationships and cultural forms that dominate the institutions in which they are found (Giroux and Shannon 1997). The social constructivist sees race as a construct “a concept that signifies and symbolises socio-political conflicts and interests in reference to different types of human body” (Winant 2001, p. 317; cited Dillon 2009). Race is not a biologically determined set of fixed characteristics, but rather a complex mix of projections regarding inequality, hierarchical relationships and conflict which have been used to differentiate, regulate and shape reactions between people. The set of presuppositions about racial characteristics become objectified into social institutions and cultures. They are a consequence of social attitudes and decisions made about other people by individuals and groups (Dillon 2009).

Because racial differences are encapsulated in social institutions, and as education is an institutionally based phenomenon, racial prejudice and distinctions made between ethnicities need to be accounted for in education, and it seems important to reject an essentialist view in favour of a constructivist one, with the insight that perceived differences in learning ability, for example, are a consequence of historical political and social vested interests, and do not reflect an underlying reality.Within the UK, there has been a move towards eradicating racism within education. An unthinking mono-cultural approach which promoted British colonial history has given way to a multi-cultural one. Nowadays, an awareness of legislation and regulations regarding race are built into teacher training, for example it is stated that student teachers need to be familiar with the 1976 Race Relations Act, which outlawed discrimination between racial groups. A number of other laws and regulations since have framed education, including codes of practice issued by the Commission for Racial Equality, and more recent directives introduced by the European Court of Human Rights (Hill and Cole 2001).

Despite the existence of such legislation, there is still a question regarding whether racism is still part of the education system. If we accept the social constructivist view, while racist attitudes are open to change, they are deeply embedded in the culture. Schools and other educational bodies may be subject to ‘institutional racism’, “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin” (MacPherson et al 1999). Institutional racism is enshrined in the culture of an organisation, and individuals who make up the organisation may not even be aware of it. If an institution is predominantly white, it is likely that it has practices which exclude non-white people. The Stephen Lawrence enquiry in the UK in 1999 brought the issue to public attention, and a number of changes to the national curriculum, reporting procedures and monitioring levels were made.

2.2 Social Class

The UK is still heavily stratified in terms of class, with resulting inequalities, poverty and social exclusion. The division between rich and poor has increased over the last 20 years, with the rich becoming even better off, and the less well off even poorer.There are various views of what the class system means. Class can be characterised on the basis of occupation and education, with manual (skilled, unskilled or semi skilled) trades equated with the working class, white collar workers with the middle classes, and professionals with the upper classes (Hill and Cole 1999). Marxism has offered a long-lasting analysis of class, suggesting that it is a vehicle whereby the interests of a few are allowed to override the interests of the many.Marx saw society as a history of class struggle, and class as closely tied up with the interests of capitalism, under which the means of economic production are placed in the hands of a small number, with most people having to sell their labour to survive. Marxists also suggest that the education system was class-ridden, existing primarily to tend to the interests of the elite by a process of ‘economic reproduction’, training people to take up a place in the work force, and by ‘cultural reproduction’’, by which children are educated to believe that the upper classes tastes are the norm, and working class ones should be rejected (Hill and Cole 1999).

It has been claimed that Marxism challenges essentialism, for example by opposing the notion that the division between the working and upper classes is ‘natural’ and ‘fair’. However, many suggest that Marxism is in fact inherently essentialist rather than allowing fluidity in the class structure. For example, Marx believed in the fixed nature of the key concepts he used, ‘the individual’, ‘class’ and ‘the state’. He further assumes that people are members of a particular class for life, rather than able to move from one class to another. He also suggests that there is a unity to the concept of the ‘working class’, for example, over and above the shared conceptions of all the people who make up the class (Wolfreys 2006). Littlejohn (1978) suggests that for Marx, social class expresses an ‘essence’, with political movement reduced to expressions of interests determined elsewhere. In addition, Littlejohn suggests, Marx saw society as having a fixed, stratified structure in which economics underpinned political, legislative and cultural layers (Littlejohn 1978).

Post-modernism has suggested that the Marxist notion of class is no longer relevant, and argues that we are now in a post-capitalist era, in which the old social distinctions play no part (Hill and Cole 1999). Post-modernism is consistent with social constructivism, as it suggests that there is no reason to believe in an objective, fixed society, and that we rather need to study discourses and texts to understand what social constructs mean for the people who interpret them. For the post-modernist, personal identity has become fragmented and decentralised, and the notion of class has lost power as it has become subsumed by other measures of identity including gender and race. As identity is fragmented, so individuals can define themselves as classless, or move from class to class (Lareau and Conely 2008). In short, “social class has… ceased to be of central empirical significance to our culture” (Milner, 1999). However, this view is widely disputed, for example by Hill, who suggests that post-modernists are simply unable – or unwilling – to recognize the divisive power of class in today’s society (Hill, 2002).

The growth in the gap between rich and poor does suggest that class issues are still relevant. In terms of education and equality, it seems that class does play a role. Bordieu, for example, carried out empirical studies in French educational establishments, and showed that family background, social class and school are linked, with schools still representing the social and economic inequalities found in wider society. His suggestions have been confirmed by work in the US, suggesting that social differences are reinforced by the education system there, for example the policy of elite colleges such as Harvard to favour children of ex-students. Dillon also points out that access to education is not enough to increase social mobility, as working class students are likely to lack the abilities to make the most of their education that their middle class peers take for granted, for example skills in networking (Dillon 2009). It is also possible that more recent changes to education frameworks in the UK including raised fees for higher education and more freedom for schools to select pupils will create a climate which introduces further divisions between classes in an ‘increasingly segregated system’ (Taylor 2006).

2.3. Gender / Sexual Identity

Similarly, gender and sexual identity are notions with inherent problems. If we adhere to an essentialist view, it would be assumed that certain characteristics are attached to people of each gender, for example men are more intelligent, better with machinery, and better at sports, with women more suited to home making and issues to do with emotions. Similarly, an essentialist perspective might suggest that gay men are uniformly ‘camp’, dress flamboyantly and have a high-pitched voice, with lesbians likely to look like men and have a rough manner.

By assuming that men and women have certain characteristics which define them, stereotyping is more likely to arise. Stereotypes can be acquired through family and wider society, and often develop at a young age, although are complex in nature and the precise nature of the stereotyped characteristics can vary considerably. Stereotypes are not innate: children first learn to differentiate between men and women before later ascribing sets of characteristics to them (Schneider 2004). Stereotypes both influence, and are influenced by, the role men and women play in society. They are problematic in that they not only describe differences between men and women, but also dictate what roles they should play. This can lead to oppression and the suppression of an individual’s freedom. Stereotypes cover a wide range of areas including cognitive abilities, physical appearance, behaviour and emotion. While stereotypes about both gender and sexual orientation are less oppressive now than they have been in the past, prejudice based on such labelling is still in existence, perhaps in a more subtle way (Worrell 2001), for example concerning whether women are expected to do as well in education as men.

Stereotyping on the basis of gender or orientation can lead to oppression and inequality as it reinforces prejudices about difference, and can help maintain inequality and perpetuate injustices. Stereotypical views about men and women may be used to justify unfair treatment, for example paying women less on the assumption that work is less important to them (Andersen and Taylor, 2007). Awareness of the ways in which women are oppressed by men has increased since the advent of feminism, which uncovered the ways in which there is an unfair balance of social and economic power between men and women, and the extent to which men have a vested interest in controlling women to maintain this balance in their favour. Oppression of women, it has been argued, is carried out not just by individuals but is built into social and institutional structure so pervasively that it is not always obvious (Choudhuri 2008). Similarly, oppression and inequality can damage those of non-mainstream sexual orientations, particularly gay men and lesbians. While awareness, understanding and tolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people (GLBT) has increased over the last hundred years, negative treatment has not been removed. “Prejudice, discrimination and oppression on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity permeate our sociocultural context, affecting everyone in deleterious ways” (Messinger 2006, p. 44).Oppression on the basis of sexual orientation can take various forms including exploitation (not offering gay workers the same rights for spouses as given to different sex couples), powerlessness (disrespectful treatment, discrimination in the work place), systematic violence (verbal or physical abuse directed at an individual solely because he or she is gay) and cultural imperialism (the assumption that the worldview of the prevailing, ‘straight’ culture is the correct one) (Messinger 2006).

Within education, therefore, there is a clear need to work against discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, although such discrimination may well be institutionalised and hence less visible. Equality can be worked towards through a variety of methods including understanding the complexity of sexuality and gender, being aware of an challenging heterosexual assumptions and practices, understanding the role education can play in overturning prejudice, challenging homophobia, understanding how gender and orientation issues can intersect with race and class, and learning about LGBT histories (Banks and Banks 2009). Even in these seemingly more enlightened times, research evidence from the USA suggests that LGBT pupils are at higher risk of harassment within their educational instutites: many reported feeling unsafe while in school (64% compared with 10% of pupils who felt unsafe because of their gender), while many lesbian pupils reported physical and verbal harassment and victimisation (Klein 2007). Within the UK, legislation does exist to ensure equality for LGBT teachers, and a national initiative to reduce homophobic bullying was launched with incidents logged and a teaching programme suggested (Sears 2005).

3. Conclusion

If a teacher subscribed to an essentialist view of gender, race and class, he or she might believe that one or other gender, race or social group is inherently better than others at academic subjects. This might lead to situations where the academic performance of the pupil was affected negatively or positively. For example, a belief that boys are better capable of mathematics or science might lead to the teacher spending more time with the boys, praising their good work more enthusiastically or not helping girls. A belief that Afro-Carribean boys are noisy and don’t care about their education might lead to the teacher being more harsh with boys of this race, assuming that they are more likely to be disruptive in class. A similar belief might cause the teacher to assume they are unlikely to be interested in certain subjects.Similarly, the teacher might assume that working class pupils were inherently less intelligent, and might as a result spend less time with them, and not work to encourage any goals of further education. On the other hand, by taking a constructivist view, there is more scope for children to be seen as individuals, and not typecast by their class, sex and ethnic background. A constructivist might also be aware of the extent to which an educational institution is sexist, racist or classist as part of its very structure, and take more steps to counteract this.

References

Andersen, M L And Taylor, H F (2007) Sociology: understanding a diverse society (4th edn), Cengage Learning, Belmont CA

Banks, J A and Banks, C A M (2009) Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, John Wiley and Sons, USA.

Berger, P L and Luckmann, T (1966), The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Anchor Books, NY.

Berger, M T (2006) Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Choudhuri, L (2008) Community Planning for Intervention for Victims of Domestic Violence, Kassel university press, Kassel.

Clarke, V, Ellis, S J, Peel, E, Riggs, D W (2010) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer Psychology: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambs.

Corlett, J A (2003) Race, racism, and reparations, Cornell University Press, USA

Crenshaw, K W, (1991) ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color’, Stanford Law Review, 43:6, 1241-1299.

Dillon, M (2009) Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and Their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, John Wiley and Sons, USA

Dusek, V (2006) Philosophy of technology: an introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden MA / Oxon.

Giroux, H A and Shannon, P (1997) Education and cultural studies: toward a performative practice, Routlege, UK

Hill, D (2002) Marxism against postmodernism in educational theory, Lexington Books, Oxon

Hill, D and Cole, M (1999) Promoting equality in secondary schools, Continuum International Publishing Group, London, New York

Hill, D and Cole, M (2001) Schooling and equality: fact, concept and policy, Routledge, UK

Hirschmann, N J (2003) The subject of liberty: toward a feminist theory of freedom, Princeton University Press, Princetown NJ.

Klein, S S (2007) Handbook for achieving gender equity through education (2nd edn.), Routledge / Lawrence Erlbaum , Mahwah, NJ.

Lareau, A and Conley, D (2008) Social class: how does it work?, Russell Sage Foundation, New York.

Lawson, H and Scott, D (2002) Citizenship education and the curriculum, Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport CT

Littlejohn, G (1978) Power and the state, Taylor & Francis, London

Mahalingam, R (2003) ‘Essentialism, Culture, and Power: Representations of Social Class’, Journal of Social Issues, 59:4, 733-749.

McPherson, W, Cook, T, Sentamu, J and Stone, R (1999) The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, HMSO, London

Milner, A (1999) Class, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Morrow, D F and Messinger, L (2006) Sexual orientation and gender expression in social work practice: working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, Columbia University Press, New York

Ponterotto, J G, Suzuki, L A, Casas, J M and Alexander, C M (2009) Handbook of Multicultural Counseling (3rd edn.), SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

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Schneider, D J (2004) The psychology of stereotyping, Guilford Press, NY.

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Taylor, M (2006) ‘It’s official: class matters’, The Guardian, Tuesday 28 February 2006.

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Worell, J (2001) Encyclopedia of women and gender: sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender, Elsevier, USA

Categories
Free Essays

How does gender discrimination manifest itself in a workplace?

Introduction

In 2000 the United Nations established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These eight goals focused on international development were accepted by 193 member states of the United Nations as well as by 23 international organizations. One of MDGs became to promote gender equality and to empower women (Rao, 2012). Therefore, women’s rights and gender discrimination have become the important topics on the international agenda with the beginning of the twenty first century. Not only did international community aim to improve social status of women (i.e. living standards) but it also focused on the economic situation of women, in particular on gender inequality at work. Despite these ambitious goals, Global Report prepared by International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2011 warned that “Women continue to suffer discrimination in almost all aspects of employment, including the jobs they can obtain, their remuneration, benefits and working conditions, and their access to decision-making positions” (ILO, 2011, p.19). In the recent years there was a few well-known cases of gender discrimination at work. One of them is the example of Morgan Stanley’s, investment banking business. The company had to pay $54 million to its 300 female employees after they postulated that they have been treated unequally compared to their male colleagues in reference to payment and promotion opportunities. Following the statistics of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a number of discriminatory lawsuits have increased in the last decade (Welle and Heilman, 2005). The issues presented above indicate that gender discrimination is still an inherent element of the work places.

The following essay is an in-depth analysis of gender inequality at work that aims to examine various types of gender discrimination in a workplace. First, the essay defines term “gender discrimination” and presents the methods of measuring discrimination in order to gain detail understanding of researched topic. Second, the essay analyzes changes in gender inequality between 1970[1] and 2010 such as labour market participation, pay gap and occupational segregation in order to examine the improvement of women’s working situation within last 40 years. Further, the essay considers current forms of gender discrimination, in particular problem of women’s career advancement and sexual harassment. Moreover, the essay studies the roots of gender inequality at work with an emphasis on gender stereotyping. Finally, the essay presents various actions taken by the national governments and international organizations in the last decade in order to combat gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination – definition

According to the EU legislation, gender discrimination may have a direct or indirect character. Direct discrimination is defined as a case where “one person is treated less favourably on grounds of sex than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation” (Prechal and Burri, 2009, p. 4). Typical example of direct discrimination is wage gap between women and men who perform the same duties in a workplace. Direct discrimination does not include the situations where the sex of the person is a factor that determines the job. For instance, a male role in the movie has to be performed by a man (Welle and Heilman, 2005). In turn, indirect discrimination is regarded as a situation where “an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of one sex at a particular disadvantage compared with persons of the other sex unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary” (Prechal and Burri, 2009, p. 4). A form of indirect discrimination is a part-time contract as a basis of women’s employment, typically preferred by the employers.

Over the past years a number of methods have been developed in order to analyze gender discrimination at work. Standard measures are women’s participation in labour force as well as the gender gap in earnings (Cotter et.al., 2004). In 2008 the ILO introduced two new indicators. These indicators were occupational segregation by sex as well as female share of employment in managerial and administrative occupations[2]. It is worth to mention about three groups of indicators developed by the EU. First group are indicators that measure discrimination and aim to expose gaps, disadvantages and other differentials affecting people protected by equality policies and anti-discrimination law. Second group constitute indicators that measure progress with anti-discrimination law. They intend to analyze how quickly and accurately public policies instruments and legal tools are implemented. Finally there are indicators that measure the consequences of anti-discrimination law. Their purpose is to examine how effective the implemented policies are in combating inequalities (ILO, 2011). It is also important to add that the organizations use different methods of data collection and hence, the data on women employment and gender discrimination may vary. However, in order to gain a detail insight into the problem of gender discrimination at work it is crucial to consider these diversified data.

Changes in gender inequality at work between 1970 and 2010

Over the last forty years, there have been massive changes in the gender composition of the global workforce. Women have strengthened their position on the labour market and gender discrimination at work has tended to decline. Three indicators should be considered in order to demonstrate these transformations. These are labour force participation rate, occupational segregation and pay gap, as these indicators are often perceived as prime indicators of changes in women’s status (Cotter, 2004) and hence, have significant implications for gender discrimination at work. Considering first labour force participation rate, an increase of female participation rate has been observed between 1970 and 2008. As Appendix 1 presents women aged 25-54 increased their labour force participation rate progressively from 42% in 1970 to 74% in 2000 while the men aged 25-54 decreased their participation rate from 94% in 1970 to 86% (Cotter, 2004). According to the ILO’s methodology[3], global participation rate of women grew from 50.2% in 1980to 52.2% in 1990 and settled at 51.7% in 2008. In turn, male participation rate decreased gradually from 82% in 1980 to 77.7% in 2008 (ILO, 2011). An increased participation of women in the labour market is mostly responsible for the changing composition of the global workforce. Amongst the most important reasons of growing female participation rate are better access to education for women, changing social, religious and cultural norms, marital power or political regime (Acker, 2006). It is crucial to add that female participation rate depends on the factors such as race, age, education level or marital status and hence, may vary across different types of women[4] (Cotter, 2004).

In reference to the patterns in women’s and men’s occupations, women and men perform very different kinds of job and there is a strong division on female and male occupations. As Appendix 2 indicates most of women have been hired in female jobs. Between 1970 and 2010 a number of women working in female occupations have grown steadily what confirmed their increased participation in the labour market. One the other hand, over the past decades women have also gained an access to the jobs that had previously been unavailable to them. A number of women have successfully found employment in the professions such as lawyers and judges, doctors, architectures or policewomen (Appendix 3), typically perceived as male occupations. It is worth notice that there are still various professions that women have a limited access to. Amongst the most important are automobile mechanics as well as airplane pilots and navigators (Wright and Rogers, 2010).

Finally, pay gap between men and women is perhaps the least visible indicator of work-related gender inequality. From 1970 women’s average earnings have grown steadily, while men’s average earnings increased until the mid-1980s, stagnated until the early 1990s and then declined. In 1995 men’s average earnings started to increase again. Although the pay gap between women and men was reduced during the last 40 year, until this day women earn much less than men. In the 1970s the average women who worked full-time earned approximately 62% of the salary estimated for the average men at that time (Cotter, 2004). Currently, there is no statistics on the global gender pay gap, as it varies significantly across the regions. In 2010 the OECD report stated that the average gender pay gap for people being in full-time employment amounted to 17.6 % across the OECD countries (Appendix 4). It indicates that even the countries and regions strongly focused on the elimination of gender inequality at work still struggle with significant earnings gap. Moreover, the ILO postulates that there is still a large number of developing countries where women earn on average between 70-90% of men’s payment (ILO, 2011).

The following analysis of the changing patterns in gender inequality between 1970 and 2000 has two main implementations. First, gender discrimination at work still persists. The labour force is still dominated by men. Men and women are still highly concentrated in typically male and female occupations, respectively. Moreover, there is still a large inequality in the average earnings between men and women. Second, gender discrimination in the labour market has decreased since 1970. However, while a sharp decline in gender inequality falls on the 1970s and the 1980s, this decline seems to have stalled from the 1990s. The primary outcomes of the analysis by the end of the 2000s closely resemble the outcomes at the beginnings of the 1990s. It indicates that strengthening women’s position at work has mostly fallen on the 1970s and the 1980s, while the steps taken by the countries and organizations in last two decades brought much less positive changes to gender discrimination. It also indicates that no pattern of stability have been observed over these 40 years in reference to the reduction of gender discrimination (Cotter, 2004).

Gender discrimination in a workplace

Three primary indicators of the changes in women’s status at work do not reflect fully the problem of gender discrimination in the workplace any longer. In the previous decades a limited access to the labour market and pay gap were the signs of gender discrimination at work. Currently there are various forms of formal and informal discrimination of women in a workplace. While formal discrimination regards the limitations in the access to particular job positions, advancement opportunities and compensation for women, informal discrimination refers to the particular unfavourable situations that woman may face in a workplace. Five forms of discrimination[5] seem to be particularly visible in the current workplaces.

Considering first formal discrimination, its major form is women’s problem with promotion and climbing career ladder in a work place. There is a common opinion amongst the employers that the jobs which concentrate the most power (i.e. organizational leadership, public governance) are male occupations. These positions require particular attributes and skills such as decisiveness and task-orientation, believed to be inherent attributes of male workers. In result, women have significantly lower chances for promotions than their male colleagues (Welle and Heilman, 2005). In order to prove that, it is worth to mention the statistics of the European Institute for Gender Equality. Women represent on average 59% of university graduates within the EU. However, approximately 3% of president roles within the European companies are allocated to women. Similarly, only 12% of them find employment in the company’s management board. Moreover, in the EU the unemployment rate remains higher for women rather than men (Rchland, 2011). It is also important to notice that the EU is one of the most developed regions in the world that aims to promote equal employment opportunities. It indicates that the problem of promotion and successful career might be more serious in other regions across the world, in particular in developing countries due to the traditional perception of women’s responsibilities and limited access to education for women. For instance, in India women represent just under 1% of all positions in the management boards (Rchland, 2011). Another indicator of women’s discrimination in terms of promotion and career is a percentage of women’s representation in national parliaments, used by the United Nations. As Appendix 5 demonstrates, in the developing countries women’s constitute 18% of the representation in national parliaments, while this percentage is only insignificantly higher for the developed regions and amounts to 23%. Hence, women across the world have also got serious problem with accessing prestige public positions (The United Nations, 2011).

Regarding informal discrimination, its prominent example is the employment status of women. As Appendix 6 shows, part-time employment is a common characteristic of the female labour participation, even in the most developed countries across the globe. While some women decide to knowingly choose part-time jobs in order to combine employment with household responsibilities, a significant number of women is forced by the employers to choose part-time work, as it is preferable form of women’s employment in most of the companies (ILO, 2010). Additionally, women are more likely hired in informal sectors than man are. This trend is particularly strong in various developing countries such as Kenya, Chad or Bolivia (Appendix 7). These forms of employment have various costs for women such as low job security, low payments[6] as well as limited access to the basic public services (i.e. public health care). As a result, women are exposed to the marginalization (ILO, 2010; The World Bank, 2012).

Another form of informal discrimination is sexual harassment. Research conducted by ILO revealed, that approximately 40-50% of women in the EU complain about various forms of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual behaviours that they had to face in a workplace. Similarly, UN’s analysis in Asia-Pacific countries showed that 30-40% of women in this region experienced similar abuses. In New South Wales (Australia) sexual harassment became the largest category of work-related complaints in 2009 (ILO, 2011). These examples of sexual harassment strongly underline an existing problem of gender discrimination in the workplace. It is important to add that these unwanted sexual behaviours tend to increase in the recent years. Due to the current economic crisis, women’s employment is highly precarious. Many employers and male workers at the prestige position within a company may take advantages of current situation on the labour market in order to increase these negative behaviours (ILO, 2011).

Finally, informal discrimination of women at work also concerns maternity status. The Maternity Protection Convention from 2000 states that the benefits should be provided for pregnant women so they can ensure accurate level of living standards and good health both for themselves and for the child. According to the ILO survey from 2010, in a number of countries across the world the governments do not provides maternity benefits by themselves. They also fail to obligate employers to deliver such benefits. These negative patterns exist in mostly in developing countries. However, there is also a significant number of developed countries such as the United States where the national legislation does not obligate to provide cash benefits to pregnant women. Hence, as a consequence of pregnancy women have been disadvantaged at work (ILO, 2011).

The roots of gender discrimination in a workplace

As gender discrimination commonly appears in the workplaces, it is crucial to consider the causes of this discrimination. A major determinant of gender discrimination at work are cultural beliefs about the gender, as people translate “ideas about gender into discriminatory behaviours through sex categorization and gender stereotyping”. (Bobbit-Zeher, 2011, p.766). These stereotypes can be further divided into two groups, descriptive stereotypes and prescriptive stereotypes.While descriptive stereotypes refers to the collection of attributes and traits that has been unique for women or men, prescriptive stereotype concerns a set of characteristics and attributes that define what women and men should be like. These stereotypes of gender may lead to different ways of discrimination. Descriptive stereotyping will cause discriminatory behaviour when the attributes associated with that stereotype does not match the attributes required in a particular job. A good example is that women are less likely hired in male gender-typed jobs. Typical attributes of women are relationship-orientation and nurturance, while male gender-typed jobs require usually decisiveness and task-orientation that are regarded as typical male characteristics. Hence, the employers often believe that men will be more successful in male occupations due to their congenital attributes. This fact works against women, particularly in reference to highly prestige job vacancies in senior management. These positions are perceived as male gendered-typed and hence, women are less likely to perform them. In turn, prescriptive stereotyping will lead to discriminatory behaviours when the attributes associated with gender do not match expectation of employers and coworkers. This stereotype is based on the assumption what women should be like and how she should behave. If women undermine typical attributes of women by her behaviour (i.e. being extremely successful while performing male gender-typed job) it might lead to disapproval and hostile reactions from employers and coworkers (Welle and Heilman, 2005).

It is important to add that also organizational structure, policies and practices contribute to gender discrimination. For instance, the company is dominated by male workers may decide to hire women. It may lead to women’s exposure to sexual harassment and various forms of provocation from their male coworker’s side, as a consequence of men’s attempts to demonstrate their strong position within a company in order to preserve it. Also actions and interactions within a company may cause gender discrimination. Institutional actors are responsible for hiring and firing, performance evaluation and promotions. Therefore, actions and interactions within a company affect both gendered belief and organizational context and hence, may contribute to gender discrimination (Bobbit-Zeher, 2011).

Conclusion

To sum up, the following essay provided strong evidences that gender discrimination is an inherent element of the contemporary workplaces. Three primary indicators of changes in women’s employment status proved that gender inequality had significantly declined over last forty years while the position of women on the labour market strengthened. Nowadays women have a significant share in global labour force and enjoy an access to these vacancies that were previously reserved for male workers. Nonetheless, until this day women meet significant forms of gender discrimination in the workplaces. One of its most prominent forms are difficulties in climbing career ladder and problems with advancement opportunities that women have to face in most of the workplaces. Until this day there is still a large pay gap between women and men, even in the developed countries. Additionally, women are often refused a full-time employment and are hired on the basis of the part-time contracts. Further, women often find difficulties in fulfilling obligations by their employers when they are on the maternity leave. Finally, women are exposed to various discriminatory behaviours from their male colleagues, in particular to sex harassment and various forms of provocation. The gender discrimination has strong roots in the cultural views of gender and the stereotypical concept of women as fragile and weak. Also practices and policies implemented by organizations are in favour of spreading gender discrimination.

A number of positive steps was taken in the recent years in order to tackle the problem of gender discrimination. For instance, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises launched the Female Future programme (FF) in 2002. It was an eighteen months training which main purpose was to identify talented women in the Norwegian labour force and to move them quickly into leadership roles. This program was further accepted by other countries such as Japan, Austria or Uganda (Rchland, 2011). Another example can be EU Strategy for Equality between Women and Men (2010-2015) accepted by the European Commission. The strategy defined five priorities which should be realized to improve gender equality. These priorities were equal economic independence; equal pay for work and work for equal value; equality in decision-making; dignity, integration and the end to gender-based violence as well as gender equality in external actions (ILO, 2011). Further, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) started a campaign, Decent Work, Decent Life Campaign that intended to promote the rights of these workers that are highly vulnerable to discrimination. Over a hundred trade unions from 64 countries have been involved in this campaign. Also some national governments took steps to combat gender discrimination. For instance, Norway developed a program which obligated all the large publicly limited companies to ensure that 40% of their board members constitute women. This program is currently implemented in France (Rchland, 2011). Although a significant number of various initiatives have been developed to promote gender equality at work in the recent years, more time is needed to assess the effectiveness of these steps.

List of references:

Acker, J., (2006). Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class and Race in Organizations. Thousand Oak: Sage.
Bobbit-Zeher, D., (2011). Gender discrimination at work: Connecting Gender Stereotypes, Institutional Policies and Gender Composition of Workplace. Thousand Oak: Sage.
Cotter, D., al., (2004). Gender Inequality at Work. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.
International Labour Organization, (2010). Women in labour markets: Measuring progress and identifying challenges. Geneva: International Labour Office.
International Labour Organization, (2011). Equality at work: The continuing challenge. Geneva: International Labour Office.
OECD, (2010). Gender brief. Paris: OECD.
Prechel, S., and Burri, S., (2009). EU Rules on Gender Equality: How are they transported into national lawBrussels: The European Commission.
Rchland, H., (2011). Discrimination at work. World of Work. 72. P.6-26.
Rao, A., (2006). Gender Equality Architecture and UN Reforms. New York: The United Nations.
The United Nations, (2011). The Millennium Development Goals Report. New York: The United Nations.
The World Bank, (2012). World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development Outline. Washington: The World Bank.
Welle, B. and Heilman, M., (2005). Formal and Informal Discrimination Against Women at Work. The Role of Gender Stereotypes. Ohio: Centre for Public Leadership.
Wright, E. and Rogers, J., (2010). American Society. How it really worksNew York: W.W.Norton.

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Free Essays

Gender equality in the workplace

Gender equality in the workplace – How does the supposed gender pay gap between male and female employees affect effectiveness and motivation within the workplace?

Abstract

An investigation of the ‘gender pay gap’ – the notion that men are paid more than women for doing the same job. A literature review oversees the subject area, looking at different definitions of the concept, and what they have in common. The impact of the pay gap is considered, and the extent to which employees are even aware of a difference between men and women’s pay. Causes of this difference are examined, and two theories of employee motivation are discussed. The literature review sets the context for the primary phase of this study, which looks at employees of Nestle and assesses their awareness of the gender pay gap. The study examines what factors motivate men and women, and looks at how the gender pay gap impacts on their performance in work.

1. Introduction

The gender pay gap is also known as the ‘gender wage gap’ (Mutari, 2003). The Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) defines it as ‘’the difference between male and female earnings expressed as a percentage of male earnings’’ (2011). Likewise, the European Justice commission calls it the ‘’the average difference between men’s and women’s hourly earnings’’ (2010). Traditionally, there have discrepancies in the treatment of men and women at work, both in terms of financial remuneration, recruitment, selection for promotion etc. (ACAS, 2011). This latter was of particular concern as the differences in pay for the same type of work were quite vast. In 1975, for example, statistics found that the gender pay gap based on a median of the hourly earnings of full time employees was 28.7 %. (Perrons, 2008).

The apparent of this injustice, lead to the introduction of the Equal Pay Act 1970. The act aimed to prevent ‘’discrimination as regards terms and conditions of employment between men and women’’ (EPA, 1970). It achieved some success with the gap being reduced to 10.2% in 2010 (ONS, 2010). However, despite the efforts of the Act, the Office of National Statistics report that women are still paid less than men on average across many industries (ONS, 2011). The Fawcett Society also report that on average women are being paid 15.5% less than men (2011) and it appears that this imbalance will be the norm for many years to come. Some analysts even predict that it will take up to 98 years for the imbalance to be corrected based on current statistics (Chartered Management Institute, 2011).

This situation has a number of consequences, perhaps the most critical being that some may feel discriminated against by their employers just because of their gender. Consequently, their motivation to work may be diminished as the perception will be that they are not being adequately compensated in their positions, so there is no point in working hard. The factors which impinge on motivation and productivity at work place have been explored by many scholars (for example Spector, 1997, Walby and Olsen 2002). One conclusion is that it may be affected by employee perceptions of the fairness and adequacy of their salaries (Kim and German, 2004). If the latter view is correct, then it follows that the productivity and motivation of women in the workplace is affected by the discrepancies in pay with their male counterparts.

The following study sets out to investigate the gender pay gap in more detail. A literature review oversees the subject area, looking at different definitions of the concept, and what they have in common. The impact of the pay gap is considered, and the extent to which employees are even aware of a difference between men and women’s pay. Causes of this difference are examined, and two theories of employee motivation are discussed. The literature review sets the context for the primary phase of this study, which looks at employees of Nestle and assesses their awareness of the gender pay gap. The study examines what factors motivate men and women, and looks at how the gender pay gap impacts on their performance in work.

2. Research Aims and Objectives

The purpose of this report is to investigate whether female productivity and efficiency in the workplace is affected by the ‘gender pay gap’. I will consider the impact of the wage gap on both genders for comparative purposes. Most studies of the gender pay gap are focused on how women are affected by the subject, at the expense of the male perception of the phenomenon. I think it will be interesting to consider both perspectives as it enhances the quality and validity of the report. The subject will be investigated by a literature review, looking at the concept generally, and ideas generated through this review will be tested in a small primary study.

Specifically, the objective of this report is to;

Determine the motivating factors for both men and women, particularly factors associated with pay and performance
Investigate the reasons behind unequal pay between genders
Discover the extent to which employees are aware of the gender pay gap both in general and at their place of work.
Find out the effect of gender pay discrepancies on the productivity and attitudes of women at work.

3. Literature Review

3. 1 The Gender Wage Gap: Definitions, Descriptions

The concept of the ‘Gender Wage Gap’ (GWG) is easy to understand. The term has been defined by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe as “the difference between average monthly earnings of male employees and of female employees” (UNECE 2012). Many other definitions use the hourly pay of men and women as a point of comparison, with the gender pay gap defined as “the ratio of women’s average gross hourly wage to men’s gross average hourly wage” (Chant 2010, p. 415). While the definition seems relatively straightforward, differences between various concepts have implications for our understanding of the problem: the EU definition, for example, includes payments for overtime, while the UK definition does not (House of Lords 2010). Such differences in definition mean that the EU seems to have a bigger GWG than the UK.Not only do definitions differ by country, they have also changed over time (Steinmetz 2011).

Despite some variation in definitions, there is general agreement that the concept of a difference between the amount men and women are paid is valid.A number of scholars have noted the substantial differences between the salaries of men and women within the same organisations (Groshen 1991, Petersen and Morgan 1995). At the same time, men earn more than women on a national average basis. For example, in 2010, the gap in the median hourly pay between men and women was 10.2% (Office of National Statistics, 2010). The biggest gaps are in occupations like metal manufacturing and financial series brokerage where the gap is nearly 50%. This is one of the highest gaps in Europe and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) report that the UK wage gap is a third higher than the European Union Average (2008). These occupational differences are related to the ways in which certain professions are more or less female or male dominated. For example, in the UK, women have historically tended to work in administrative, secretarial and service occupations, and men in skilled trades, process and machinery related occupations, although these demarcations have become less pronounced over the last 50 years (Gregg and Wadsworth 2011).

As well as differences by industry and occupation, different countries seem to have greater or smaller GWG (although this might, in part, relate to different definitions). For example, during the mid 90’s, the GWG was 10% in France, 24% in the USA and 36% in Japan (Free 2010). The difference between pay can also vary according to whether low waged or higher-waged men and women are compared, for example in the USA and UK the gap between men’s and women’s pay increases as levels of pay increase (Cooke 2011).Changing times have also affected the GWG. Within the USA, there was a gap of 45% between men and women’s pay in the early 70s; by the late 90’s this had fallen to under 30%. Other developed countries mirror this fall (OECD 2008). At least part of the reason for the change has been the introduction of legislation designed to promote equality in the workplace. Within the UK the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, and the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975. The introduction of the National Minimum Wage in 1999 also boosted pay rates for many women (Tu 2005).The UK took the lead in assuring better rights for women in regards to pay and work in the 70’s. The Equal Pay Act gave people the right to equal pay and benefits regardless of their sex, while the Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender or marital status. More generally, European-wide directives also had a gradual impact upon the GWG (Geyer et al 2005).

3. 2 Reasons for Gender Wage Gap

Several reasons have been given to explain the discrepancy between men’s and women’s pay, some more convincing than others. Olsen and Walby say biological differences in the genders are one reason (2004). Anderson et al (2001) note that biological determinist argue “that women are inherently smaller, weaker and less intelligent” and are therefore suited for certain jobs. For example, men perform better in industries like construction and engineering as they are often more built for jobs that require heavy manual labour, while the perception is that women are more suited to jobs which allow them to use their innate nurturing ability. Proponents of the biological theory are challenged by academics like Horney (1973) and Thompson (2003) who argue that the perception of the society explains why women are often pushed into certain occupations. An offshoot of the gender differences theory is that certain personality traits are common in different genders. The stereotype is that men are usually more assertive and confident than women and therefore are able to successfully negotiate higher salaries while women chose not to. Overall, this viewpoint is unconvincing. While it is certainly the case that many men are more physically suited to taxing manual labour, such jobs represent an increasingly minute proportion of all available work. Moreover, while the idea that women are somehow innately better at nurturing has been recently fashionable in socio-biology and similar disciplines, this is by no means uncontroversial. For example, a considerable body of research has suggested that gender-specific behaviours are indoctrinated at a very early age, rather than being innate (David 2001).

Others take different approaches to explain why the gender wage gap has come about. Bagilhole (2009) for example blames working time preferences between the genders. A lot of women work part time (OECD, 2007) so it follows that, on average their salaries will be less than that of their male counterparts who work full time. Killingsworth (1987) refers to this as a compensating differential. However, when we consider that working part-time is sometimes not a preference but a necessity for women with children, then this explanation can be challenged on grounds of fairness. Conversely, the decision to have children is a choice and Polachek (1981) notes that women chose occupations with lower work profiles for child rearing reasons. This point is further illustrated by statistics which reveal that 30% of female graduates expect to take a career break on account of children while only 2% of male graduates expect to (Chevalier, 2004). While this argument goes some way towards explaining the GWG when it is based on average earnings, it does not, however, explain the difference when it is calculated on hourly rates.

Another hypothesis is that the gender wage gap is caused by employer discrimination against women, and is part of a wider social issue about women’s position. Grimshaw and Rudberry (2004) note that women tend to be compensated less than men for doing the same work and that most of the time, the jobs women do are characterised by lower wages. The Fawcett Society (2011) goes further to state that men’s work is usually given a higher value than the jobs traditionally undertaken by women such as cleaning and catering. It could be argued that jobs like construction which require heavy manual labour should be compensated more than traditionally female jobs like child care. However, scholars like Chevalier (2004) have noted that some employers do not even give women the opportunity to try for such jobs, and would rather pay a premium to hire men than women. An extension of this theory suggests that women have reduced bargaining powers compared to men, and hence are less able to negotiate wage rises for themselves. This theory links the differential to the role of the unions. If men are in the majority in the workforce, the union leaders are more likely to try and appeal to men, as they are the ones who will vote them back into power. Women, as the minority group in the workforce, find no support from others to give them a bargaining voice (Heywood and Peoples 2006). This view seems unlikely however, given the vocal commitment to women’s equality expressed by contemporary trade unions.

Another explanation for the gender pay gap is education and work experience (Blau and Kahn, 2000). It was found than on average men are more qualified than women. This is a factor that can be considered as an objective determinant of pay. Work experience and educational attainment vary from person to person and it is usually the case that the person with the most relevant experience gets paid more. Harmon and Walker (2001) observed that the differences between wages are higher by 7-9% per year of education in the UK. Therefore, if men are usually more qualified there will be differences in the average pay between genders. Notably, the gender pay gap caused by differences in educational levels is closing as more highly educated young women enter the labour market (Office of National Statistics, 1998). However, the gap continues to exist among older people who find it difficult to retrain.

In addition to the above, a recurring theme is the negative effect pay differences have on female productivity in the workplace (Wilson and Hoagarth, 2003, Yeandle, 2006, Walby and Olsen, 2002). Under this argument, there is a vicious circle created by pay differentials, which lead to reduced job satisfaction, which in turn decreases commitment to the organisation and productivity. Olsen contends that employer discrimination against women creates a failure in the labour market as the best candidates are not necessarily being chosen for work. Also, employer discrimination is “a form of rigidity that may depress women’s potential productivity levels, if it means that, for example, there are miss-matches between women’s skills and experience and the jobs they are doing” (Olsen, 2002).

Finally, it has also been argued that employers are not discriminating against employees at all, but rather the gender wage gap can be examined by differing motivations between the genders. Clark (1997) found that men placed greater value on financial remuneration than women, who seemed to prefer intrinsic aspects of the job such as working relations and the nature of the work itself. As mentioned earlier, this report will consider various views on the gender pay gap and further explore the link between the phenomenon and workplace productivity.

3.3 Impact of Gender Pay Gap

From the above, it is clear that the gender pay gap exists, although less markedly than in the past. A number of reasons have been proposed for its existence.This section looks at research into the impact of the pay gap on both men and women. While there is considerable research about the gender pay gap and what causes it, there is less empirical evidence about the impact the gap has on employees, particularly women. Relatively few studies look at whether it makes women less satisfied with their work and hence less productive.

One complicating factor is despite there being clear evidence of the existence of different pay for men and women, not everyone is aware of the gender pay gap. Many people simply do not see it at all (Blackaby et al 2005; Lange 2008). Whether individuals are aware of it or not might be a function of whether they see pay differences in terms of differences they can rationalise, such as experience of the job or education level, or in terms of inequality between people (Khoreva 2011). Khoreva suggests that as there is a discrepancy between the existence of an (arguably unfair) gap between men and women’s pay on the one hand and women’s awareness of that gap, there is a need for wider awareness of the gap to be promoted. She suggests that both media and government have a responsibility to increase awareness of the gap, and to increase awareness of rights to equal pay (Knoreva 2011). However, this conclusion is questionable: if individuals are happy with their present pay, or ascribe gaps between their pay and that of other colleagues as a function of differing rank or job specifications, what can be gained by making them less happy with the situationCertainly from an organisational point of view, it could be argued that women workers would be less satisfied in their job if more aware of the gap, and hence that corporate efficiency would be reduced.

Different studies of perceptions of the gender pay gap have reached different conclusions. Lange (2008) found that women may only be aware of a gap between their pay and that of men if they feel their situation fits that of an accepted gender pay gap stereotype. Jackson and Grabski (1988) felt that women play down the importance of the gap by assuming other features of work are more important.

We have seen, above, that different countries have different measurements and definitions of the gender pay gap. In addition, different legal, political and cultural conditions in different countries mean that seems likely that the pay gap exists in different forms, and is perceived differently by workers. Okpara (2006) for example looks at awareness of the gender pay gap amongst finance workers in Nigeria, and assesses the extent to which perceptions of difference influence job satisfaction. In Nigeria, women are only recently being promoted to higher positions within the banking industry, although strict apportionment of suitable jobs by gender is breaking down.He found that men are more satisfied with the gender pay gap than women, and more satisfied in their position generally. However, while his study is a valuable contribution to an under-researched area,his results are somewhat disappointing. It is only to be expected that people who do best out of a gender pay gap will be more satisfied with the position than those who are paid less. Okpara highlighted this, but gave little attention to the finer details of how women workers in finance in Nigeria understand the gap, what they attribute it to, whether they think it should change, and so on. He simply mentions that “they see the gap as unfair because they attribute its existence to discrimination” (Okpara 2006). Greater exploration of their perceptions would have been useful here.

Few researchers have so far attempted to develop a theoretical model to help understand the perceptions of the gender pay gap. However Khoreva (2011) suggests that an extensive framework, taking into account factors at individual, organisation and society levels, needs to be developed to understand the ways in which the gender pay gap is perceived.Her model is a useful one against which to compare the results of the present study.At the individual level, she points out that employee perceptions are shaped by a range of factors including orientation towards gender role, pay expectations, age, gender, marital status and education.For example, pay expectations mean that how a person perceives the ways in which others are rewarded for work, and are influenced by whether that person feels they have opportunities equal to those of others. Social comparison theory (Festinger 1954), the idea that expectations are determined by the way individuals see themselves in regards to others, has been used to explain the mechanisms of how people have different expectations regarding pay (Khoreva 2011).At organisational level, the typical breakdown between men and women employees in that industry sector and the status of the job within the industry affect the way individuals respond to the gender pay gap. For example, if men predominate in an industry, the discrepancy between men and women’s pay is more accepted. Finally, at society level, the wider gender role, the extent to which a welfare state exists, and conventions surrounding work-life balance are important in shaping perceptions (Khoreva 2011).

Khoreva further suggests that there are testable differences in the way different groups of people perceive the gender pay gap. She believes that women see a gap less than men do, that younger people are less aware of a gap than older workers, that married workers are less aware of the gap than single ones and that the more highly educated are more aware of the gap. Additionally, and at the organisational level, people working in female-dominated industries are less aware of the gender pay gap than those in male dominated ones. These suggestions have been used to shape the analysis of the results of this study, below.

Additionally, Till and Karren (2011) suggest that perceptions of organizational justice influence the extent to which individuals are satisfied with their pay. While their discussion is not specific to the gender pay gap, the notion of the ways in which organisational justice are perceived is useful for the current study.They point out that satisfaction with pay has been frequently ascribed to perceptions of fairness and comparisons with others pay (Heneman and Judge, 2000; Wu and Wang, 2008), and also suggest that both internal factors (perceptions of equality and justice in pay) and external ones (the extent to which pay is in fact allocated fairly) are important. In terms of this study, the implication is that the way the gender pay gap is perceived will depend both upon the extent to which such a gap exists in an organisation, and how individuals personally perceive the situation.

3.4 Performance, Achievement and Motivation

One of the reasons for the gap between men and women’s pay, it was suggested by Clark (1997) is that men are more influenced by financial rewards in employment, with women being influenced by the intrinsic job characteristics. This is supported by Donohue and Heywood (2004) who found that women are less troubled by comparing their pay to others than are men, and also are less motivated by how much money they are paid. Additionally, Chevalier (2007) suggests that women are less competitive than men, less oriented towards a career as a sense of self worth, and more concerned about others.

This section will look at this idea.In order to fully understand the concept, it is necessary to look at the relationship between motivation and performance within an organisation. One way of understanding this, and a way which sheds light on Clark’s theory, is Herzberg’s theory of hygiene and motivating factors, and Maslow’s theory of psychological needs, which has been heavily influential in understanding individual’s performance within an organization. Maslow’s work was carried out in the 1960’s and 70’s, but remains influential as a way of theorising motivation. He saw people as goal-oriented, and definable in terms of their needs. He suggests that people’s needs can be understood as a pyramid. That is, basic needs for food and warmth – physiological needs – are at the bottom of the pyramid, and these need to be satisfied first. Subsequently, different levels of need are addressed: the need for shelter, social needs (affection and emotional bonds), esteem (to be respected by others) and finally the need for self-actualisation is at the top of the pyramid (the need for growth and development according to a self-defined plan) (Pride et al 2011). Maslow’s ideas have been very influential in thinking about business organisations and motivation (Schneider et al 2001). By introducing the idea that people have different types of needs, which are met in different ways, Maslow opened the way to explore the idea that organisations can address the efficiency of its employees through ensuring that these different types of need are met. Herzberg developed this notion further, and wrote specifically of the organisational context. He put forward his theory as way of understanding motivation and job satisfaction. His ideas were based on empirical research carried out in the USA amongst engineers and accountants (Sapru 2006). Herzberg refined the theory of needs, suggesting that there are two types of needs employees have, and two approaches by organisations seeking to fulfil these needs. The two types Herzberg called ‘hygiene’ and motivating’ factors. That is, some needs are a necessary condition of motivation, but do not in themselves make employees motivated in their work. Other types of needs, when fulfilled, lead to employee satisfaction.‘Hygiene’ factors are predominantly external conditions, and include pay and remuneration, job security, working conditions and status. Factors which motivate can be seen as ‘internal’ or subjective and include the need for achievement, personal development, for work to be challenging, responsibility and recognition (Weihrich and Cannice 2010).

Herzberg did not apply these ideas to the differences between the genders and the impact on the gender pay gap.However, later writers, including Clark (1997) have suggested that men are more influenced by hygiene factors, particularly pay, which goes some way towards explaining the existence of a pay gap between the genders. For example, a large-scale study of motivation and work (Schneider and Waite 2008) found that women are more motivated by internal job characteristics including extent to which job is challenging, social support, and the opportunity to make a positive contribution to a field. Men, on the other hand, are more motivated by pay and the opportunity to further their career (Pinker 2008). This seems to be reiterated by other studies elsewhere in the world: for example a recent Czech study suggested that men are to some degree more motivated than women by career prospects and bonuses (Vaskova 2006). Montmarquette et al (2002) also points out that men select subjects to study at university based upon perceptions of financial return for risk, with men more willing to take a risk with a higher return as reward. Women also choose more frequently to work in sectors traditionally offering lower pay, particularly the public sector (Chevalier 2004). However, care needs to be taken in accepting such evidence uncritically. As Robbins and Judge (2010) point out, results might simply reflect the way gender behaviour and preferences are stereotyped, with men expected not to care about social support in a role, for example.

3. 5 Summary

The literature review above has explored the concept of a gender wage gap, pointing out the different definitions and ideas which these differing definitions have in common. Despite differing ways of calculating the gap, it is clear that a difference between the pay of men and women exists. This gap varies from sector to sector, and from country to country however, and these differences cannot by entirely accounted for through different calculation methods. The various ways in which the gap has been understood have been looked at. Models suggesting that biological differences are key seem unconvincing, but other models are more useful, including the idea that family commitments influence working time, that women are still discriminated against in society and the workplace, and that women have fewer qualifications than men. There is also a strong argument that a vicious circle exists: women react negatively to the perception that they are paid less well than men, and are hence less productive. There is also a good case for men and women having different motivation factors, although care has to be taken to ensure that prejudices about gender role are not imported into this perspective. It is also clear that the gender pay gap has a number of consequences for the workplace, although not everyone is aware of it.It seems, along with other factors, to influence job satisfaction, motivation and productivity.It seems also to be influenced by perceptions of organisational justice.

The literature review fed into the research questions which were investigated by this study. These can be defined as follows:

Are women aware of the ‘gender pay gap’?

Are men aware of the ‘gender pay gap’?

How do women perceive the ‘gender pay gap’, where they are aware of it?

How do men perceive the ‘gender pay gap’, where they are aware of it?

Is women’s productivity and efficiency in the workplace influenced by perceptions of the ‘gender pay gap’?

Are men more motivated by pay-related performance and achievement of targets?

4. Literature Review

4.1 Research Approach / Philosophy

The study has adopted a post-positivist research philosophy. Broadly speaking, post-positivism is an approach to research which accepts the insights of positivism, but which makes concessions concerned with the limits of human knowledge. Positivism was developed originally as a methodology for the social sciences by Comte (Lessem and Schieffer 2010). Positivist research adheres to a methodology based on science, testing defined hypotheses against evidence which is generally gathered in numerical format. It assumes that the world is objective of human beings and also that full knowledge of the objective world is possible. Post-positivist research shares the broad principle that reality is objective and knowable, but suggests that our knowledge is achieved through human subjectivity, that full knowledge is impossible, and that the specifics of the researcher’s perspective need to be acknowledged. It assumes that research findings are probable, rather than certain, and that truth can be reached only approximately (Crotty 1998). A post-positivist perspective has more scope for data other than the purely numeric, gathering qualitative responses and focussing upon textual descriptions of how respondents perceive situations (:Papathanassis 2004). Because this study looks at perceptions of the gender pay gap using both quantitative and qualitative data, a post-positivist approach was thought the most appropriate.

4.2 Data Collection and Analysis, Access Issues

The study takes the form of a case study of employees of the company Nestle.The organisation was selected as they are a large and well-respected global organisation with a strong presence in the UK. Nestle UK & Ireland is a subsidiary of the larger organisation, Nestle SA, who specialise in nutrition, health and wellness products. Within the UK and Ireland, they employ 7000 employees across 19 sites, and have a brand portfolio including household names (Kit Kat, Go Cat and Smarties, for example). They have a wide market reach, with over 2 billion products sold in the UK yearly and with 95% of UK households purchasing one or more Nestle brands (Nestle.co.uk 2011 [online]). Because the researcher had direct contact with two nestle employees in the company, who indicated they would help with the project, it was decided to use Nestle for the case study. Knowing employees meant that access issues, difficulties with contacting organisations in order to arrange interviews, were reduced. This made retrieval of information easier, as the two contacts at Nestle agreed to help the researcher access a sample unit of employees willing to give their perspective on the gender pay gap and how it affects their working life.

This study uses a mixture of primary and secondary sources. Secondary sources are existing studies, texts and similar collection of data which has already been collected. Primary studies are where information is collected specifically for the purposes of a particular study (Babbie 2010). Both types of data have advantages and disadvantages, and using a mixture of both is good for a well-rounded perspective on a subject (Stewart and Kamis, 1993). In the current study, the literature review consists of secondary sources. This allows the research questions to be defined in terms of the wider research context and existing theoretical studies. It also allows the results collected to be seen in terms of other research. There is also a practical consideration: time and financial constraints mean that it is not possible to gather all the information needed on the gender gap pay through primary sources. For example, it would be impossible to survey all the companies in the United Kingdom to determine how much they pay their employees on averages, and a waste of time, as this data has already been collected. Using a substantial amount of secondary data does not affect the efficacy of this report, and is indeed standard academic practice. As McDaniel and Gates (1998) assert, secondary data provides “necessary background data” and adds to the credibility of the research project. Furthermore, the topic of the UK gender pay gap is one that has been explored at length by various commentators. Therefore, the quality of data in existence is very high. For example, the government has commissioned a number of surveys on the subject which were very thorough and examined the UK wage market in depth. Furthermore, a number of renowned academic scholars have explored the subject and provide a range of interesting views on the matter.

The secondary data was collected from books, academics journals and internet sources. Online databases available through the researchers university library were particularly useful. Searches were carried out using key terms including:

Gender pay gap
Men and women’s pay
Pay differentials
Motivation
Job satisfaction
Pay
Remuneration
Financial Reward
… and similar

These terms were used both alone and in combination. Sources were restricted to those in English.

The secondary data collected is set out above in the literature review. It was used to help understand the wider context of the study, and to look at relevant theoretical models, as well as refine the research questions.It can be seen as a frame for the by primary data, or information collected first-hand and tailored to a particular study (Gravetter and Forzano, 2011).

As the study is concerned with exploring subjective matters, that is motivation and productivity, the ways in which the gender pay gap is perceived and worker understanding of links between these areas, it was thought important to get the views of a sample of the concerned parties in a bid to find out whether their real life experiences reflect the conclusions reached in the materials studied. The assumption was that unequal pay affects workplace attitudes and results in women feeling disenfranchised and unmotivated. It has been noted above that while there are a number of studies looking at women’s responses to the gender pay gap, fewer look at men’s responses. In addition, many of the existing studies are primarily quantitative, looking at the broad experiences of a large number of respondents to assess links between gender, pay, and motivation. This study aims to address this by contributing a study looking in more detail at both men’s and women’s views of pay, motivation and performance.

A case study of one particular organisation, Nestle (UK and Ireland) was selected as the most appropriate approach. There are a number of different definitions of a case study, but there seems to be a general agreement that a case study limits the research to a single entity (which can be a person, a social situation, or an organisation, amongst other possibilities). Others suggest that case studies look at the context in which the research is carried out, in order to understand the specifics of the relationships between context and the entity studied (Mills et al 2010). While there were clear advantages of using a case study for this research, as the author had access to the organisation, a number of disadvantages of this approach have been pointed out. Problems include a lack of rigour, the generation of too much data that lacks structure, and particularly that the data might not support the drawing of general conclusions (Hall 2008).

However, while the current study limits data collection to a single organisation, it is only a case study in the narrower sense of the term, that is, it is not concerned with the details of the context in which the study is carried out. In other words, Nestle are taken here as a typical global organisation with a UK presence. The extent to which the organisation has a gender pay gap is around the UK average. It is perhaps almost more appropriate to describe the current study as a questionnaire based study carried out in one particular organisation. Rather, Nestle have been selected because of the ease of access to a suitable number of respondents willing to talk about their experiences.

Initial contact to the organisation was made through the researcher’s personal contacts. The concept for the study was explained in a telephone call; this was followed by an email in which written details were given to explain the purpose and nature of the study in full. The personal contacts passed the details to a senior manager in Human Resources, who agreed that Nestle would take part in the study, and who helped co-ordinate the administration of the questionnaire from publicising it to employees, ensuring they took part, and helping distribute information. The study was carried out online, using standard survey software available online, in order to ensure anonymity. Respondents were also informed of the confidential nature of the study, of the purpose of the study, and of their right to withdraw at any time before they started answering questions.

A sample size of 20 employees was used, with a quota of 10 men and 10 women set to allow equal comparison of opinions between the genders. The reason for the small sample size was to allow ease of data analysis. 20 was also felt to be a realistic response rate, and this turned out to be the case. In the event, the first round of interviews co-ordinated by the HR Manager returned only 16 respondents, however the HR Manager sent out follow up emails, which generated an additional 4 respondents, making a total of 20. Although it is generally felt that in order for quantitative data analysis to be valid, sample size should be 30 or more (O’Leary 2005), in this case it was felt that the bulk of the analysis would be qualitative, looking at responses in more detail, and therefore that 20 respondents would provide sufficient data for the study.

The questionnaire consisted of a number of structured and semi-structured questions, as well as demographic questions. The full set of questions can be found in appendix A. In order to ensure that the study is as neutral as possible, the questions were framed in such as way as to avoid ‘leading’ respondents to a particular answer. For example, a leading question would be one of the form ‘men and women are paid differently at Nestle. Men get more money. Do you think this is fair’.A mix of open and closed questions were used in the questionnaire. Closed questions are ones where a set number of answers is possible, and respondents have to select one or more of these possible answers. An open question is one where respondents can answer at greater length, expressing their feelings in depth (Brace 2008).The rationale for using both types of questions was to obtain focused answers to allow the forming of conclusions on the one hand, but also to gather more detailed information about respondent subjective perceptions in order to give depth to the closed answers and hence enhance the quality of the research.

Data was collected, as mentioned above, by asking respondents to complete an online survey. This had the advantage of anonymity: if respondents had had to answer questions face-to-face, they might have felt that their answers would be less confidential. Despite opportunities to ensure the respondent that conditions of confidentiality apply, face-to-face interviews are acknowledged to be problematic in this respect. Unless a relationship of trust is developed, interviewees are more likely to feel concerned about what is going to happen to the data (Liverman 1998). However, face-to-face interviews offer more scope to obtain more complex and detailed responses, as trained researchers can prompt and probe the respondent to provide more information (Bowling and Ebrahim 2005). This extra information would have been useful for the particular study, as it is concerned with the details of personal experience of the gender gap, however, unfortunately, time and cost constraints ruled this method of data collection out.

The results obtained were a mix of quantitative (numeric) data to record pre-defined responses such as gender and age group, and qualitative textual answers.Basic descriptive statistics were collected for the quantitative questions. The text-based answers were read and ‘coded’ into the most common responses. Coding is a process whereby observations are categorised according to a set number of dimensions, reducing the amount of data, and making it simple, but retaining complexities of the concepts involved (Monette et al 2010).

4.2 Ethics, Problems and Limitations

Because this research involved human subjects, it was necessary to take ethical considerations into account. There are a variety of different areas to consider. It is unlikely that participants will come to any physical harm through taking part, or be at a disadvantage through not taking part (as might be the case in a laboratory trial of a new drug, for example). (Bryman and Bell 2007). However, if the results of the study became known by management, and respondents were unflattering about the company or staff, might this endanger their position within the organisation For these reasons, the utmost care was taken to ensure that the results of the study were confidential, and that respondents could not be personally identified through their answers. It was anticipated that some employees would be wary about discussing their views on pay and their productivity with a stranger, so extra lengths were taken to assure respondents their views would be collated and analysed anonymously. This was made possible through the use of an online survey website, Survey Monkey which allows users to register and respond to questionnaire anonymously. This precaution was useful, as several respondents commented that they would not like their views on pays to be known by either other colleagues or by management.Care was also taken to ensure that other areas identified as potentially problematic were managed effectively. For example, it was necessary to make sure that respondents consent to take part was fully informed, that is, they were completely aware of the point of the study and what the data would be used for. It was also necessary to avoid deception and invasion of respondent privacy (Bryman and Bell 2007).

There were one or two limitations to the research. The main limitation of this report is that it uses a high proportion of secondary information. However, the researcher aimed to ensure that only the highest quality data was included, from reputable academic sources, and that this was used to frame the secondary study. It has been established that “secondary data can be used as a basis for comparisons with primary data that the researcher has first collected” (Kumar, 2008). Another limitation is that the data was collected from only one company, Nestle. This was because of ease of access, as the researcher had personal contacts in the organisation. It could be the case that Nestle’s staff have attitudes towards the gender pay gap which are not typical of employees of other organisations. By extending the study to include other companies, this limitation would have been avoided. It is suggested that future studies might compare the data from Nestle with data from other multi-national organisations with branches in the UK. The study is also limited by the small sample size, particularly in regards to the generalisability of the quantitative data, however this might also be rectified by further studies with more respondents. Additionally, 20 respondents is a good number for qualitative studies. The results of the coding process were reflected upon by the researcher over a period of days, and the original data was returned to and reconsidered in an iterative, reflective process.

5. Results and Discussion

In total, 20 sets of data were collected. All respondents completed the full survey, including demographic detail, although there was a great deal of variation in the quality of the textual responses. One or two respondents confined themselves to very brief replies, such as ‘nothing really’ or ‘I can’t think of anything’ to questions 5, 6, and 8. At the other end of the scale, one or two respondents wrote very full replies for all the open-ended questions, giving a great deal of detail. If time and money allowed, the researcher would consider re-contacting these people for a face-to-face interview, bearing in mind the possibility for bias this would open up. Overall, the responses tended to be somewhat shorter and less detailed than would have been ideal. Face-to-face interviews would have made it possible to prompt and probe the respondent for more information, and explain questions if they were not understood (Bowling and Ebrahim 2005), but (as explained above) this option was not feasible for a number of reasons.

In terms of demographics, there was a fairly even spread between the different groups. Men and women were split evenly at 10 men and 10 women. The age breakdown was as follows (table 1):

GroupNumber
16-241
25-344
35-447
45-546
55-641
65 and over1

Table 1: Age breakdown

The bulk of respondents, therefore, were aged 25-54, with 13 (65%) 35-54. It is possible that different results would have been returned with a different age group. It is certainly the case that perceptions on job satisfaction seem to change for older workers, some suggesting, for example, that older workers are more satisfied with their jobs (Cavanaugh et al 2009), and others that younger staff are more satisfied with pay (Blanpain 2010). Future studies might look at the impact of age on awareness of and feelings about the gender pay gap.Respondents had worked for Nestle for varying lengths of time (table 2)

GroupNumber
Under 6 months1
6 months to 1 year2
1-2 years8
2-4 years4
5-10 years3
10-15 years2
15+ years0

Table 2: Length of time with Nestle

Fortunately, most of the respondents (17) had worked for the company for at least 1 year. This meant that the responses given could, for the most part, be reasonably expected to be based on a detailed knowledge of Nestle. However, it also meant that respondents might be less likely to compare their experience to that in other organisations.

Education level and position in company were biased towards respondents with a degree or above (14 of the 20 respondents) and those in management positions (12 out of the 20). For the latter case, this might reflect a greater commitment to the organisation, and feeling that one should set an example by taking part in the study.

Turning now to the data collected in the main part of the study, perhaps the most notable phenomenon was the lack of awareness, or concern, about the gender pay gap. 14 out of the 20 said they were aware of the term, which intuitively seems slightly low, however of these 14, only 9 were able to give a full response at Q2 which fitted with the assumed definition of the term. One answer at Q2, “yes, I’ve heard of it, but to be honest I’ve not really thought about it at all – is it something to do with women taking time out for childcare?”. Another said “I’ve heard of it, but that’s about all”. Of those who gave more committed information, all 9 had an awareness of the gender pay gap which broadly fitted with the definitions discussed above. For example, one respondent wrote “I think it refers to the difference between men and women’s pay – men are paid more per hour for effectively the same job”. Another commented after definition “I find it shocking that these differences exist in this day and age”.This finding broadly agrees with the literature review above: as Blackaby et al (2005) points out, many people are unaware of the pay gap. We have also seen that women may tend to be less aware of the gap than men, that younger people are less aware, and that the more highly educated are more aware (Khoreva 2011). While statistical testing of these points is not possible given the relatively small sample size, Khoreva’s suggestions do seem to be corroborated by the present study. Of those who are aware, 6 were male, and all had a degree or higher qualification. They were also all over 35.

Those people who were aware of a gender pay gap were asked what they thought about it. The responses here divided broadly into two categories. People were either broadly indifferent to it, or angry about it. No one admitted to supporting a gap between pay for the genders. While this might reflect opinions, it is also possible that people did not want to admit to themselves that they held opinions other might call ‘sexist’ or ‘prejudiced’. In hindsight, it might have been appropriate to use other research techniques designed to uncover responses which the respondent holds unconsciously. Projective research techniques have been more widely used in other countries, for example Asia, where there can be reluctance to express personal views (Craig and Douglas 2005). Such techniques might be usefully adopted for surveys of this type. Returning to the results, of the two types, 8 of the 14 who were aware of the gender pay gap were broadly indifferent. Responses of the nature “yes, I am aware of it but haven’t thought about it much” and “what can you do about it – it’s ingrained into social structures” were typical. Of the other group, all expressed anger that men should be paid more “for doing exactly the same work!”. Other typical comments were “despite all the stuff in the papers about women doing so well – when you look at the hard, cold facts men still sweep up the benefits” and “women have the bulk of child-care responsibility – and get paid less! How is that fair!”. Of the 6 respondents who were angry about the situation, 4 were women. 2 men were also angry, but couched it in less emotive terms, for example “I can see why women are so upset. Less pay, for what is arguably at least an equal contribution to the workplace”.

Respondents were also asked to assess the impact that a gap between men and women’s pay had on their own productivity and efficiency. As might be expected, those who were overall aware but indifferent to the gap tended to downplay the impact of the gap. Typical responses for this group were “I don’t know” “nothing really” “I don’t think it makes a great deal of difference, yes I’m aware it goes on, but I don’t think about it very often”.One respondent, however, seemed to have been prompted by the topic of the study to think more deeply. He commented that although he had not given it much thought, now he had come to think about it he did think it was possible that it might have an impact, in the sense that women might feel annoyed and contribute less to the organisation.Responses of the ‘angry’ subset of respondents were interesting. Intuitively, it might be thought that the response to awareness of and anger about the gap would be to either work less productively or assume that it would affect organisational-wide productivity. This did not seem to be the case however. One respondent commented “I’m very angry about it, but I wouldn’t let it change the way I approach my job” and another said “No, I work exactly the same. I try to challenge it in other ways” (they did not explain what these other ways were). One or two did feel that it “might” have a bad effect on organisational productivity, although did not feel it directly impacted their own work. One woman manager said “I personally don’t let it affect my work, but I can see that if there’s a big gap in a company between pay levels, maybe in a traditionally male-dominated area like engineering, then that might change the way women work. I think it’s more to do with the overall context”.In total only 3 respondents commented on the situation in Nestle specifically. There was an overall feeling amongst these that Nestle was perceived as a woman-friendly, equal environment: while they were ready to believe that gender differences in pay did exist, they felt that Nestle as a whole were working to eradicate such differences. This seems to indicate that the gender pay gap, or the ways in which it is perceived by employees, is heavily dependent upon other variables in the organisation, that is, type of industry, other measures put in place to ensure gender equality, overall benefits packages that are child-friendly, women at upper management / director level and so on. As one woman commented “Overall, yes, there might be a difference, but I feel Nestle are doing more than a lot of other organisations to help women’s equality in the workplace”. This seems to tie in with the model developed by Khoreva (2011) to understand how the gender pay gap is perceived in organisations. We have seen (above) that the situation is complex, with a number of factors contributing to perceptions, including individual, organisational and social ones.The responses obtained from this study certainly seem to confirm the idea that people’s assessment of the pay gap as relatively unimportant in terms of their work at Nestle is determined in part by the overall situation at Nestle, and the over-riding perception of the organisation as one which is pro- woman.

All respondents were asked question 7 and 8, regarding benefits. Interestingly, although the perceptions of the gender pay gap and its impact were limited within Nestle, there seems to be a division between men and women in terms of what motivates them. The results are presented in table 3:

Motivating factorResponses totalMenWomen
Pay963
Other benefits (holidays / bonuses / healthcare)431
Job security835
Working conditions431
Management541
Organisational policy221
Relationships with other workers303
Organisational structure110
Sense of achievement in job1157
Recognition from other employees432
Respect from management221
Responsibility312
Career opportunities954
Status332

Table 3: Motivating factors

There are two interesting points about these results. According to Herzberg, we can distinguish between hygiene and motivating factors in work, and while hygiene factors are necessary for a worker to be satisfied and motivated, they are not sufficient (that is, hygiene factors need to be present, but satisfaction and motivation do not automatically follow from their presence alone). Clark (1997) (and others) also suggested that men are motivated by different factors than women, with hygiene factors like pay more motivating than men. These suggestions are confirmed to some extent by this data. In terms of pay, men mention this as important to their motivation twice as often as women. They are also more strongly motivated by many, though not all, of Herzberg’s hygiene factors (factors 1,2,3, 4,5,6, 8 in the table) than are women. That is, men are more motivated than women by pay, other benefits, working conditions, management, organisational policy, and organisational structure than are women. However, women rate one of Herzberg’s hygiene factors more highly: job security. This might reflect the presently uncertain economic times. In terms of motivating factors (factor 7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14), women find relationships with other workers, sense of achievement (though only just) and responsibility more important. Men find status, career opportunities, management respect and recognition from other employees more motivating. These results should be seen in context however: men on the whole made more mentions than women (totalling 41) than did women (a total of 32). Does this discrepancy between number of mentions perhaps indicate that women are less motivated overall within Nestle than men?

The final question asked respondents whether there was anything else that motivated them. This question received generally short answers, perhaps as a function of respondent fatigue, the phenomenon whereby respondents become tired with the survey, at the end of a long response list or midway through a study (Seale 2004). Although the survey was reasonably short, this last question was notable for the lack of detail given.Where answers (other than “not really” were given), a sizeable number seemed to use the space to clarify or overview their responses at the previous question, rather than introduce new material. For example, one woman said “as mentioned, I’m mainly motivated by chances for promotion, and the feeling that I’m doing a good job, and also – but not to the same extent – by how well I get on with other colleagues”. Another commented “the problem with the previous question is that its ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – you can’t explain degrees of motivation. I mean, I’m am generally pay oriented, but how well I get on with management also has an impact”.Overall, the responses to this question, somewhat disappointingly, did not add much to data obtained earlier in the survey.

6. Conclusion

The above study has looked at the nature of the ‘gender wage’ or ‘gender pay’ gap, that is, the difference between the pay of men and women. It has been assumed that this gap is characterised by men being paid more than women.While the gap between men’s higher and women’s lower pay has been in existence for some time, it seems to have narrowed over the years, as a result of changing legislation and changing social and cultural beliefs. There are still wide variations from industry to industry and between countries, however, and in the UK it is reported that a gap of at least 15% still exists (Fawcett Society 2011).

It was important to try to understand this gap further, by investigating existing literature and through a small primary study, as the implications of the pay gap are widespread, and it is claimed it can lead to lowered productivity for those affected by it. The current study aimed, in addition to a study of the existing literature, to look at the experiences of workers in the UK subsidiary of Nestle. A number of related research aims were investigated, looking overall at whether the gender pay gap really exists in this employer, how it effects men and women’s perceptions of their performance and motivation, and what in fact motivates employees.

A literature review examined definitions of the gender wage gap. There are some different definitions in use, for example whether it is calculated on annual or hourly pay, however there is general agreement that it refers to the way in which men are paid more than women for doing the same job.This gap has been substantiated through a number of studies (for example Groshen 1991, Petersen and Morgan 1995).There have been a number of reasons proposed for the existence of this difference, some more acceptable than others. It seems likely that the gap is not due to inherent differences in biology between the two sexes, but rather a complex mix of cultural and social factors, including child-care arrangements, prejudices against and expectations of women, ideas about male role as provider and existing practice.

There seems some evidence that the gender pay gap leads to differences in productivity and motivation between the two sexes (Wilson and Hoagarth, 2003, Yeandle, 2006, Walby and Olsen, 2002), although the extent to which individuals are aware of the gap seems limited (Blackaby et al 2005; Lange 2008). This lack of awareness raises an important question of the extent to which government and the media should do more to promote awareness of the gap (Khoreva 2011). Perceptions may also differ by other demographic variables including location, age and education level.

Theories of motivation were also considered, as a way of understanding men and women’s motivation, job satisfaction and productivity. Maslow’s idea of a hierarchy of needs, and Herzberg’s notion of ‘hygiene’ and ‘motivating’ factors informed the study design.

The results obtained were interesting. It was found that awareness of the gender pay gap was in fact limited: not all respondents were aware of it (at least, not as thus described), and of those who were aware, only 9 seemed to have detailed thoughts about this gap. This result might in one sense seem disappointing, as it means the data obtained was less full than might be hoped for, however it does confirm the suggestion that not all are aware of a gap between men and women’s pay, and hence suggests (at least for these people) that it does not impact upon motivation and performance. Of those who were aware, this tended to support the idea that men are more aware of the gap than women, and that those who are aware are educated to a higher level.Of the people aware, some were generally indifferent, or accepted it as part of how things are, while others were angry with the situation.However, it was also notable that none of the respondents felt that the gender pay gap affected their productivity, or that of the organisation as a whole (with the exception of one, who was unsure). This might have been down to an attempt to put themselves across in the best possible light, or a fear that their responses were not confidential.Respondents seemed to feel that Nestle are a woman friendly organisation to work for, and that the company go out of the way to promote equality in the workplace. This might have influenced the results obtained, but seems to fit with Khoreva’s (2011) idea that awareness and impact of the gender pay gap is a complex matter which is mediated by a number of other variables including organisational context.

The study also illustrated the differences between motivating factors for men and women, although there was quite a large amount of cross-over between the genders. Men did on the whole seem to be more motivated by pay and other ‘hygiene’ factors than did women. One notable result was that women overall mentioned fewer factors altogether than did men. This might indicate that woman are less motivated than men in the workplace, which might point to issues regarding gender pay discrepancy: but this is only speculation.

Overall, there are a number of areas which have been highlighted by the study, which could be investigated further. New studies might examine different UK organisations, to address whether the situation described is specific to Nestle. Organisations operating in more traditionally male-dominated industries might return different results, for example. Organisations in other countries might also return interesting data.In addition, different research techniques might uncover hidden or unconscious ideas about gender, pay and motivation. It is possible that (despite assurances of confidentiality) the results were marred by people saying what they felt they should say, rather than what they really felt. Men, for example, might find it hard to say that they thought the gender pay gap was justified. Finally, further research might include greater numbers of respondents, to allow more detailed statistical analysis of the data. While interviewing more than 20 respondents was beyond the scope of the present study, the limited number of people included meant that only the most basic analyses could be carried out.

6. Appendix A – Questions asked in online questionnaire

Are you aware of the term ‘gender pay gap’
(if ‘yes’ at 1) What does the term ‘gender pay gap’ mean to you
Are you aware of any difference between men and women’s pay at Nestle
Are you aware of any difference between men and women’s pay at other organisations
(if aware of pay gap at 1,3, or 4) What do you think about the existence of a gap between the pay of men and women
What impact do you think the existence of a gap between men and women’s pay has on your productivity and efficiencyOn productivity and efficiency in Nestle generally
What would you say are the factors which most motivate you in your jobPlease select as many as you like from the following list:

Pay; Other benefits (e.g. holidays, bonuses, healthcare); Job security; working conditions; management; organisational policy; relationships with other workers; organisational structure; sense of achievement in job; recognition from other employees; respect from management; responsibility; career opportunities; status

Is there anything else that motivates you in your workPlease give as much detail as possible (Open ended)

Demographics

Are you male or female
How old are you(into which of the following age bands do you fall)

16-24; 25-34; 35-44; 45-54; 55-64; 65 and over.

How long have you worked for Nestle

Under 6 months; 6 months to 1 year; 1-2 years; 2-4 years; 5-10 years; 10-15 years; over 15 years

What is your job title
How much are you paid per annum
What is your highest qualification

7. Appendix B Timetable/Project Plan

StagesTaskNotesTime
1Project ProposalSubmission24th Nov 2011
2DesignQuestions to ask for the structure-interview and on questionnaire after approval of ethical form30th Nov – 14th Dec 2011
3PlanningHow to conduct the interview15th – 22nd Dec 2011
4Literature ReviewThorough reading23rd– 30th Dec 2011
5Data CollectionQuestionnaires and Interviews3rd – 24th Jan 2012
6Data AnalysisPrimary and Secondary data25th Jan – 7th Feb 2012
7Production of the first draftPresentation of my first draft to my supervisor8th – 15th Feb 2012
8Production of final reportAdditional information and editing16th – 29th Feb 2012
9Submission of my ProjectFinal submission1st – 5th March 2012

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Categories
Free Essays

Health and illness in later life, inequalities – gender, ethnicity and end of life

Introduction

This Qualitative report outlines two interviewees later year’s experiences from two different cultural and ethnic backgrounds with the aim of examining the importance they attribute to their health status. A body of research reveal that there exist wide health inequalities between certain groups in the developed countries (Devaux & de Looper, 2012; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007 ; Van Doorslaer et al., 2003). These groups defining characteristics in include, ethnic, gender, age as well as economic status. Nonetheless, with all this definition of affected constituents by health inequality, the out come is a country where disadvantaged perish at the expense of the advantaged. This report takes a closer look at the intricacies involved with such classifications and the core issues leading to the rise in such deplorable conditions. It is in the light of these occurrences that this report aims at investigating health inequalities and health promotion taking into account gender, ethnicity and socio-economic as well as ageism and racism factors.

Methodology

The information collected for this study was from two interviews. The first one was with Ms B is a 69 year old woman. The interview took place in the front room of her home. The second interview was with Ms A is a 64 years old Black African woman; the Interview took place in her home.

The subjects were referred to as Ms A and B for confidential purposes; their real names were not used, but every other detail is as was during the interview. Prior to the interviews, the interviewees had to sign consent forms issued by the institution the interviewer is affiliated. The consent form is made available by the faculty under which the interviewer belongs and is mainly a legally binding document to ensure confidentiality of the contents of the interview.

The two first interviews were with elderly women and because of the generational gap; they were both handled with the utmost respect. However, there are instances that Ms A was referred to as ma’am because of her cultural background as a show of humility and respect.

Results/findings

A close examination of Ms A and Ms B interview reveal information relevant to the aims and objectives of this study. First, Ms B has a GP, who is 8 minutes walk from her residence and has been useful for medical issues such as surgery and other medical advice (12) while Ms A claims she does not need a GP. Ms A believes that her spirituality is an alternative to the help she can get from a GP (8) and does not even remember the last time she visited a GP(9). Ms B has a male Doctor (66) and has been with him for a long time. She claims that he is elder-ish and avoids women issue by referring to her to other female consultants (69). Despite having received several invitations, Ms A has never consulted a GP and claims she is fine (12). She does not remember the last time she visited a GP for any medical issue or advice (15). On the other hand, Ms B claims she has received much information from her local GP; there was a time she had trouble emptying her bowel freely (20) and she sort for advice from her GP, who asked her to take plenty of fruits and vegetables (21). She gets helpful information on other medical conditions freely such as Flu and Diabetes from pamphlets (24) as well as the nurse (25). Ms B receives helpful information from her doctor, such as, where to purchase blood pressure kits and how best to use it(27).

Both Ms A and B are very active and have plenty of activities to do around their houses. Ms B spends much of her time around the house re-arranging her kitchen cupboard (32). She cooks (39), prepares her skirting board and also spends time relaxing, watching TV while eating her lamb chops (40). Ms A also finds time to arrange her things though she does not seem to devote most of her time in household work as compared to her ministry, she is still yet to arrange the things that she move in with since she was re-housed in October(19). Ms A is very busy with ministry work and does not sit to rest (26). Ms B gets good nutritional advice from her GP and eats right, Weetabix and dry raisins for breakfast (47) and a cup of tea and crackers for lunch with 2 fruits (48). For dinner, she prefers lamb chops, broad beans and carrots (50). Ms B, on the other hand, claims she is a light eater with her diet consisting of predominantly fruits (30). She also goes sometimes without food during her fasting periods (31).

Ms B enjoys quality time with her children and grand children often (52); she also picks up her granddaughter from school (53). Ms A finds pleasure in God, her family both biological and spiritual (33). She is a spiritual person and delights in serving and worshiping all the time (36). Ms B finds time in her schedule to go shopping (56) when it’s quiet (57) and avoids shopping on Saturdays (58). In addition, she still drives, but does not do long distance (60), she only drives to the supermarket, and when there is no traffic (62), she avoids using the road because it is tiring and keeps her away from reckless drivers (63). Compared to Ms A, Ms B enjoys meeting people as part of her ministry than shopping (39) and uses public transportation, as opposed to private means (42). She enjoys bus rides regardless of whether it is school rush hour or not (45).

Ms B has friends she spends time with from time to time, they go shopping have snacks together (72). She also has a good neighbour at the end of the street that she spends time with visiting a local Nursing home (74). Ms B’s friends are good companions (80) they talk about family and engage in other activities such as making tea (82). She does not engage in community activities (85) as she used to in 2008(86). Ms A, on the other hand, socializes with everyone she meets in the course of her ministry (51); however she claims that her social life is in the church where she does volunteer work (52). She gets spiritual support from her ministry (55) and many refer to her as mummy (56). Unlike Ms A, she engages in community activities such as the Easter love fest (59) where she brings drinks and snacks and distributes leaflets to neighbours (60).

Discussion

Woodwarda and Kawachib (2000), reiterate a well known fact that health inequalities are socially, culturally and economically instigated. This paper aims at exposing evidence in health inequalities and the need for health promotion, as well as highlight gender,, ethnicity and socio-economic factors, Ageism and racism in the healthcare sector.

Adequate access to healthcare has been cited as a key factor determining a country’s commitment to reducing health inequalities and promotion. Devaux and de Looper (2012), explain that the need for General Practitioners can be analysed using variables such as age, gender and health status. In the current study, Ms B has a General Practitioner, who is 8 minutes walk from her residence, while, on the other hand Ms, A sees no need for one. Devaux and de Looper (2012) reveal in their study that people who are financially stable are more likely to visit a GP than those in the lower income level. Ms B in the interview is presented as more stable than Ms A financially. Ms B has time for shopping, cafes with friends, and she can also afford a healthy meal at the end of the day. She even has access to private transportation. Compared to Ms A, who is housed by the council (Shelter, 2013). Van Doorslaer et al. (2003) assert that income related health inequalities are persistent in Europe regardless of the fact that many countries have established easy access to physician services. They further posit that there is unequal opportunity in accessing health services across income groups. Ms A seems to be in the lower income category and much marginalized in regard to access to health services. This is a common trend in most developed economies especially in North America and Europe. In an examination of such inequalities, in self reported health and their impact on individual risk factors in the United States and Canada, McGrail et al.(2009), found that income distribution was responsible for more than 50 percent of income-related health inequalities. The same can be said of the United Kingdom where life expectancy is as high as in both the USA and Canada as a result of great preventive measures against killer diseases, yet the ubiquity of health inequality is constant (Graham & Kelly, 2004). They reveal that while the health of the general population seems to improve, those in the lower income bracket are far from this reality, and this has been a point of challenge to policy makers.

In addition, gender is one of the key causes of health inequalities.Ostrowska (2012), explains that notable differences between male and female health status is a common topic and has become a subject of increasing interest of researchers. According to them, researchers have recorded these differences in a bid to understand them within a bio-medical framework. Health inequalities in regard to gender divergence are indicative of the differences in social roles and status engraved in culturally created perception of femininity and masculinity. It is most likely that Ms A has continually ignored invitations to GP because of cost. It is most likely possible that she could be fine now, but the future is uncertain and more so in regard to her age. Health insurance coverage has become one of the key issues as far as women access to healthcare is concern. According to Kaiser Family Foundation (2013), health insurance coverage is a motivational factor for women and is effective in improving their health status by enabling access to preventive, primary, as well as, speciality healthcare. This could represent the case with Ms A, with medical cover; she would most likely at least visit her GP for a check up.

Racism has been one of the key issues associated with health inequality. Generally, it is said that Native and African American, as well as Pacific Islanders, have a shorter lifespan and dismal health outcomes including high infant mortality rates, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, stroke, deteriorating life expectancy compared to their white and Asian American counterparts (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007). The United Kingdom is also faced with this challenge as explains Nazroo (2003 ), who posit that there is high health inequality across ethnic groups in the US and UK, and this has been documented. Woolf et al.(2004), in reference to a study by Dr. David Satcher and Dr. Adelwale Troutman, close to 900, 000 of the deaths of African Americans would have been prevented if their health matched that of their white counterparts. Racial identity is not pathogenic, but is a social issue in many countries that are the basis of profiling. While it is true that not all people from these minority groups both in the US and UK are poor, most of them are and according to Smedley et al. (2003), health follows a pattern that the more the wealth, the better the health. Most of them work in jobs that are in the lower status and are also less educated than their white counterparts. This is a key reason why this population is persistent in the lower socio-economic strata compared to the other ethnic groups. Ms A is a black woman who is more concern with her spiritual condition than her health condition. She seems not to take cognizance of the fact that one she might need medical attention given her age, “health by choice.” Nonetheless, this could be none of her fault, as an African American, she is disadvantaged, she might not be able to afford the cost or even fail to take on appropriate medical cover (Nazroo, 2003 ). It has been noted in Britain that immediate action is needed to reform the pension plans to match in regard to the disparity between the rich and the poor, a state that could lead to thousands of poor people dying before they reach retirement (Copper, 2013).

Just as the ethnic minorities in the developed countries, the older generation is currently one of the constituencies with rising health challenges. It is a population that is experiencing health inequalities (Grundy & Sloggett, 2003 ). In England alone, there are 10 million people aged 65 and over (Thorpe, 2011). In this population, most of the are either sick or with some disability, thy account for 60 percent of hospital admissions (Thorpe, 2011). Grundy and Sloggett (2003 ), in their research used information from three rounds of the English Health Survey to understand the variations in wellbeing of those aged between 65-84 years. In their study, they used indicators based on self reports and data collected by a medical practitioner. The study revealed that socio-economic indicator and most prominent, income, was related to the increasing odds of diminishing health outcomes (Grundy & Sloggett, 2003 ). Ms B in the current study has already started experiencing the effects of aging and conscious of what is expected of her. She is 69 years and seeks regular medical advice from her GP and takes every precaution in order to live a healthy and rewarding life. Ms A, on the other hand, is 5 years younger than Ms B, she might not feel the impact of age on her, but as seen in the above paragraphs, she is bound to feel some of these effects, it is just a matter of time (Grundy & Sloggett, 2003 ).

The examination of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic, as well as ageism and racism variables as factors associated with health inequalities,, it is important also to consider the promotional aspect. Health promotion empowers people to consider and sustain healthy lifestyles thereby becoming better health managers (Family Health Teams, 2006). There needs to be promotion strategies that when implemented uses structural solutions that support change in behaviour. One of the areas needing work is for governments to focus on closing narrowing of the gap between the rich and the poor. However, it is not just the closing of the gap, but making available services that would positively impact the poor. Such remedies include; empowering and mobilizing the people to resort to healthier choices, such as making available healthy food for the masses (Shircore, 2009). In addition, the vulnerable populations need to be supported to change their behaviour, Shircore (2009), explain an important point that both physical and mental health are integral parts of quality of life and that evidence is clear that a healthy diets are beneficial to the both.

On the other hand, poor housing coupled with poor income adversely affect physical and mental health. In this regard, the need for effective social marketing is imperative in achieving the desired change with both the public and with decision-makers. To achieve this, one of the most effective ways as seen in the current study is to involve the GP in health promotion strategies (Family Health Teams, 2006). Ms B compared to Ms A had been receiving critically needed useful medical procedures because of her awareness of her health status. While Ms A, claimed, she did not need a GP and did not even remember the last time she visited a GP (9). Ms B had a Doctor (66) and had been with him for a long time. On the other hand, Ms B claims she has received much information from her local GP; there was a time she had trouble emptying her bowel freely (20) and she sort for advice from her GP, who asked her to take plenty of fruits and vegetables (21). She gets helpful information on other medical conditions freely such as Flu and Diabetes from pamphlets (24) as well as the nurse (25). Ms B receives helpful information from her doctor, such as where to purchase blood pressure kits and how to use of it in checking her blood pressure (27). The focus on patient education, counselling and support is an important health promotion strategy and should be given to every vulnerable person in the categories examined in this study.

Conclusion and recommendation

As explained by Ms A and Ms B’s economic and health conditions, there are wide disparities between minority groups and dominant populations, more so in developed countries. As an African woman, Ms A was oblivious to the fact that she would need medical at one point in life; such is the attitude that some people in minority groups face life. Nonetheless, there are others who regardless of what they know, are restricted by their economic state. As a matter of fact the common denominator across all this classification whether ethnic, gender, age, is economic stability or sustainability. It is the responsibility of the government and the entire stakeholder to ensure that necessary steps are taken to provide for the needs of these vulnerable groups so as to reduce the effects of such health inequalities. As seen above, certain subsidies can be given to the vulnerable groups to mitigate the effects of health inequalities as discussed.

The current study used two case studies to explain several variables. Further research is needed to zero in on specific details as it fails to do justice to all the variables presented, for depth and breadth of the issues investigated, the case studies fail to examine fully within the real-life context all the variables presented. On the gender issue, it would have been helpful if one of the interviewees was a male or in that case have more than two interviewees, the third of a different gender.

Bibliography

Copper, C., 2013. Britain’s poor ‘will die before they retire’ if pension reforms aren’t matched by health improvements. The Independent , 06 December.

Devaux, M. & de Looper, M., 2012. Income-Related Inequalities in Health Service Utilisation in 19 OECD Countries, 2008-2009”. OECD Health Working Papers.

Family Health Teams, 2006. Guide to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. [Online] Ministry of Health Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/fht/docs/fht_health_promotion2.pdf” http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/fht/docs/fht_health_promotion2.pdf [Accessed 10 December 2013].

Graham, H. & Kelly, M.P., 2004. Health inequalities: concepts,frameworks and policy. [Online] Health Development Agency Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/health_inequalities_concepts.pdf” http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/health_inequalities_concepts.pdf [Accessed 10 December 2013].

Grundy, E. & Sloggett, A., 2003. Health inequalities in the older population: the role of personal capital, social resources and socio-economic. Social Science Med, 56(5), pp.935-47.

Kaiser Family Foundation, 2013. Women’s Health Insurance Coverage. [Online] Kaiser Family Foundation Available at: HYPERLINK “http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/womens-health-insurance-coverage-fact-sheet/” l “footnote-89006-14” http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/womens-health-insurance-coverage-fact-sheet/#footnote-89006-14 [Accessed 10 December 2013].

McGrail, K.M., Van Doorslaer, E., Ross, N.A. & Sanmartin, C., 2009. Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada and the United States: A Decomposition Analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 99(10), pp.1856–63.

Nazroo, J.Y., 2003. The Structuring of Ethnic Inequalities in Health: Economic Position, Racial Discrimination, and Racism. American Journal of Public Health, 93(2), pp.277–84.

Ostrowska, A., 2012. Health inequalities–gender perspective. Przegl Lek., 69(2), pp.61-6.

Shelter, 2013. Who gets priority for council housing. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/finding_a_place_to_live/council_housing/who_gets_priority” http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/finding_a_place_to_live/council_housing/who_gets_priority [Accessed 10 December 2013].

Shircore, R., 2009. Guide for World Class Commissioners Promoting Health and Well-Being: Reducing Inequalities. London: RSPH RSPH.

Smedley, B., Jeffries, M., Adelman, L. & Cheng, J., 2003. Race, Racial Inequality and Health Inequities: Separating Myth from Fact. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/assets/uploads/file/Race_Racial_Inequality_Health.pdf” http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/assets/uploads/file/Race_Racial_Inequality_Health.pdf [Accessed 10 December 2013].

Thorpe, T., 2011. Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www.bgs.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1443:healthylivesstrategy&catid=14:consultations&Itemid=110” http://www.bgs.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1443:healthylivesstrategy&catid=14:consultations&Itemid=110 [Accessed 10 December 2013].

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007. Health Inequalities. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://search.hhs.gov/search?q=African+Americans%2C+Native+Americans+and+Pacific++Islanders+live+shorter+lives+and+have+poorer+health+outcomes&btnG=Search&entqr=3&ud=1&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&output=xml_no_dtd&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&lr=lang_en&client=HHS&proxys” http://search.hhs.gov/search?q=African+Americans%2C+Native+Americans+and+Pacific++Islanders+live+shorter+lives+and+have+poorer+health+outcomes&btnG=Search&entqr=3&ud=1&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&output=xml_no_dtd&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&lr=lang_en&client=HHS&proxys [Accessed 10 December 2013].

Va Doorslaer, E., Koolman, X. & Jones, A.M., 2003. Explaining income-related inequalities in doctor utilisation in Europe:a decomposition approach. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www2.eur.nl/ecuity/public_papers/WP5v4.pdf” http://www2.eur.nl/ecuity/public_papers/WP5v4.pdf [Accessed 10 December 2013].

Woodwarda, A. & Kawachib, I., 2000. Why reduce health inequalitiesJournal of Epidemiol Community Health, 54, pp.923-929.

Woolf, S.H. et al., 2004. The health impact of resolving racial disparities: An analysis of US mortality data. American Journal of Public Health, 94(12), pp.2078-81.

Categories
Free Essays

Gender, Management and Leadership

Introduction

This paper seeks to compare and contrast the leadership styles of two leaders with different genders. The main areas covered include the justification for the choice of leaders, detailed and critical investigation of the differences between their management styles along with the application of the main principles of gender management. This paper will focus on the hypothesis that female leadership is different from male leadership style and the main implications of these differences on organizational performance.

Rationale

For the purpose of this paper, Anne Wintour and Larry Page were chosen as the leaders to be discussed. Anne Wintour is the female CEO of Vogue and Larry Page is the male CEO of Google. Both these leaders are well known for their management and leadership styles, which are different from each other. Both Vogue and Google are internationally known organisations and maintain stable financial growth. Vogue is a fashion magazine and Google is a technology company. Both companies aim for the development of ways by which the consumers can connect to information (Vogue US Official Website, 2013; Google Official Website, 2013).These leaders were chosen in order to demonstrate leadership styles at two extreme ends. This will aid in the translation of the implications of such different management behaviours on organizational performance. This will also help to identify which management/leadership style is the most beneficial for the corporate culture and achievement of the organisational objectives.

Discussion

Anne Wintour is the long time Editor in Chief of Vogue, USA. She is known for her icy character and the emotional distance she keeps from everyone, She has been described as emotionless and remote (Daily Mail, 2011). There have been a number of discussions on the subject of her character, as being the main driver for Vogue’s success (Daily Mail, 2011). She is considered to be one of the most powerful women (69th rank in Forbes, 2011) in the world. Manlow, (2009) states that Anne Wintour has been called “Nuclear Wintour” for her management style, which was negatively perceived by her employees. This implies that in the majority of cases, Anne Wintour’s attitude towards employees may be considered intimidating and hostile. This leader has been considered to be ignorant towards the needs of her employees. As a result, her leadership style could be defined as being authoritative (Lewin et al, 1939). This contradicts with the significance of moral leadership that implies that the leader should be concerned about their employees (Everett, 2011). Abiodun (2010) agrees that there is a strong correlation between the satisfaction of employees and customer satisfaction. Thus implying that employee satisfaction directly affects the increase in employee morale, which in turn drives the productivity of organization. Based on this argument, deductive reasoning would dictate that customer satisfaction would be low at Forbes due to lack of employee satisfaction. However, as discussed in this essay, Vogue’s financial performance and global prominence are impressive. Therefore Anne Wintour’s leadership style does not seem to adversely affect Vogue’s financial performance or employee productivity.

On the other hand, there is Larry Page, the CEO and co-founder of Google. Google is well known for integrating it’s human resource strategies that transform work into an attraction (CNN Money, 2011). Larry Page is known to be involved in every single activity of the company, thus creating the perception that he is one of the employees, rather than CEO of the company. In contrast to the dominating behaviour of Anne Wintour, Larry Page promotes openness and collaborative leadership (Northouse, 2010). He is constantly looking for new talents, mainly among the students; whereas Anne Wintour tends to be intimidating towards younger talents (Daily Mail, 2011). Even though the aim of both leaders is the same (find talented and smart employees), their approach to management and leadership is different. For instance, in order to increase the employee morale, Larry Page tends to integrate both elements of work and play (Everett, 2011). This suggests that he wants employees to feel relaxed and taken care of. He believes that employee productivity is directly correlated to the openness and relaxation at the workplace, which are the main drivers for creativity to emerge according to Everett (2011). Larry Page’s leadership style may be defined as democratic (Lewin et al, 1939). Instead of providing interviews and public speaking, this leader is focused on collaborating with the employees; thus achieving the best possible results. This is driven by his introvert character, which suggests that he is not the type of leader to share every success with the world. However, he is more focused on the development of cohesion and understanding in the company (Northouse, 2010). Furthermore, Larry Page seems more focused on the company itself and achieving great results. Recent reports by CNN Money (2011) suggest that the avoidance of public speaking has negatively affected Google’s organizational performance. This is evidenced by the fact that a lack of post-earnings conference with investors allegedly weakened Google’s stock price by 8% in 2011 (CNN Money, 2011).

Manning and Curtis, (2003) suggest that a true leader should possess the ability to lead with integrity, vitality, charisma, persistence, stability, vision and concern for others. Larry Page possesses almost all the aspects of a true leader. However, one of the main concerns for him is charisma, which can be ascertained based on his lack of communication with external stakeholders. With regards to Anne Wintour, her main weakness is the inability to be concerned about her employees. However, this does not affect the performance of her company. Furthermore, this could be seen as an advantage, as there have been discussions recently about making Anne Wintour one of the US Ambassadors (Bloomberg, 2012). Her dominating behaviour helps Anne Wintour make sure that all business processes are controlled and monitored. However, Seperich and McCalley (2006) argue that the “fear of the boss” among employees may result in obstruction for creativity emergence, which is an integral part of business process in the fashion editing industry. Anne Wintour’s leadership style is driven by her willingness to bypass gender lines. This implies that she is willing to decrease the significance of sexism in the context of management and leadership (Daily Mail, 2011).

Conclusion

This paper was written to demonstrate differences in the leadership styles between the male and female CEOs. Anne Wintour of Vogue USA and Larry Page of Google Corporation were discussed and analysed. As a result of the case study analysis, it has been concluded that authoritative and democratic types of leadership work well in the context of organizational performance. This is mainly due to the fact that both companies have maintained a stable financial growth, and have acquired an international brand reputation.

As a result, even though the authoritative leadership style of Anne Wintour might be considered as an obstacle to the productivity of the company; whereas Larry Page’s introvert character has also negatively affected Google’s performance, the vision of these leaders drive the success of the related organizations.

Further research would be required to determine whether authoritative or democratic leadership styles are more suitable to particular genders. Also, the limitation in this analysis is that CEOs from different industries and with different leadership styles have been chosen. This may have led to analysis bias.

References

Abiodoun R. (2010). Leadership Behavior Impact on Employee’s Loyalty, Engagement and Organizational Performance. Author House: USA

Bloomberg. (2012). Ambassador Anna Wintour Would Make the U.S. Look Good. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-04/ambassador-anna-wintour-would-make-the-u-s-look-good.html (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

CNN Money. (2011). What would Larry Page doLeadership lessons from Google’s doyen. Available: http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/18/what-would-larry-page-do-leadership-lessons-from-googles-doyen/ (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

Daily Mail. (2011). Anna Wintour claims she is not intimidating… Vogue interns may beg to differ. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2030249/Anna-Wintour-claims-intimidating-Vogue-interns-beg-differ.html#axzz2KDbDbfUR (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

Everett A., (2011). Benefits and Challenges of Fun in the Workplace. Library Leadership and Management, 25, 1, 1-10

Google Official Website. (2013). Available: www.google.com (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

Lewin, K., Lippit, R. and White, R. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates. Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 271-301

Manning G., Curtis K. (2003). The Art of Leadership. McGraw Hill: USA

Manlow V. (2009). Designing Clothes: Culture and Organization of the Fashion Industry. Transaction Publishers: USA

Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership, theory and practice. (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Seperich G., McCalley R. (2006). Managing Power And People. M.E. Sharpe: USA

Vogue Official Website. (2013). Available: www.vogue.com (Accessed on 6/2/2013)

Categories
Free Essays

What impact does the examiner’s behavior and individual characteristics (e.g. language background or gender) have on the test taker’s performance in a live oral proficiency interview?

Introduction

The overwhelming consensus of the majority of literature agrees that the individual characteristics of the examiners in an oral proficiency interview do have a measurable effect on the outcomes of that interview. It seems that the effect of cultural differences is the prevailing concern amongst the literature, as modern academics have found that gender as a defining characteristic does not have any significant effect. This is contrary to previous findings which have concluded that according to one’s gender, there is a conversational style that is adopted and accordingly, participants are likely to respond in a typical or predictable manner. The concern of the literature with regards to the impact of cross-cultural differences can be used to explain the variety of opinion with regards to gender, as well as the impact of other factors of social identity on participants in the interviews. It stands to reason that different cultural contexts will view factors of social identity is different ways, and as a result thereof different candidates will respond to factors of gender, age, ethnicity and religion with different levels of severity with regards to impact. Arguably, the impact of certain characteristics on the candidate’s performance may be categorized into factors of social identity, where there is a potential for variation in performance based on the individual characteristics of the interviewer, as well as the candidates. The second factor relates to the tendency of interviewers to accommodate the candidate and this may be classified as behavioral. Based on the purpose of the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), as seeking to objectively assess proficiency, it stands to reason that both behavioral and individual characteristics should be taken into consideration in the design of the interview and assessment of the candidate’s skills. For the sake of pragmatism however, objective assessment and tolerance of behavioral characteristics should be addressed in order to ensure consistency of testing of all candidates and it would be impractical to assess and accommodate the impacts of individual characteristics in OPIs.

Bibliography

Cross-Cultural Pragmatics

Berwick, Richard & Ross, Steven (1996): Cross-cultural pragmatics in oral proficiency interview strategies. In: Milanovic, Michael & Saville, Nick (Eds.): Performance Testing, Cognition and Assessment: Selected papers from the 15th Language Testing Research Colloquium. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 34-54.

The article introduces the problem of reliability and validity in OPIs with regard to the conversational nature of the interview itself allowing for the introduction of accommodating techniques by interviewers presenting a dysfunctional characteristic of the interviewer, as this behavior or language demonstration being accommodated is generally that which displays the weaknesses in the interviewee’s language skills. The tendency of interviewers to accommodate less proficient language speakers is detrimental to the overall purpose of the test. There is a similar cross-cultural impact on those who provide interview ratings and there is a lack of awareness in the rating of OPIs with regards to these cross-cultural differences.

The study aimed to quantify this difference in the context of the interview itself and did so by using twelve language participants (six English as a second language (ESL), six Japanese learners) and one American interviewer. A number of differences in the approach of the interviewer was observed and illustrated, specifically relating to the way in which they accommodated the interviewee and directed the flow of conversation. It was observed that Japanese learners were overall much less fluent than their ESL counterparts and that they simultaneously displayed less morphosyntactic control than those learners. The research raises the question about whether there should be the development of a universal prototype for conducting the oral interview or whether there should be a conscious accounting for cultural differences. The alternative therefore is the tolerance of cultural differences to extent the assessment to pragmatic competence in the second language.

With reference to the above question, this article is highly relevant as it positions the paradigm of cross-cultural differences as it recognizes the unconscious effect of cultural differences on the ability of the interviewer to perform objectively in the test situation. Arguably, this is an innate limitation of the interview and to the extent that cross-cultural differences have an effect on the outcomes of learners in the OPI, the test should tolerate these differences in order to ensure accuracy and reliability of the results across the board.

Lazaraton, Anne (1996): Interlocutor support in oral proficiency interviews: the case of CASE. In: Language Testing 13, 151-172.

This article presents a qualitative analysis of the types of linguistic and interactional support that a native speaking interviewer provides to a non-native speaking candidate in personal interviews. This is one aspect of analysis with regards to the interviewer-candidate interaction and this refers to the unconscious gesture made by interviewers to accommodate their interviewee, with the natural behavior of the interviewer being directed more strongly at candidates with a less proficient skill set.

The results from the test indicated that, in the sample group of fifty-eight transcribed Cambridge Assessment of Spoken English (CASE) interviews, there were eight subtypes of interlocutor support prevalent which were observed, including the use of comprehension checks and clarification requests by the interviewer, grammatical, syntactical or lexical simplification of an utterance to facilitate comprehension and introducing a topic in order to set the scene for the candidate. It was suggested that these subtypes are positive findings for the purposes of the presence of documented conversational practices. It is unclear on the research, whether the presence of these subtypes had any effect on the outcome ratings of proficiency in these cases, however it is clear that there is an effect on these ratings.

As was the case with the Berwick et al. (1996) article, it is clear that there is a tendency of the interviewer to accommodate their own cultural paradigms into the interview setting and that this may have a measurable impact on the candidate themselves. The impact therefore should be tolerated or accommodated in some way in order to ensure the accuracy of the results as a measure of language proficiency, this justifying the inclusion of this article.

Examiner Conduct

Brown, Annie. (2003): Interviewer variation and the co-construction of speaking proficiency. Language Testing, 20(1), 1-25.

The central assertion of this article is that the achievement of consistent ratings in the interview is dependent on the consistency of the examiners conduct during the process of interviewing. The article presents findings in previous research that supports the hypothesis that interviewers generally have distinct and individual styles which they use across a number of interviews and this style is apparent in different forms of interviews, even those with constrained speech. The instrument of the study was an interview by two different interviewers, rated objectively as the most difficult and least difficult interviewer according to quantitative ratings.

Factors associated with different interviewing style include: the level of rapport that they are able to establish with the interviewee, their functional and chosen topics, the ways in which they ask questions and construct prompts, the ways in which they develop and extend the chosen topic, and the ways in which, and the extent to which they accommodate their speech into that of the interviewer. These factors were used to determine the difficulty rating of the interviewer and were applied to the results of the interview.

The outcomes of the interviewer were typical in that the interviewee performed predictably better with the easier rated interviewer and worse with the more difficult rated interviewer. It was found that the interview style of the easier rated interviewer contributed to the quality of the outcome of the interviewee. The conclusions of the research found that standard approaches to training and accreditation is inadequate, as the formal methods of training neglect to consider different interviewing styles that develop post-qualification. This is particularly relevant in second language testing as there is a heavy reliance of these interviews on an unstructured naturalistic interaction, and therefore the style of the interviewer becomes arguably more important. These must be monitored in order to ensure that they do not present different levels of challenge in and of themselves.

It is clear therefore based on this research, that there are a number of factors specific to the interviewer that may have an effect on the performance of the interviewee in the test. The individual characteristics of the examiner therefore may have a significant impact on the results of the test in so far as the individual examiners style may present a challenge independent of the test being undertaken.

Impact of Gender in Oral Proficiency Testing

O’Loughlin, Kieran (2002): The impact of gender in oral proficiency testing. In: Language Testing 19/2, 169-192.

The article presents an introduction to the available literature on gender characteristics having an overall effect on the ability of examiners or interviewers on interviewees. Ultimately, the article looks to understand the differences between interviewers and suggests that the cause of the variability is at least partly due to gender differences. It is suggested that male and female conversational styles are uniquely distinct and as such, men and women constitute different speech communities. Based on this assertion, female conversational style is characterized as collaborative, co-operative, symmetrical and supportive, whereas its male conversational style is characteristically controlling, uncooperative, asymmetrical and unsupportive.

These findings however neglect certain social identity factors in their generalizations as to both the communicative characteristics of the interviewer and those of the interviewee, such as age, ethnicity, occupation and sexual identity. These factors indicate that language use of men and women is flexible and can vary distinctly across cultural, social and situational context, overriding potential gender differences. There is a further suggestion that the behavior of the interviewer may change according to the gender of the interviewee and gendered behavior of the interviewer may strengthen or undermine the performance of the interviewee.

The participants in the study were tested twice in an International English Language Testing System IELTS practice interview, one with a male interviewer and once with a female interviewer. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed in relation to previously identified features of gendered language use, namely overlaps, interruptions and minimal responses. The analyzed scores from a discourse analysis and a test-score analysis indicated that there was no significant effect of gender on the IELTS interview. It was found that there was no significant gender pattern with the use of gendered language features and collaborative language use was experienced by both genders of participants.

It is concluded that gender competes with other elements of social identity in a fluid and dynamic manner, and because of the extensive variety of these factors, the effect of gender on the interviewees performance may be specific to a situation and therefore difficult to predict. This article emphasizes the impact of factors of social identity on the test taker’s performance, as well as the particular impact of gender. Arguably, it may be evidenced that test-takers with particular sensitivity to gender stereotyping may react differently, however the weight of gender as a factor is as a characteristic of social identity.

This article is a relevant consideration as it positions the factor of gender within a paradigm of social identity factors and does not focus specifically on the effect of gender in interviews. In doing so, it becomes clear that the impact of individual characteristics on the interview participants is one which is not easy to predict as it relies heavily on the individual characteristics of the examiner and participant. Therefore mitigating the impact of these characteristics on the participant may not be practical or pragmatic as an approach to improving reliability and validity of these tests.

Meaning Negotiation

Katona, Lucia (1998): Meaning negotiation in Hungarian oral proficiency examination of English. In: Young, Richard & He, Agnes Weiyun (Eds.): Talking and testing. Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 239-270.

This article is concerned with the effect of the interlocutor on the test experience or simply stated the effect of the interviewer on the outcome of the test experience. This is based on the premise that any variation in the way in which a task is presented to the test-taker may have a significant or noticeable impact of the performance of the test-taker in that interaction. This echoes the finding of many empirical studies researching the effect of individual characteristics of the examiner on the test participant.

The article proposes meaning negotiation and considers the effect of familiarity on the candidates. The study proposes that an interviewer that is familiar to the candidate may have an effect on the way in which meaning is negotiated between the participants. It does so by studying the effects of meaning negotiation between Hungarian interviewers and interviewees during the English OPIs. The study revealed that candidates who were familiar with the interlocutor interacted more natural in the negotiation sequences and exchanges presented to them in the interview. Conversely, attempts to engage in negotiation discourse with an unfamiliar interlocutor resulted in a more formal and artificial interaction. The article concludes that the frequency and the type of negotiation differ according to whether the interlocutor was known to the participant, and where the interlocutor is unknown, it is more likely to result in misunderstandings between the participants and overall, the discourse is more artificial and formal in nature.

This article is highly relevant for the purposes of the topic at hand, as it presents a potential method for mitigating the impact of certain forms of individual or behavioral characteristics on the interview participant. If one considers that, particularly with regards to individual characteristics, there is no practical manner of eliminating the effect of these characteristics on the participants, meaning negotiation may allow for the mitigation of these characteristics in the interview, allowing for a natural interaction which may allow for the demonstration of the requisite skills.

Summary

Behavioral characteristics of examiners have a significant impact on the outcomes of the OPIs, particularly in their own tendencies to unconsciously accommodate the shortcomings in the proficiency of the participants (Brown, 2003; Lazaraton, 1996). Through training and evaluation of the interviewers after the completion of their training, it may be possible to tolerate these differences and possibly mitigate their effect on the participants (Brown, 2003). This however is problematic due to the conversational nature of the interviews themselves as there is a significant freedom within the interviews to direct questions and subject matter (Berwick, et al., 1996).

Individual characteristics of the interviewer may also have a significant effect on the outcome of the OPIs: however these are not strictly limited to gender. Indeed, previous research indicates that gender does have an impact, however it is noted that this impact is not specific to gender, but rather to features of social identity experienced by both the interviewer and the participant. It stands to reason that mitigating the impact of social identity factors on the participants is a pragmatic difficulty as there is no practical way of accounting for this impact (O’Loughlin, 2002). It was shown that gender as a single factor does not have any significant difference, although in a study which surveys a more diverse social group, this outcome may be markedly different.

Meaning negotiation was shown to have a significant impact on the level of comfort and formality experienced by the participant and it was found that the participants with an interlocutor who was familiar to them had a more natural interaction, whilst those with an unfamiliar interlocutor did not (Katonta, 1998). Arguably, therefore an interlocutor who is familiar may provide necessary relief for the behavioral and individual characteristic impacts noted above. This however is based on the premise that a more natural interaction leads to a better result, which was not commented on in the study.

Biblography

Brown, Annie. (2003): Interviewer variation and the co-construction of speaking proficiency. Language Testing, 20(1), 1-25.

Berwick, Richard & Ross, Steven (1996): Cross-cultural pragmatics in oral proficiency interview strategies. In: Milanovic, Michael & Saville, Nick (Eds.): Performance Testing, Cognition and Assessment: Selected papers from the 15th Language Testing Research Colloquium. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 34-54.

Katona, Lucia (1998): Meaning negotiation in Hungarian oral proficiency examination of English. In: Young, Richard & He, Agnes Weiyun (Eds.): Talking and testing. Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 239-270.

Lazaraton, Anne (1996): Interlocutor support in oral proficiency interviews: the case of CASE. In: Language Testing 13, 151-172.

O’Loughlin, Kieran (2002): The impact of gender in oral proficiency testing. In: Language Testing 19/2, 169-192.

Categories
Free Essays

How does gender discrimination manifest itself in a workplace?

Introduction

In 2000 the United Nations established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These eight goals focused on international development were accepted by 193 member states of the United Nations as well as by 23 international organizations. One of MDGs became to promote gender equality and to empower women (Rao, 2012). Therefore, women’s rights and gender discrimination have become the important topics on the international agenda with the beginning of the twenty first century. Not only did international community aim to improve social status of women (i.e. living standards) but it also focused on the economic situation of women, in particular on gender inequality at work. Despite these ambitious goals, Global Report prepared by International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2011 warned that “Women continue to suffer discrimination in almost all aspects of employment, including the jobs they can obtain, their remuneration, benefits and working conditions, and their access to decision-making positions” (ILO, 2011, p.19). In the recent years there was a few well-known cases of gender discrimination at work. One of them is the example of Morgan Stanley’s, investment banking business. The company had to pay $54 million to its 300 female employees after they postulated that they have been treated unequally compared to their male colleagues in reference to payment and promotion opportunities. Following the statistics of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a number of discriminatory lawsuits have increased in the last decade (Welle and Heilman, 2005). The issues presented above indicate that gender discrimination is still an inherent element of the work places.

The following essay is an in-depth analysis of gender inequality at work that aims to examine various types of gender discrimination in a workplace. First, the essay defines term “gender discrimination” and presents the methods of measuring discrimination in order to gain detail understanding of researched topic. Second, the essay analyzes changes in gender inequality between 1970[1] and 2010 such as labour market participation, pay gap and occupational segregation in order to examine the improvement of women’s working situation within last 40 years. Further, the essay considers current forms of gender discrimination, in particular problem of women’s career advancement and sexual harassment. Moreover, the essay studies the roots of gender inequality at work with an emphasis on gender stereotyping. Finally, the essay presents various actions taken by the national governments and international organizations in the last decade in order to combat gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination – definition

According to the EU legislation, gender discrimination may have a direct or indirect character. Direct discrimination is defined as a case where “one person is treated less favourably on grounds of sex than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation” (Prechal and Burri, 2009, p. 4). Typical example of direct discrimination is wage gap between women and men who perform the same duties in a workplace. Direct discrimination does not include the situations where the sex of the person is a factor that determines the job. For instance, a male role in the movie has to be performed by a man (Welle and Heilman, 2005). In turn, indirect discrimination is regarded as a situation where “an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of one sex at a particular disadvantage compared with persons of the other sex unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary” (Prechal and Burri, 2009, p. 4). A form of indirect discrimination is a part-time contract as a basis of women’s employment, typically preferred by the employers.

Over the past years a number of methods have been developed in order to analyze gender discrimination at work. Standard measures are women’s participation in labour force as well as the gender gap in earnings (Cotter et.al., 2004). In 2008 the ILO introduced two new indicators. These indicators were occupational segregation by sex as well as female share of employment in managerial and administrative occupations[2]. It is worth to mention about three groups of indicators developed by the EU. First group are indicators that measure discrimination and aim to expose gaps, disadvantages and other differentials affecting people protected by equality policies and anti-discrimination law. Second group constitute indicators that measure progress with anti-discrimination law. They intend to analyze how quickly and accurately public policies instruments and legal tools are implemented. Finally there are indicators that measure the consequences of anti-discrimination law. Their purpose is to examine how effective the implemented policies are in combating inequalities (ILO, 2011). It is also important to add that the organizations use different methods of data collection and hence, the data on women employment and gender discrimination may vary. However, in order to gain a detail insight into the problem of gender discrimination at work it is crucial to consider these diversified data.

Changes in gender inequality at work between 1970 and 2010

Over the last forty years, there have been massive changes in the gender composition of the global workforce. Women have strengthened their position on the labour market and gender discrimination at work has tended to decline. Three indicators should be considered in order to demonstrate these transformations. These are labour force participation rate, occupational segregation and pay gap, as these indicators are often perceived as prime indicators of changes in women’s status (Cotter, 2004) and hence, have significant implications for gender discrimination at work. Considering first labour force participation rate, an increase of female participation rate has been observed between 1970 and 2008. As Appendix 1 presents women aged 25-54 increased their labour force participation rate progressively from 42% in 1970 to 74% in 2000 while the men aged 25-54 decreased their participation rate from 94% in 1970 to 86% (Cotter, 2004). According to the ILO’s methodology[3], global participation rate of women grew from 50.2% in 1980to 52.2% in 1990 and settled at 51.7% in 2008. In turn, male participation rate decreased gradually from 82% in 1980 to 77.7% in 2008 (ILO, 2011). An increased participation of women in the labour market is mostly responsible for the changing composition of the global workforce. Amongst the most important reasons of growing female participation rate are better access to education for women, changing social, religious and cultural norms, marital power or political regime (Acker, 2006). It is crucial to add that female participation rate depends on the factors such as race, age, education level or marital status and hence, may vary across different types of women[4] (Cotter, 2004).

In reference to the patterns in women’s and men’s occupations, women and men perform very different kinds of job and there is a strong division on female and male occupations. As Appendix 2 indicates most of women have been hired in female jobs. Between 1970 and 2010 a number of women working in female occupations have grown steadily what confirmed their increased participation in the labour market. One the other hand, over the past decades women have also gained an access to the jobs that had previously been unavailable to them. A number of women have successfully found employment in the professions such as lawyers and judges, doctors, architectures or policewomen (Appendix 3), typically perceived as male occupations. It is worth notice that there are still various professions that women have a limited access to. Amongst the most important are automobile mechanics as well as airplane pilots and navigators (Wright and Rogers, 2010).

Finally, pay gap between men and women is perhaps the least visible indicator of work-related gender inequality. From 1970 women’s average earnings have grown steadily, while men’s average earnings increased until the mid-1980s, stagnated until the early 1990s and then declined. In 1995 men’s average earnings started to increase again. Although the pay gap between women and men was reduced during the last 40 year, until this day women earn much less than men. In the 1970s the average women who worked full-time earned approximately 62% of the salary estimated for the average men at that time (Cotter, 2004). Currently, there is no statistics on the global gender pay gap, as it varies significantly across the regions. In 2010 the OECD report stated that the average gender pay gap for people being in full-time employment amounted to 17.6 % across the OECD countries (Appendix 4). It indicates that even the countries and regions strongly focused on the elimination of gender inequality at work still struggle with significant earnings gap. Moreover, the ILO postulates that there is still a large number of developing countries where women earn on average between 70-90% of men’s payment (ILO, 2011).

The following analysis of the changing patterns in gender inequality between 1970 and 2000 has two main implementations. First, gender discrimination at work still persists. The labour force is still dominated by men. Men and women are still highly concentrated in typically male and female occupations, respectively. Moreover, there is still a large inequality in the average earnings between men and women. Second, gender discrimination in the labour market has decreased since 1970. However, while a sharp decline in gender inequality falls on the 1970s and the 1980s, this decline seems to have stalled from the 1990s. The primary outcomes of the analysis by the end of the 2000s closely resemble the outcomes at the beginnings of the 1990s. It indicates that strengthening women’s position at work has mostly fallen on the 1970s and the 1980s, while the steps taken by the countries and organizations in last two decades brought much less positive changes to gender discrimination. It also indicates that no pattern of stability have been observed over these 40 years in reference to the reduction of gender discrimination (Cotter, 2004).

Gender discrimination in a workplace

Three primary indicators of the changes in women’s status at work do not reflect fully the problem of gender discrimination in the workplace any longer. In the previous decades a limited access to the labour market and pay gap were the signs of gender discrimination at work. Currently there are various forms of formal and informal discrimination of women in a workplace. While formal discrimination regards the limitations in the access to particular job positions, advancement opportunities and compensation for women, informal discrimination refers to the particular unfavourable situations that woman may face in a workplace. Five forms of discrimination[5] seem to be particularly visible in the current workplaces.

Considering first formal discrimination, its major form is women’s problem with promotion and climbing career ladder in a work place. There is a common opinion amongst the employers that the jobs which concentrate the most power (i.e. organizational leadership, public governance) are male occupations. These positions require particular attributes and skills such as decisiveness and task-orientation, believed to be inherent attributes of male workers. In result, women have significantly lower chances for promotions than their male colleagues (Welle and Heilman, 2005). In order to prove that, it is worth to mention the statistics of the European Institute for Gender Equality. Women represent on average 59% of university graduates within the EU. However, approximately 3% of president roles within the European companies are allocated to women. Similarly, only 12% of them find employment in the company’s management board. Moreover, in the EU the unemployment rate remains higher for women rather than men (Rchland, 2011). It is also important to notice that the EU is one of the most developed regions in the world that aims to promote equal employment opportunities. It indicates that the problem of promotion and successful career might be more serious in other regions across the world, in particular in developing countries due to the traditional perception of women’s responsibilities and limited access to education for women. For instance, in India women represent just under 1% of all positions in the management boards (Rchland, 2011). Another indicator of women’s discrimination in terms of promotion and career is a percentage of women’s representation in national parliaments, used by the United Nations. As Appendix 5 demonstrates, in the developing countries women’s constitute 18% of the representation in national parliaments, while this percentage is only insignificantly higher for the developed regions and amounts to 23%. Hence, women across the world have also got serious problem with accessing prestige public positions (The United Nations, 2011).

Considering informal discriminations, its prominent example is the employment status of women. As Appendix 6 shows, part-time employment is a common characteristic of the female labour participation, even in the most developed countries across the globe. While some women decide to knowingly choose part-time jobs in order to combine employment with household responsibilities, a significant number of women is forced by the employers to choose part-time work, as it is preferable form of women’s employment in most of the companies (ILO, 2010). Additionally, women are more likely hired in informal sectors than man are. This trend is particularly strong in various developing countries such as Kenya, Chad or Bolivia (Appendix 7). These forms of employment have various costs for women such as low job security, low payments[6] as well as limited access to the basic public services (i.e. public health care). As a result, women are exposed to the marginalization (ILO, 2010; The World Bank, 2012).

Another form of informal discrimination is sexual harassment. Research conducted by ILO revealed, that approximately 40-50% of women in the EU complain about various forms of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual behaviours that they had to face in a workplace. Similarly, UN’s analysis in Asia-Pacific countries showed that 30-40% of women in this region experienced similar abuses. In New South Wales (Australia) sexual harassment became the largest category of work-related complaints in 2009 (ILO, 2011). These examples of sexual harassment strongly underline an existing problem of gender discrimination in the workplace. It is important to add that these unwanted sexual behaviours tend to increase in the recent years. Due to the current economic crisis, women’s employment is highly precarious. Many employers and male workers at the prestige position within a company may take advantages of current situation on the labour market in order to increase these negative behaviours (ILO, 2011).

Finally, informal discrimination of women at work also concerns maternity status. The Maternity Protection Convention from 2000 states that the benefits should be provided for pregnant women so they can ensure accurate level of living standards and good health both for themselves and for the child. According to the ILO survey from 2010, in a number of countries across the world the governments do not provides maternity benefits by themselves. They also fail to obligate employers to deliver such benefits. These negative patterns exist in mostly in developing countries. However, there is also a significant number of developed countries such as the United States where the national legislation does not obligate to provide cash benefits to pregnant women. Hence, as a consequence of pregnancy women have been disadvantaged at work (ILO, 2011).

The roots of gender discrimination in a workplace

As gender discrimination commonly appears in the workplaces, it is crucial to consider the causes of this discrimination. A major determinant of gender discrimination at work are cultural beliefs about the gender, as people translate “ideas about gender into discriminatory behaviours through sex categorization and gender stereotyping”. (Bobbit-Zeher, 2011, p.766). These stereotypes can be further divided into two groups, descriptive stereotypes and prescriptive stereotypes. While descriptive stereotypes refers to the collection of attributes and traits that has been unique for women or men, prescriptive stereotype concerns a set of characteristics and attributes that define what women and men should be like. These stereotypes of gender may lead to different ways of discrimination. Descriptive stereotyping will cause discriminatory behaviour when the attributes associated with that stereotype does not match the attributes required in a particular job. A good example is that women are less likely hired in male gender-typed jobs. Typical attributes of women are relationship-orientation and nurturance, while male gender-typed jobs require usually decisiveness and task-orientation that are regarded as typical male characteristics. Hence, the employers often believe that men will be more successful in male occupations due to their congenital attributes. This fact works against women, particularly in reference to highly prestige job vacancies in senior management. These positions are perceived as male gendered-typed and hence, women are less likely to perform them. In turn, prescriptive stereotyping will lead to discriminatory behaviours when the attributes associated with gender do not match expectation of employers and coworkers. This stereotype is based on the assumption what women should be like and how she should behave. If women undermine typical attributes of women by her behaviour (i.e. being extremely successful while performing male gender-typed job) it might lead to disapproval and hostile reactions from employers and coworkers (Welle and Heilman, 2005).

It is important to add that also organizational structure, policies and practices contribute to gender discrimination. For instance, the company is dominated by male workers may decide to hire women. It may lead to women’s exposure to sexual harassment and various forms of provocation from their male coworker’s side, as a consequence of men’s attempts to demonstrate their strong position within a company in order to preserve it. Also actions and interactions within a company may cause gender discrimination. Institutional actors are responsible for hiring and firing, performance evaluation and promotions. Therefore, actions and interactions within a company affect both gendered belief and organizational context and hence, may contribute to gender discrimination (Bobbit-Zeher, 2011).

Conclusions

To sum up, the following essay provided strong evidences that gender discrimination is an inherent element of the contemporary workplaces. Three primary indicators of changes in women’s employment status proved that gender inequality had significantly declined over last forty years while the position of women on the labour market strengthened. Nowadays women have a significant share in global labour force and enjoy an access to these vacancies that were previously reserved for male workers. Nonetheless, until this day women meet significant forms of gender discrimination in the workplaces. One of its most prominent forms are difficulties in climbing career ladder and problems with advancement opportunities that women have to face in most of the workplaces. Until this day there is still a large pay gap between women and men, even in the developed countries. Additionally, women are often refused a full-time employment and are hired on the basis of the part-time contracts. Further, women often find difficulties in fulfilling obligations by their employers when they are on the maternity leave. Finally, women are exposed to various discriminatory behaviours from their male colleagues, in particular to sex harassment and various forms of provocation. The gender discrimination has strong roots in the cultural views of gender and the stereotypical concept of women as fragile and weak. Also practices and policies implemented by organizations are in favour of spreading gender discrimination.

A number of positive steps was taken in the recent years in order to tackle the problem of gender discrimination. For instance, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises launched the Female Future programme (FF) in 2002. It was an eighteen months training which main purpose was to identify talented women in the Norwegian labour force and to move them quickly into leadership roles. This program was further accepted by other countries such as Japan, Austria or Uganda (Rchland, 2011). Another example can be EU Strategy for Equality between Women and Men (2010-2015) accepted by the European Commission. The strategy defined five priorities which should be realized to improve gender equality. These priorities were equal economic independence; equal pay for work and work for equal value; equality in decision-making; dignity, integration and the end to gender-based violence as well as gender equality in external actions (ILO, 2011). Further, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) started a campaign, Decent Work, Decent Life Campaign that intended to promote the rights of these workers that are highly vulnerable to discrimination. Over a hundred trade unions from 64 countries have been involved in this campaign. Also some national governments took steps to combat gender discrimination. For instance, Norway developed a program which obligated all the large publicly limited companies to ensure that 40% of their board members constitute women. This program is currently implemented in France (Rchland, 2011). Although a significant number of various initiatives have been developed to promote gender equality at work in the recent years, more time is needed to assess the effectiveness of these steps.

List of references:
Acker, J., (2006). Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class and Race in Organizations. Thousand Oak: Sage.
Bobbit-Zeher, D., (2011). Gender discrimination at work: Connecting Gender Stereotypes, Institutional Policies and Gender Composition of Workplace. Thousand Oak: Sage.
Cotter, D., al., (2004). Gender Inequality at Work. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.
International Labour Organization, (2010). Women in labour markets: Measuring progress and identifying challenges. Geneva: International Labour Office.
International Labour Organization, (2011). Equality at work: The continuing challenge. Geneva: International Labour Office.
OECD, (2010). Gender brief. Paris: OECD.
Prechel, S., and Burri, S., (2009). EU Rules on Gender Equality: How are they transported into national lawBrussels: The European Commission.
Rchland, H., (2011). Discrimination at work. World of Work. 72. P.6-26.
Rao, A., (2006). Gender Equality Architecture and UN Reforms. New York: The United Nations.
The United Nations, (2011). The Millennium Development Goals Report. New York: The United Nations.
The World Bank, (2012). World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development Outline. Washington: The World Bank.
Welle, B. and Heilman, M., (2005). Formal and Informal Discrimination Against Women at Work. The Role of Gender Stereotypes. Ohio: Centre for Public Leadership.
Wright, E. and Rogers, J., (2010). American Society. How it really worksNew York: W.W.Norton.

Categories
Free Essays

Gender in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet

Abstract

The overall impact of the role of gender and prejudice have an influence in every society in every nation around the world. This study examines the literature that has the potential to illustrate many of the controversial subjects emerging in society today. Beginning with a base assessment of Kay’s work allows a far greater depth of understanding and appreciation to be created. This piece critically defines the aspects of the Trumpet in order to illuminate a vital point of needed evolution. With a lasting story line, this analysis can be applied to a wide variety of studies in order to add fundamental quality and understanding.

The issues of gender and empathy in the realm of literature have consistently been an area of discussion, with a wide range of interpretation. This study examines the role of gender in Brewer’s theory of structural affect as well as assessing how Jackie Kay’s Trumpet establishes empathy through its portrayal of gender. Alongside this assessment will be a discussion on how Trumpet fits within the categories of queer and postmodern writing in relation to the continuum of Scottish literature at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century. This view is necessary in order to grasp the relevance of a transgendered lead character in an award-winning literary novel. It is through the utilization of symbolism that Kay illustrates a relatable link enabling her view to emerge clearly. Establishing key points of the plot through metaphor enables Kay to create a tale that is both easy to assimilate and interesting to explore for the reader.

From the onset, the information in Trumpet is designed to drive the reader to empathize with Millie’s pain at the intrusion of media after the death of her beloved husband. This emotion is evident in the opening sentence as the author invokes the image of a widow that is afraid to fully open the curtains because of what lies beyond (1998, p.1). This approach is designed lead the reader to sympathize with Millie by describing her anxiety and pain at the paparazzi surrounding her home in a manner that allows them to readily associate with the situation. “Even here now the sound of cameras, like the assault of a machine gun, is playing inside my head. I can’t get the noise to go no matter what I do,” (p. 2). Sharing Millie’s misery at the hounding by the media, Kay draws the reader deep into the plot before ever revealing that this is a queer story. The use of gender, and societal prejudice, provides a critical background upon which to build the overall storyline. The ability to define the character prior to revealing potentially perception changing information adds depth and associable elements to the plotline. This is a prime example of Brewer’s theory of affect accurately determining the direction of the literature.

Using structural affect, Kay is careful in her initial descriptions of Joss in order to describe him as Millie observed him (1998 p. 3). This ensures that that the reader, although sympathizing with Millie, also identifies her as a reliable narrator. This is a vital point that must be emphasized as the plot line relies on the strength of the narration to progress. The story evolves in such a manner that the reader never believes that Millie is lying about her mistaken certainty that Joss had been born male until their first sexual encounter. By that time a critical point has passed, Millie is in love and the reader has come to know Joss as she saw him during that time (p. 3).

Before revealing the deep dark secret that has led to the media scrutiny and the enmity of Millie’s son, Kay takes the tale back in time to introduce Millie’s love story with Joss (1998, p. 4). This creates a form of empathy with the reader that allows them to remember what it feels like to fall in love. Creating a mechanism that invokes a real sense of companionship serves to highlight the tender aspect of the story. This is an illustration of her effective implementation of the structural affect theory.

…the emotions of the reader are systematically determined by the configuration of the plot and the knowledge states of various agents. For example, consider what happens when the reader has the emotion of surprise. The author withholds critical information at the beginning of the story, information that is necessary for a correct interpretation of the story. Later on, the critical information is revealed, which triggers surprise in the reader.

(Graesser and Klettke, n.d., p.2)

The writer manipulates the reader’s reaction to specific points of the story by choosing what is revealed and when. This tool is utilized to draw out the main events and bring the entire plot into focus. Even when Millie has her first sexual encounter with Joss, as he/she removes the binding on her breasts, the revelation of Joss’ secret is hinted at rather than announced (p. 20-21). Throughout the story, Kay manipulates the emotional and intellectual response of the reader in order to ensure that the overarching theme remains firmly in the readers mind. To accomplish this, the author utilizes the method of introducing Joss as Millie sees him: as the person she loved, the adoring father, the respected member of the community as well as the sensitive musician (p. 5).

Brewer’s structural affect theory focuses on the influencing the psychology of the reader through the literature.

…Brewer tested his model by (a) manipulating features of the text and knowledge states of the reader and (b) observing whether these manipulations systematically predicted readers’ self-reports of particular emotions and how much they liked the story. The structural affect theory fared quite well in accounting for the psychological data.

(Graesser and Klettke, n.d., p. 3).

Millie’s early reminiscing is one of the methods that Kay uses throughout this story, this serves to set the stage for the narration to a point. Writing in the first person, Kay relates the tale through Millie’s perception and allows a real sense of personal emotion to reach the story. This included the idea that perhaps she had “hurt his manhood,” (p. 39) when she expressed her desire to have a baby.

Kay employs the affect principle to allow the reader to sympathize with Colman over what he views as his parents’ betrayal (1998, p. 40). She accomplishes this by interjecting a chapter in the third person as a means to make it absolutely clear that Joss had been born and died a female. By moving back and forth between narrators, the author enables a wide range of views to emerge. This instrument is effective and enables the author to transitions back into a first person narrative, this time with Colman as the narrator. Like his mother before him, Colman begins thinking of his father as he reflects on the elements that made Joss a good father (p. 41). The loathing that the reader subsequently develops for Colman is his own doing, based in part on his self-description. “It was all right, it was, being Joss Moody’s son. Only when I became Colman Moody did everything start to become a total fucking drag. It’s a tall order when you expected to be somebody just because your father is somebody,” (p. 45). Through Colman’s narration, we see Kay explore the feelings of being the adopted child. This is a critical point, as much of the story hinges on these negative emotional feelings. This is a direct association to the desire to look like one’s adoptive parents as well as the child’s efforts to have a normal life with unconventional parents. She even helps the reader to understand why Colman is angry, embarrassed even, that not knowing his father’s secret made him look stupid (p. 46).

Overall, the structure of the novel is meant to make Colman appear more callous than sympathetic. This is an attempt by the author to ensure that the plot progresses in a manner that benefits the underlying story. In the early chapters, we learn that Colman refuses to take his mother’s calls and then later that he has sided with a tabloid reporter who wants to write a biography of Joss (1998, p. 15). The reader feels his betrayal of his parents in the action because of the way Kay structured the story. If Kay had led with Colman’s narrative, focussing on the son’s negative memories of his parents and that they failed to provide the child with what he viewed as a ‘normal’ home life, Colman might have been a more sympathetic character to the reader. Instead, Kay uses her structure of the novel to manipulate the reader’s reaction to the character in a manner that adds to the underlying plot. This adds readability and long term credibility to the story.

Kay utilizes structural affect to create a postmodern novel in that the tale embraces popular culture and accessibility. In the introduction to her book Postmodernism and Pop Culture (1994), Angela McRobbie argues that one of the defining characteristics of postmodern texts, whether art or literature, is accessibility:

Not only was meaning in art or in culture all there, for all to see, stripped of its old hidden elitist difficulty, but it also, again as Jameson pointed out, seemed already familiar, like the faint memory of an old pop song, a refrain, a chorus, a tune, a ‘cover version’ of an original which never was. (2005, p. 3)

In essence, McRobbie (1994, p. 1) argues that postmodern works would tell us the meaning behind Mona Lisa’s smile, rather than forcing art critics to speculate on it for 400 years.

Kay does not go so far as to spell out the entire intent of the novel in her narrative, she employs the story itself to provide a means of motivation to progress. This is illustrated in the fact that the lesson to his son is about choosing one’s own identity. “The pictures called Mumbo Jumbo which has made me angrier than anything I can remember. He’s not given a name. Even the name he was given, John Moore, was not his original name,” (p. 276). Joss’ letter for his son discusses the idea that the name other people give us is perhaps less important than the name we give ourselves. This theme adds to the personal value experienced by reader. He, for example, might have been born Josephine Moore, but that was not who he was (p. 276). As Joss explains these things to his son, he makes it clear that no matter what label or name a person is given, they choose for themselves who they will be. “That’s the thing with us: we keep changing names. We’ve all got that in common. We’ve all changed names, you, me, my father. All for different reasons. Maybe one day you’ll understand mine,” (p. 276).

McRobbie argues that postmodernism is also intended to “force us to think seriously about the trivial” (p. 3). While it is incorrect to label the issues that Kay raises as “trivial”, there is an aspect of the novel that does seemingly grasp at this approach. Intertwining these elements lends depth and charm to the story, which in turn increases the final impact. In the chapter written in the third person, describing the doctor who comes to make out Joss’ death certificate, the physician finds it necessary to cross out “male” and “write” in female and then write it again, more distinctively (Kay p. 276). The author makes it clear that this seems trivial. This is a purposeful effort to guide the reader to make assumptions that are essential to the story. The question, implied by the text and the remainder of the novel, is how does it matterDid the sex assigned to Joss by birth affect the core of who he was, how he loved his family or the music that he madeThe intent then of the work is to make the reader ask if the sex we are assigned at birth is important to whom we are. Or, is gender a trivial matter than can be changed to reflect who we are as human beings?

Kay’s writing has had a positive impact on the development of Scottish literature at the end of the 20th century. One of the major factors identified by some scholars is that Kay’s work, and others like it, help move Scottish literature away from the concept that there is a homogeny in the writing there (Shirey p. 5). Kay’s plot line creates an inclusive perception that enables a wide range of acceptance on the part of the author. This translates directly into an international perception of tolerance outside of the traditional norms.

The second case, the loss of population, is of course related to the pervasive anxiety in modern Scotland over emigration—the recurring sense that many of the potential architects of the Renaissance were contributing their energies towards diasporic communities around the world or towards the continued, futile administration of British imperial power at precisely the moment of that power’s decline.

(Shirey, p.6)

There had been an perception that the rebirth of Scottish literature was not progressing due to the fact that the writers were either writing about their histories and cultures from before settling in Scotland or that they were so concerned with British approval that they were not distinctively Scottish (p. 7). The ability for Kay to reach out and touch a sensitive portion of the population through the shared experiences of her characters adds to the recognition of Scottish credibility. Her ability to tie in the gender issues of her characters in such a relatable manner illustrates a fundamental knowledge of the issues, which in turns adds gravitas to her entire effort.

Where Kay (p. 15) differentiates Trumpet from these trends is that her characters think of themselves as definitively Scottish. This strong national identity adds strength to the notion that the region remains strong in poignant literature. Joss, for example, knows that his father was from somewhere in Africa, but he teaches his son to think of Scotland as his home (Kay p. 276). This allows them to remain Scottish, even though much of their life and experience lies outside of the nation. Kay also takes her characters beyond the stereotype of the Scotsman in her further contribution to Scottish literature. There is a real sense of progression and development on a cultural and national level throughout the entire story.

Kay’s contribution to Scottish literature is that she refuses to mould her Scottish nationalism to a white heterosexual history. This is an important point that she makes no apologies for. She makes it clear that not only are the authors of Scottish literature no longer “straight” white men, neither are the characters. A reflection of modern life creates a real window for the reader to experience the travails of the characters. This allows her writing to carry not only a decisive and relatable story line about a delicate topic, but a real perception of strength and inclusive nature that illustrates the potential of an evolving culture. In the end, Kay’s work has built a solid foundation upon which to continue to build new and more enticing works.

References

Bennett, A. and Royle, N. (2004) Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, 3rd ed, Pearson Longman, Harlow. Retrieved from mhttp://site.iugaza.edu.ps/ahabeeb/files/2012/02/An_Introduction_to_Literature__Criticism_and_Theory.pdf

Bird, D., Dixon, R. and Lee, C. (2001) Authority and Influence: Australian Literary Criticism 1950-2000, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press. Retrieved from http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv.php?pid=UQ:8899&dsID=Bird_Intro.pdf

Graessar, A.C. and Klettke, B. (n.d.) Agency, Plot, and a Structural Affect Theory Of Literary Short Comprehension, The University of Memphis. Retrieved from http://www.memphis.edu/psychology/graesser/publications/documents/IBSCHB2.pdf

Kay, J. (1998) Trumpet, New York, Vintage Contemporaries.

McRobbie, A. (2005) Postmodernism and Pop Culture, Routledge, London. Retrieved from ttp://m.friendfeed-media.com/b64ddf30a52cfe50d0a7907b198b1b67214613d5

Shirey, R. D. (2007) “A Shrinking Highlands: Neil Gunn, Nationalism and the ‘World Republic of Letters’”, International Journal of Scottish Literature. 3. Retrieved from http://www.ijsl.stir.ac.uk/issue3/shirey.pdf

Stein, A. and Plummer, K. (July, 1994), “I Can’t Even Think Straight” “Queer” Theory and the Missing Sexual Revolution in Sociology, Sociological Theory, 12.2 178-187. Web. 15 Retrieved from http://jsingleton.wiki.westga.edu/file/view/I+cant+even+think+straight+queer+theory.pdf/299878142/I%20cant%20even%20think%20straight%20queer%20theory.pdf

Thrift, N. (2008) Non-Representational Theory: Space/Politics/Affect, New York & London, Routledge.

Warner, M. (2002) Public and Counterpublics (abbreviated version). Quarterly Journal of Speech. 88 (4), pp. 413 – 425.

Categories
Free Essays

Bridging the Gender Gap in Oil and Gas

1.0 Introduction

For many countries, the extractive industry plays a major role as an economic driver, creating jobs, revenue and opportunities for development and growth. There are also social, economic and environmental risks associated with these industries which affect men and women differently. Research by the World Bank (2009) has indicated that men have the most access to the benefits of these industries, whilst women are more likely to suffer the consequences of the social and environmental harms associated therewith. The different experiences of men and women in these industries significantly affect the ability of women to contribute to active growth and development in their respective economies. The gender gap in the oil and gas industry exists in two separate forms, the first being the top-end employment discrimination where there is a lack of females at the higher end of the employment spectrum seeing very low numbers of female engineers, and science and technology employees (European Commission, 2009). On the one hand this problem is a reflection of the imbalance of opportunities for adequate education, and on the other is what is referred to as the ‘leaky pipeline’ conundrum which describes the phenomenon of disproportionate numbers of women leaving these professions in each consecutive career stage in this industry. The second form of the gender gap is the very low numbers of female employees at the bottom end of the employment spectrum, that which requires lower education standards, but which may be more physically intensive. The World Bank reports (2009) that in most companies there is a female workforce of less than 10%, as these types of jobs are generally considered to be a ‘man’s job’. This is so because of the inherent physicality required in these work environments and the exposure to chemicals which presents a problem for female employees that are pregnant, meaning more time away from work and the inability to work if pregnant. This research will consider the existence of the gender gap, the justifications therefore, the effects of the gap and recommendations for closing this gap in the industry in terms of ensuring that the opportunities for growth and development, both economic and social are equally accessible in modern oil and gas industry.

1.1 Background to Research
1.2 Significance of Research
1.3 Research Question & Research Objectives

1.3.1 Research Question

What is the extent of the gender gap in the oil and gas industry?

1.3.2 Research Objectives

To determine the causes of the gender gap in the oil and gas industry.
To determine the effect of the gender gap in the industry.
To determine a succinct set of recommendations for companies in the industry, as well as regulatory authorities in order to close this gap moving towards equal employment opportunities in this industry.

1.4 Proposed Structure
2.0 Methodology

The research is primarily a conceptual research dissertation that focuses on an extensive conceptualization, contextualization, evaluation, and analysis of the key issues relating to Corporate Social Responsibility in the oil and gas industry. A conceptual research employs an analytical framework that is based on “a set of broad theories and ideas that help the researcher to identify accurately the problem(s) they seek to address, frame their research questions appropriately, and locate appropriate literature on the research subject” (Smyth, 2004: 168). In using the conceptual research method, this research combines theoretical and analytical aspects in order to achieve its aims and objectives and provide pertinent answers to the research objectives.
In light of the fact that conceptual research requires access to an extensive pool of resources, there is a great reliance on diverse sources of secondary materials for analysis. In this regard, some of the sources of secondary data for the research and analysis include electronic databases such as Questia, Jstor, Emerald Insight, and Google Scholar. Of specific interest are journals that focus on gender issues in extractive industries in general as these are analogous with the oil and gas sector, but particularly those that are based on the study and evolution of the gender gap in oil and gas companies, focusing on developing nations and the Gulf countries, as these represent compounded historical gender issues.

2.1 Qualitative Research
2.2 Content Analysis
2.3 Data Collection
2.4 Reliability and Validity of Research
2.5 Research Limitations
3.0 Literature Review
3.1 The Gender Gap in Developing versus Developed Countries

3.1.1 Differences in Socio-economic problems

3.1.2 The relevance of education in enforcing this gender gap

If one considers the vast differences in education priority placed in Gulf countries by comparison to African oil-economies such as Nigeria, one can see a very different picture of the relevance of education. On the one hand, Gulf countries are more likely to actively discriminate against female executive employees as there is a larger pool of adequately qualified female candidates, where in developing countries there are fewer qualified candidates, because of the lack of priority given to education and particularly education of females.

3.1.3 The difference in the nature of the Gender Gap in different socio-economic conditions

3.2 Cultural Sensitivities and Pragmatism

In certain regions of oil and gas exploration, companies base their hiring discrimination on ‘cultural sensitivities’ where there is a concern for hiring women in higher-paying jobs would cause a backlash against women by their male colleagues (Musvoto, 2001). This has resulted in communities with soaring unemployment rates of up to 87% of women, despite the female demographic representing over half the local population. Particularly in developing countries, there is a trend towards rural-urban migration of the working population which often sees the breadwinner of a family leaving to work in an urban environment which perpetuates this gender gap by enforcing the role of the female as a caregiver rather than a breadwinner.
In addition to these cultural sensitivities is a pragmatic approach taken by oil and gas companies which represents the bottom line in the sector in terms of cost implications. There is an argument to be made either way, with diversity goals becoming a secondary concern in favour of productivity and outcome. Male workers often have had greater educational opportunities and therefore less training and education is required, as well as less concern for factors of work-life balance. In the current economic climate, cost effective labour solutions are being of primary importance, particularly considering the growing importance of labour standards and quality of work environments which also present greater cost implications. On the other hand, studies have shown that in employment that is non-physical in nature women perform more productively and effectively, coupled with the barrier to private sector growth and development that employment discrimination breeds, increased female representation in the oil and gas sector may prove to be a more economical labour practice. Unfortunately however, despite evidence of long-term benefits of gender equality in the sector, companies choose short-term benefits which perpetuate and enforce this gender gap.

3.2.1 The broader socio-economic effect of the culturally enforced gender gap

A theoretical expose on the broader socio-economic effects of the gender gap, e.g. continued lower education levels of women, perpetuated poverty for single parent households, lack of diversity in the workplace.

3.2.2 The benefit of a diverse workplace

3.2.3 Increased Issues with Work-Life Balance based on Gender

3.3 Leaky Pipeline Anomaly and Evolution of Policy to Mitigate the Gender Gap

There are a number of potential explanations for this anomalous situation of women in high end oil and gas jobs, one of which is the role of women in many societies as the primary caregiver of their families (United Nations, 2008). Therefore, as women progress through their careers there is a likelihood of their care responsibilities, as well as job responsibilities increasing proportionately and simultaneously, and as a result they are less able to meet the demands of higher level employment. Whilst certain industry competitors have been recorded as saying that they attempt to incorporate individual career plans that take account of these increasingly personal responsibilities of employees (Al Tukmachy, 2012), the reality is a labyrinth of professional obstacles described as the ‘glass ceiling’ metaphor where female progression in the industry is limited due to concerns of increased need for consideration of factors of the work-life balance that are less present in their male counterparts (European Commission, 2009). As a result, women are often worked out of these executive and management positions, because companies offer incomprehensive policies that do not consider individual career and family outcomes (European Commission, 2009).

3.3.1 Current Changes in Policy Direction to Increase Diversity and Retention of Female Staff – A corporate perspective
3.3.2 International Instruments Mandating Diversity in Oil and Gas MNEs

4.0 Discussion
4.1 Analysis of the Gender Gap by Region
4.2 Analysis of the Gender Gap by Employment Level

4.2.1 Executive
4.2.2 Managerial
4.2.3 Non-managerial
4.2.4 Labour
4.2.5 Discussion
4.3 Current Examples of Corporate Policy for Non-Discriminatory Work Practices
4.3.1 Strengths
4.3.2 Weakness
4.4 Current Examples of Employment Schemes aimed at Female Inclusion in the Workplace
4.4.1 Strengths
4.4.2 Weaknesses

5.0 Conclusion

The gender gap in the oil and gas sector is very current and topical debate as gender equality in the workplace is becoming a diversity goal around the world. Careful understanding of the causes and effects thereof are imperative for the management of these companies and the greater macro-economic goals of development and growth. This research therefore aims to contribute to the current understanding of these goals in order to further the studies and make concrete recommendations in order to close this gap and further growth and development in the sector.

5.1 Recommendations
5.2 Conclusion
References

Al Munajjed, M. (2008) Women’s Employment in Saudi Arabia: A Major Challenge, Ideation Center Insight: Booz & Co
Al Tukmachy, S. (2012) ‘Interview with Saba Al Tukmachy, Career Development Manager at ENOC’ Leaders of the Future Summit: Bridging the gap in oil and gas, 1 – 12 April 2012, Abu Dhabi: UAE
Eftimie, A., Heller, K. & Strongman, J. (2009) Gender Dimensions of the Extractive Industries. The World Bank: Extractive Industries and Development Series
European Commission (2009) Women in science and technology: Creating sustainable careers. EUR 23740 EN
Musvoto, A. (2001) Gender and Mining: Community. Birnam Park: African Institute of Corporate Citizenship
Smyth, R. (2004) “Exploring the usefulness of a conceptual framework as a research tool: A researcher’s reflection”, Issues in Educational Research, 14(2), 167-180.
United Nations (2008) Equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men. United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. Expert Group Meeting, Geneva, 6-9 October, 2008

Categories
Free Essays

Give a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies.

Abstract

Attempts to rebalance the gender inequality that exists in society have been made for many years, yet the extent to which these have worked is unclear. Various social policies have been implemented by welfare state to protect women against inequality, though different ideas generally exist as to what is acceptable within society. Such ideas have changed considerably over time and women are no longer being discriminated against as they once were, yet gender bias is still prevalent. It remains to be seen whether this will ever be completely eradicated as different countries will continue to perceive gender inequality in a different manner. The social policies, relating to gender equality, of two countries will be examined in this study to in order to consider the extent to which these have proven effective in combating discrimination.

Introduction

An ideology is a set of ideas as to how society should behave and generally forms the basis of economic and political theory. Ideologies have usually been created by those who dominant society and are usually formed as a result of common interests. It cannot be said that ideology is reflective of the whole of society and instead there exists differing views and opinions as to what an ‘ideal’ world is (Eagleton, 1991: 3). However, as expressed by Kania (1988: 1) a large amount of the existing literature in this area that is devoted to Marxist thought highlights the “diversity of opinion, values and policy advocated by persons associated with that label”. Despite these differences, ideology has been considered discriminatory in nature as those who dominate it are often biased. This was recognised by Curra who pointed out that ideology only “serves the interests of one segment of a society more than all other segments” (2000: 6). It therefore seems likely in light of this assertion that one segment of society will benefit from ideology, whilst other segments will not. This is largely reflected in gender equality and family policies as many still consider the so-called nuclear family to be the norm in contemporary society (Sudha, 2000: 184). However, it cannot be said that the nuclear family does actually reflect the majority in society and so the associated ideology could be seen as outmoded (Saggers and Sims, 2009: 173). This study will compare the social policies of France and Germany in the field of gender equality and family policies in order to demonstrate the extent to which gender equality is being attained. The applicability gender equality and family policy has in France and Germany to functionalism and path dependency will also be considered.

Gender Equality and Family Policy

Gender inequality was first brought to the public’s attention in 1970 when the feminist movement highlighted the struggles women were being subjected to as a natural part of their everyday life (Meer 2013: 4). This was followed by the suffrage movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, whereby suffragettes pioneered for the right for women to vote (Foghlam Alba, 2012: 1). During this period, certain groups of society viewed males as being the breadwinners, whilst women were considered the homemakers. Because of this conception, a lack of financial support was provided to women by the welfare state as it was believed that women could rely on the income of their husbands (Herring: 2007; p. 262). Women were far less likely to leave their husbands as a result of this, which could be one of the main reasons why there has been a huge increase in the divorce in recent years (Benson, 2013: 1). It was apparent by many that social policy changes were needed to rectify this imbalance and thus provide women with better protection against inequality (United Nations, 2013: 1). Some feminists believed that ideology was the cause of such inequality and that unless all nation states adopt effective gender equality social policies, women will continue to be treated unfavourably in society (George and Wilding: 1985; p. 122). Some feminists argue that unless equality within family structures is addressed, women will never be completely free regardless as to what social policies’ have been implemented by the welfare state (Craven, 2005: 3). This was recognised by Fraser who was of the view that the policies of existing welfare states are based on assumptions about gender that are “increasingly out of phase with many people’s lives and self-understandings” (1994: 591).

It cannot be said that women are being provided with sufficient protection within society, yet gender inequality is still one of the most important principles that is contained in the human rights law of the European Union (EU). The EU continues to make progress in the tackling of gender discrimination, as exemplified by Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights, though it cannot be said that all nation states adopt the same approach as the EU. Consequently, unless gender equality is being instilled into the frameworks of all welfare states, gender discrimination will be likely to remain. Regardless of the EU’s gender equality policies, nonetheless, women continue to be treated less favourably than men and as it has been recognised by Radacic; that despite the pronouncements of gender discrimination, inequality of still persists (2008: 841). It cannot be said that EU policy has had much of an effect in establishing complete equality between the genders, though it is questionable whether it ever will (Mill and Okin, 1988: 1). Hence, it has been pointed out that although the EU has paved the way for more equal gender rights in areas such as marriage and employment, inequality persists when it comes to domestic violence, pay and the division of labour (Pascall, 2000: 240). It seems as though the EU has made great attempts towards the attainment of gender equality, yet these have not proven sufficient. Further changes therefore need to be made to ensure that women are not being treated unfavourably to men.

Gender Equality and family policies in West Germany

Social policy in Germany appears largely to reflect ideological principles, in that males are considered breadwinners, whilst females are considered homemakers. The German people are generally of the view that women should not go out to work and that they should instead stay at home to look after the childrenHence, as illustrated by Peters; “Men’s stereotypical role in Germany is one of the income – earning breadwinner, who leaves the house for work in the morning and comes back in the evening” (2001: 93). Although this may be a common belief throughout Germany, it does not provide a true reflection of the gender roles. Women are frequently choosing to work as opposed to staying at home, yet the gender pay gap is also increasing. Germany’s pay gap has thus been widely criticised for being one of the largest in the EU and the EU Commission suggest that this is getting worse (European Commission, 2012: 1). Davis and Robinson believe that much of this gender bias is caused by the policies that are being held by families and societal ideals. does seem to have some validity, and social policies still need to be reformed in Germany so that gender equality is being addressed appropriately. Arguably, if effective policies are implemented in Germany, it is likely that this will cause the policies held by families to also change (Seeleib-Kaiser, 2007: 2).

This alone will not be sufficient to bring about gender equality, and attitudes will also need to change. It has been suggested by Davis and Robinson that women with employed husbands are less likely to be supported than women with unemployed husbands. This is because, husbands in employment are unlikely to be supportive of efforts to reduce gender inequality (1991: 72). This suggests that women are less likely to advance in society if they receive a lack of support from their husbands. This shows how men can impact the achievement of gender equality. The social policies that exist in Germany should therefore be amended so that gender equality can be improved. At present, women do not receive adequate support from the government (Gelb and Palley, 2009: 368), though as noted by the OECD some are of the view that if greater support is provided to women, they will be less likely to have children which will have an overall impact upon the German population (OECD, 2008: 15). Conversely, it was in fact found by the OECD that countries with policies that facilitate female employment are those with the highest fertility rates” (2008: 15). Instead of reducing the population, further support would in fact increase it which is considered integral to economic growth (OECD, 2007: 7). Arguably, the limited support for working mothers in Germany has resulted in women postponing childbearing so that they can instead enter the workforce in order to financially support themselves. This has an effect upon economic growth (WILPF International, 2013: 1), though it has been said that social policy in Germany is a work in progress and that attempts to reinforce childcare is being made (Spiegel, 2012: 1).

Gender Equality and family policies in France

In comparison with Germany, social policy in France does actually appear to reflect the ideas of contemporary society, and is thus more favourable to women. This was identified by Rodgers when it was noted that; “France has a more conscious, clearly defined concept of family policy, which finds expression in statutory and voluntary institutions whose primary or even sole purpose is to promote the welfare of the family” (2009: 113). Statutory benefits in France are also provided, as of right, to both parents. This demonstrates how gender equality is more adequate in France than it is in Germany (Rogers, 2009: 113). This is due to the support women receive in France by the French government and the favourable family policies that exist. Significant support for childcare is also being provided by France and their allowance system is particularly generous (European Union, 2014: 1). The support that is provided to women is thus intended to allow a work-life balance to be achieved. This approach does appear to be working given the high fertility and employments rates of women with children (European Commission, 2014: 1). Hence, it has been argued that the high fertility rates in France is due to France’s consistent family policy and the excellent employment prospects women are said to have (Del Boca, 2008: 2).

Monetary benefits are a key feature of France’s family policy (Cleiss, 2013: 1). This generosity has been considered necessary in supporting women and removing gender inequality in France. Yet not all agree with this approach and it has instead been argued that whilst women in France receive a number of different benefits such as; paid, four-month maternity leaves; tax breaks for having more children; and other family-friendly government subsidies, “their country lags behind many other nations in gender equality” (MNT, 2010: 1). This suggests that although a number of social policies have been established in France that intend to provide greater support to women, not all believe that gender inequality is eradicated and instead argued that outdated societal attitudes regarding women are still prevalent (Girling, 2002: 126). Nevertheless, France’s benefit system does appear to be a lot more generous than Germany’s, which might be suggested leads to greater equality between the sexes. However, it seems as though complete equality is still not being attained. There still appears to be a gender pay gap between men and women in France, and women continue to be treated differently in general (European Commission, 2013: 10). Arguably, it is clear from these findings that social policies may not actually remove the gender inequalities that persist within society and that the attitudes of individuals also need to be changed.

Functionalist and path dependency to gender equality and family policies

Functionalism has been described as a philosophy of mind in that a particular mental state will be dependent on the role it plays on the cognitive system in which it is a part of. In effect, functionalists view the identity of mental states as being determined by its casual relations to sensory stimulations, behaviour and other mental states (Stanford, 2004: 1). Functionalism is clearly prevalent within the approaches that are being employed in both Germany and France since functionalists view gender inequality as a product of traditional ideology within society (Isajiw, 2013: 129). Given that gender inequality is still prevalent within both Germany and France it might be though that social policies cannot change traditional ideology. Pre-existing notions of the ideal family will be likely to remain and individuals will thus conform to the roles that have been provided to them by society. Whilst gender roles have changed substantially in contemporary societies, functionalists believe that traditional arrangements remain in force (Giddens and Griffiths, 2006: 467). This is what appears to be happening in France because although social policy has been advanced, gender inequality still exists as a result of traditional arrangements. Furthermore, whilst social policy in Germany is not as supportive of women as it is in France, the same applies here and traditional arrangements continue to prevail.

Path dependency is a term that is used to describe the idea that history matters and that we are today a product of what has happened in the past (Margolis, 1996: 1). Path dependency is also reflective of gender equality in Germany and France in that past decisions influence future decisions. This is so regardless of whether the circumstances are still relevant (Arthur, 1994: 33). Historical viewpoints are therefore being maintained despite the fact that this no longer provides a true reflection of reality and as put by Skocpol; “the development trends of social modernization may face legacies of path dependent cultural and institutional organisation” (1992: 8). Gender equality is affected by this and improvements to the lives and wellbeing of women is stifled. Alexander and Welzel argue that; “path dependent processes with respect to women’s suffrage policy may affect the potential to increase gender equality in particular societies” (2014: 9). Again, this demonstrates why women continue to be paid less than men in both Germany and France. This results from the historical gender inequality practices because as stated by Bjornskov et al; “because of the path dependence of the unfolding human life, gender inequality in the early eighties might equally affect today’s opportunities, choices and aspiration levels” (2007: 2). This will continue to affect the way women are treated in the future and it is arguable whether discrimination against women will ever be eradicated.

Conclusion

Overall, it has been argued that ideological beliefs will continue to influence the ways women are treated in society, and regardless of the social policies that are implemented by welfare states, gender inequality will continue to persist. This is because the traditional roles of males and females will continue to be prevalent within all aspects of life as women will continue to take on the role of a homemaker, whilst men will continue to take on the role of a breadwinner in certain groups of society. Ideology is largely responsible for these inequalities and women will continue to be treated differently to men as a result. This is evidenced in both Germany and France regardless of the fact that their social policy strategies are different and demonstrates how ideology will continue to dominate contemporary society. Thus, women in Germany are treated far less favourably than the women in France, yet both countries are similar when it comes to gender inequality. An example of this can be seen in relation to the gender pay gaps which are widespread amongst both nation states. Nevertheless, despite the fact that gender inequality is likely to persist regardless of what policies are implemented, it is manifest that improvements can certainly be made. Further support should be provided to women in Germany, whilst the gender pay gap should be reduced in France. This is unlikely to provide complete equality because, as recognised by the functionalist and path dependency models, the traditional arrangement of gender roles will continue influence society.

References

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Saggers, S. Dodd, J. and Wildy, H. (2009) ‘Constructing the ‘ideal’ family for family-centred practice: challenges for delivery’ Disability and Society, Volume 24, Issue 2.

Seeleib, M. K. (2007) ‘Innovative ways of coping with old and new challenges: Enterprises as actors of family policy’, Family Policies in Britain and Germany, [Online] Available: http://www.socialpolicy.ed.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/10108/Family_Policy_in_Britain_and_Germany_Midpoint_Conference171107.pdf [02 April 2014].

Skocpol, T. (1992) Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins in Social Policy in the United States, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stanford. (2004) ‘Functionalism’ [Online] Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/functionalism/ [07 April 2014].

Sudha, D. K. (2000) Gender Roles, New Delhi: APH Publishing.

WILPF International. (2014) ‘Racism and Gender Inequality in Germany’ Peace & Freedom, [Online] Available: http://www.wilpfinternational.org/racism-and-gender-inequality-in-germany/ [02 April 2014].

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Free Essays

Give a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies.

Introduction

Social policy is the term that is used to describe the various principles, guidelines, legislative provisions and activities that impact human welfare. Social policy has thus been defined as an analysis of societies responses to social need (Lewis, 2013: 1) and has been said to focus on certain aspects of the economy that are concerned with basic human needs. Nevertheless, different societies have developed different ways to meet social policy needs. Whilst some rely primarily upon ideological beliefs within family institutions, others rely on the actions of individuals and governmental activities (Lewis, 2013: 1). Ideology plays an important part in social policy as it is the belief that individuals should behave in a way that is consistent with the goals and expectations of the most dominant in society. There are many different views and opinions that exist in respect of ideology (Kania, 1988: 1), yet it has been considered extremely discriminatory as it only “serves the interests of one segment of a society more than all other segments” (Curra, 2000: 6). One particular group of people therefore benefit more than other groups, which is the case when it comes to gender equality and family policies. (Brown et al; 2010: 9). The nuclear family, which is the traditional family structure that consists of two parents and children, is still being considered the ideal in many cultural, family and social settings. This is so despite the fact that “contemporary families now comprise a diverse range of different family and so-called non family types” (Saggers and Sims, 2009: 173). Although ideals are necessary in helping people to identify right from wrong, too much reliance should not be placed on ideology as this will otherwise result in inequality. A significant amount of the gender bias that currently exists has stemmed from ideology (Bjornskov et al, 2007). This is extremely dangerous and demonstrates how important gender regimes (as policy logics) in welfare states are in integral to equality. For example, in domestic violence cases, women are treated unfavourably on the basis that it was previously deemed acceptable for a man to beat his wife (Brown et al, 2010). This has produced many problems over the years and is still an on-going concern for many countries, which will be identified in this study (Cleiss, 2013). Thus, a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies will be considered. This will be done by comparing social policy in Germany and France and demonstrating whether gender equality is attainable.

Gender Equality and Family Policy in Germany and France

The 1970’s new social feminist movement was the first time gender inequality was brought to the public’s attention as domestic violence was previously considered “part of the rough and tumble of marital life” (Herring: 2007; p. 262). This gender bias not only happened in the context of domestic violence but it was also becoming a natural part of everyday life. Males were considered to be breadwinners, whilst females were the homemakers. Because females were considered totally dependent on the male breadwinner, a lack of financial and support existed for women and there was a dire need for social policy changes to be implemented in order to reduce the gender inequality women were being subjected to (Curra, 2000). Feminists believed that this gender inequality was the result of ideology and that gender equality should become a vital part of social policy across all nation states (George and Wilding: 1985; p. 122). Feminism is prevalent within different jurisdictions and has been considered a “diverse collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies and aims to understand the nature of gender inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations and sexuality” (EKU, 2012: 1). Feminists’ believe that individuals cannot achieve complete freedom so long as inequality continues to persist and that humanity is therefore unattainable. Regardless of this, the gender inequality that exists within family structures is still being recognised as a global issue and is prevalent both in Germany and France. This is partly due to the cultural practices of these societies as cultural relativism is still being used to condone such inequality (Craven, 2005: 3). In addition, as put by Fraser; “existing welfare states are premised on assumptions about gender that increasingly out of phase with many people’s lives and self-understandings” (1994: 591).

It seems as though inadequate social protection is being provided to women in both countries, although France’s social policy regime does appear more favourable to women than Germany’s. This is evidenced by the fact that Germany holds a strong preference for the typical nuclear family ideal and continues to view males as breadwinners and females as homemakers. It is a common belief throughout Germany that women should not work and that they should instead be stay at home mums. This was identified by Peters when he pointed out that; “Men’s stereotypical role in Germany is one of the income – earning breadwinner, who leaves the house for work in the morning and comes back in the evening” (2001: 93). Because of the stereotypical role that is still being employed in Germany, women end up performing two roles. This is because contemporary women no longer stay at home to look after children and instead choose to become income earners. Furthermore, the pay gap between men and women in Germany continues to widen and has been criticised for being much wider than other EU states, including France. The European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding presented the results from the Eurobarometer on Gender Equality in 2010 and concluded that Germany’s figures were getting much worse: “In 2007, the gap was 23 percent; in 2006, 22.7 percent” (European Commission, 2012: 1). In a study conducted by Davis and Robinson, however, it was evidenced that much of the gender bias stems from family policies and the ideals that have been created by society. Hence, it was demonstrated that well-educated males are less supportive of reducing gender inequality: “women with employed husbands are less supportive of efforts to reduce gender inequality than women without a male wage earner” (1991: 72). This prevents women from advancing within society and demonstrates how men are capable of stifling the attainment of gender equality in Germany.

In contrast to the male dominated ideologies that exist Germany, social policies in France do actually appear to be more akin to contemporary society. This has been illustrated by Rodgers who noted that; “France has a more conscious, clearly defined concept of family policy, which finds expression in statutory and voluntary institutions whose primary or even sole purpose is to promote the welfare of the family” (2009: 113). Both parents of the nuclear family are also entitled to various statutory benefits as of right, which signifies how gender equality is better attained in France than it is in Germany (Rogers, 2009: 113). France has a significant amount of support for women and has had an extensive policy in favour of families for a very long time. A wide range of childcare services are provided in France as well as an allowance system that is deemed extremely generous (European Union, 2014: 1). Such support is intended to encourage and assist parents in finding a work life balance and is clearly working given that France has higher fertility and employments rates of women with children compared to the rest of the EU’s member states (European Commission, 2014: 1). It has been said that the high fertility rates in France largely result from the consistent family policy in France as well as the good employment prospects provided to women (Del Boca, 2008: 2). One of the key characteristics of France’s family policy is the monetary benefits, also known as family allowance. The monetary benefits that are provided to families under this system include child benefit, flat-rate allowance, family income supplement, family support allowance, birth/adoption grant, basic allowance, supplement for free choice of working time and free choice of childcare, education allowance, back-to-school allowance, daily parental attendance allowance, family housing allowance and moving allowance (Cleiss, 2013: 1).

In view of the support women are provided with in France, it seems as though Germany’s social policies on gender equality should be strengthened. This is especially so in the labour market where this appears to be amongst the worst of all EU member states. Therefore, not only do women in Germany receive significantly lower pay packets to men but they also receive a lack of support from the government (Curra, 2000). There a widespread misconception in Germany that if family friendly policies are implemented to assist working women, this will lead to them having fewer children, which will decrease the population overall (Giddins and Griffiths, 2006). However, it has been evidenced that “countries with policies that facilitate female employment are those with the highest fertility rates” (OECD, 2008: 15). This resultantly increases the future supply of workers, which inevitably leads to sustained growth (OECD, 2007: 7). Furthermore, the practices being employed in France appear to discredit the view that the population will be decreased if further support is provided to women, as this has not happened here and the fertility rates in Germany are low as a result of the lack of support for working mothers. This is due to the fact that women in Germany are more likely to postpone childbearing in order to enter the workforce, which stifles economic growth in the long term (Hering, 2007). Women are thus said to be “facing difficulties to reconcile family, domestic workload and paid work” (WILPF International, 2013: 1). It has been said that the German government is working on this issue at present and has made great attempts to reinforce child daily care (Fraser, 1994), yet it is arguable whether this is proving effective given the cultural relativism that Germany is submersed with. The generosity of France is illustrative of the support that is given to contemporary families and demonstrates how France’s social family policies are workable in attaining gender equality. Not all agree with this, however, and it has instead been argued that; “although French women receive paid, four-month maternity leaves; tax breaks for having more children; and other family-friendly government subsidies, their country lags behind many other nations in gender equality” (MNT, 2010: 1). This, it has been said, is largely because of outmoded attitudes about the role of women in society (Girling, 2002: 126). Women continue to earn less than men; they are still being viewed as homemakers and also hold few positions of power European Commission, 2013: 10). This is also the case for those women that remain childless (Milj and Okin, 1988), which suggests that although France provides better support to women, gender inequality still persists. Accordingly, women continue to be treated differently to men regardless of what policies are put into practice. It is questionable whether gender equality can ever be fully attained given the attempts that have been made to do so over the years. EU law has made significant attempts to ensure men and women receive equal pay for equal work, though it has been difficult for this to be accomplished. Article 141 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (which amended Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome), obliges member states to ensure that men and women always receive equal pay for equal work, yet it is often difficult to demonstrate that this is not being achieved. This is because the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that, on the balance of probabilities, their comparator is doing work of equal value to theirs or like work, which is considerably difficult (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010, p. 1). It is therefore clear from these findings that whilst France does provide greater support to women than Germany does, gender inequalities still exist. France’s social policies thereby need to be rectified so that better equality is being attained. The first step would be to close the gender pay gap, yet it remains to be seen whether this would achieve complete equality as the traditional family model will remain prevalent.

Functionalism and path dependency to gender equality and family policies

Functionalist’s are of the view that an individuals’ mental state is determined by the role in which they have been provided with in society. Functionalist’s therefore view gender inequality as being a product of traditional societal ideologies (Saggers et al, 2009). This is reflected by the inequality that currently exists within Germany and France. Hence, the traditional nuclear family is still being given due consideration despite the fact that modern family structures are widely diverse. Because individuals have always been taught what the traditional roles of men and women are, individuals tend to conform to such requirements. This is still happening today, whether consciously or not, and is one of the main reasons why gender equality is difficult to attain. Consequently, whilst women are provided with better support in France than they are in Germany, many of the underlying inequalities women are subjected to remain. This is because societal attitudes towards men and women have remained the same, regardless as to what social policies have been implemented, as is also the case in Germany. Hence, it is apparent that whilst gender roles in both societies have changed substantially, traditional arrangement remains in force (Giddens and Griffiths, 2006: 467). Social policy in France has advanced significantly over the years and is very supportive of women, yet gender inequality is still prevalent because of the traditional arrangement that remains in force. This is also the case in Germany despite the fact that less support is provided to women as some attempts to close the pay gap have been made, yet it seems impossible for gender equality to be obtained.

Path dependency theoretically explains how past decisions influence future ones, regardless as to whether the circumstances are still relevant. It is therefore clear from this theory that history is an important part of the future and shapes the way individuals behave. This theory is reflective of the gender equality and family policy approach that is being adopted in Germany and France. This is because historical viewpoints are being maintained regardless of the fact that the nuclear family is no longer considered the ‘norm’ in contemporary society. As identified by Skocpol; “the development trends of social modernization may face legacies of path dependent cultural and institutional organisation” (1992: 8). This affects the advancement of gender equality and restricts the ability to improve the lives of women. Because the emergence of social policy is determined by past influences, the typical family ideal is likely to remain instilled in society. This prevents the modernisation of social policy, which explains why the traditional family model continues to subsist within social and family policy. Furthermore, as noted by Alexander and Welzel; “path dependent processes with respect to women’s suffrage policy may affect the potential to increase gender equality in particular societies” (2014: 9). This is why women continue to be paid lower than men in Germany and France regardless of the current changes that are being made to achieve equality. This occurs because of the historical gender inequality practices that were being employed because as was pointed out; “because of the path dependence of the unfolding human life, gender inequality in the early eighties might equally affect today’s opportunities, choices and aspiration levels” (Bjornskov et al; 2007: 2). Past discrimination thereby affects the way women are viewed in society today and will continue to have an impact in the future.

Gender equality is still one of the main fundamental principles the EU continually strives for (Article 14 of the European Union’s Convention on Human Rights), yet despite the various policies that have been adopted women are still being treated unfavourably to men. This was recognised by Radacic who argued that; “notwithstanding these pronouncements, inequality of women in the member states of the Council of Europe persists” (Radacic, 2008: 841). The EU has therefore been largely impotent in challenging gender discrimination and achieving gender equality and although women and men are becoming more equal over the years, “a principle of perfect equality” (Mill and Okin, 1988: 1) is still not being established in countries such as Germany and France. Adequate family and childcare policies that allow for gender equality therefore need to be implemented, which could be achieved by employing strategies that; encourage female labour market participation, remove the gender bias ideologies, provide adequate childcare, promote children’s education and well being and allow for flexible labour. It is unlikely that much of the gender bias that is currently in place will be removed, though there will certainly be some improvements. Germany should be more supportive of women and France should make further attempts to close the pay gap.

Conclusion

Overall, traditional ideological practices continue to be adopted in Germany and France when it comes to gender equality and family policy. Because of this, women continue to be treated differently to men. It is questionable whether this can ever be rectified given that gender inequality is viewed as a product of traditional societal ideologies. In Germany, women are given less support than they are in France whose social policies appear to be more akin to contemporary society. In spite of this, however, gender inequality is still prevalent throughout France. This is evidenced by the large gender pay gap and the fact that traditional ideologies are still prevalent across all social policy methods. This illustrates that regardless of what social policies welfare states implement, gender inequality will still persist. Improvements to social policy would still benefit the economy, nonetheless, and would develop gender equality further. In Germany, there is a pressing need for greater support to be provided to women as well as reducing the gender pay gap, whereas in France the main focus is on the latter. It is doubtful that complete equality would be achieved in light of the fact that the traditional family model remains intact, yet vast improvements could certainly be made. This is supported by the views of functionalists who believe that the traditional arrangement of gender roles remain intact despite the fact that these roles have significantly changed in modern societies. Furthermore, because past decisions influence future decisions, as recognised by the path dependency model, the nuclear family structure will always have a place in contemporary society.

References

Alexander, A. C. and Welzel, C. (2014) ‘Four Theories Tested on Four Different Aspects of Gender Equality’ Empowering Women, [29 March 2014].

Bjornskov, C. Dreher, A. Justina, A. V. and Fischer, A. V. (2007) ‘SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance’ No 657.

Brown, S. E., Esbensen, F., and Geis, G., (2010). Criminology: Explaining Crime in Context. Elsevier, 7th Edition.

Cleiss. (2013) ‘Family Benefits’ The French Social Security System, [Online] Available: http://www.cleiss.fr/docs/regimes/regime_france/an_4.html [29 March 2014].

Craven, Z, Clearinghouse, ‘Human Rights and Domestic Violence’ Australian Domestic & Family Violence, Available: http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/human_rights.pdf

Curra, J., (2000). The Relativity of Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage.

Davis, N. J. and Robinson, V. R. (1991) ‘Men’s and Women’s Consciousness of Gender Inequality: Austria, West Germany, Great Britain and the United States’ American Sociological Review, Volume 56, No. 1.

Del Boca, D. Pasqua, S. and Pronzato, C. (2008) ‘Market Work and Motherhood Decisions in Contexts’ Discussion Paper Series, IZA DP No 3303, [Online], Available: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3303.pdf [29 March 2014].

European Commission. (2012) ‘Women on Boards: Commission Proposes 40% Objective’ [Online] Available: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/gender-equality/news/121114_en.htm [29 March 2014].

Giddens, A. and Griffiths, S. (2006) Sociology, Social Science, Polity.

Girling, J. (2002) France: Political and Social Change, Routledge, Political Science.

EKU Women Studies., Feminism What is it?, [29 March 2014].

European Commission. (2012) ‘Statistics’ European Union, [Online], Available: http://europa.eu/epic/statistics/index_en.htm [28 March 2014].

European Commission. (2013) ‘Tackling the Gender Pay Gap in the European Union’ Justice, [Online] Available: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/gender_pay_gap/gpg_brochure_2013_final_en.pdf [29 March 2014].

European Union. (2014) France: Significant Support for Women and High Monetary Benefits, [Online], Available: http://europa.eu/epic/countries/france/index_en.htm [28 March 2014].

Fraser, N. (1994) ‘After the Family Wage’ Political Theory, Volume 22, No. 4.

George, V., and Wilding, P., (1985). Ideology and Social Welfare. Routledge, 2nd Edition.

Herring, J., (2007). Family Law, Pearson Education, 3rd Edition.

Kania, R. E, (1988). Conservative Ideology in Criminology and Criminal Justice. American Journal of Criminal Justice. Volume 13, Number 1.

Lewis, D. (2013) ‘Welcome to the Department’ LSE Social Policy, [Online] Available: www.lse.ac.uk/socialPolicy/aboutUs/introduction.aspx [06 April 2014].

Mill, J. S. and Okin, S. M. (1988) The Subjection of Women, Hackett Publishing Co.

MNT. (2010) ‘Gender Inequality Persists in France Despite Family-Focused Benefits’ [Online] Available: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/204545.php [29 March 2014].

OECD. (2007) ‘Babies and Bosses – Reconciling Work and Family Life’ A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries.

OECD. (2008) ‘Gender and Sustainable Development’ Maximising the Economic, Social and Environmental Role of Women.

Peters, D. (2001) ‘Breadwinners, Homemakers and Beasts of Burden: A Gender Perspective on Transport and Mobility’ Institute for City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Development International, 93-100.

Radacic, I. (2008) ‘Critical Review of Jurisprudence: An Occasional Series: Gender Equality Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights’, European Journal of International Law, Issue 4, EJIL 2008 19 (841).

Rodgers, B. N. (2009) ‘Family Policy in France’ Journal of Social Policy, Volume 4, Issue 2.

Skocpol, T. (1992) Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins in Social Policy in the United States, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saggers, S. Dodd, J. and Wildy, H. (2009) ‘Constructing the ‘ideal’ family for family-centred practice: challenges for delivery’ Disability and Society, Volume 24, Issue 2.

WILPF International. (2014) ‘Racism and Gender Inequality in Germany’ Peace & Freedom, [Online] Available: http://www.wilpfinternational.org/racism-and-gender-inequality-in-germany/ [29 March 2014].

Cases

Abdulaziz, Cabales and Balkandali v. UK (1985) Series A, No. 94 at para 78

Leyla Sahin v. Turkey [GC] Reports 2005 – at para. 115

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Free Essays

Gender Non-Conformity

Most parent think when they see their son playing dolls and having delights with fashion has tendency to become a gay and so with girls who are mostly fun of playing ballgames with boys has the possibility to become a lesbian when they grow older.

The American society assumed that there are only two sex preferences, male and female. Sex refers to whether male or female, feminine of masculine. Gender sometimes is closely interchange with sex. This is the misconception our society had. Though gender is related to sex but both have distinct visibility. We have the so called low and high masculinity and vise versa on females. Boys who do what girls usually do such as, cleaning the house, cooking, doing the laundry, belong to the low class masculine and boys who are irritated with a girl thing, do not even wash their own underwear or even fix their bed belong to the high masculinity and vise versa with girls. But this doesn’t mean that those who are in the low masculinity are said to be gays, only that they can live by themselves.

The question why parents are more accepting of a daughter exhibiting a liking for truck and sports rather than a son exhibiting a liking for playing dolls and cooking is that parents are more centered to a son’s development rather than a daughter’s. It is because of the “man” identity. A boy when he grows older must be strong, straight, focus and a builder. He has to support and protect his family. Girls are very meticulous, gentle, caring and etc. A mother, who sees her daughter playing sports with boys, doing hard chores that are intended for boys may feel more comfortable believing that her child is strong and capable of doing things in both genders.  Aside from that, gays are very expressive. They want to feel like a woman who is too awkward to look at rather that a girl wearing jeans and loose shirts.

According to Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College, Pennsylvania, “people who don’t conform with gender norms are like homosexual. According to the study, children who grow up to be heterosexual typically go through a stage where they perceive the opposite sex as different from themselves, or exotic, and eventually transition into seeing members of the opposite sex as erotic. If a child is gender non-conforming, then he or she is likely to perceive members of the same sex as different from themselves, and eventually develop an erotic attraction to members of the same sex later in life. He also stated that parents should avoid the mindset that if their son doesn’t have any interest in baseball that there is something wrong with him. (Lee, 2006)

The negative responses to the expressions of non-traditional gender behavior in young males are functional in the society. It is very obvious that there is discrimination and abuse. Gays and lesbians are fighting for their rights until these days. This negative expression greatly affects on young boys. Acceptance for non-conformity of gender among boys is rarely seen in our society. Good for those who belong to a family that support him whatever and whoever he may be.

There are many reasons to encourage a full range of gendered behavior in sons and daughters. One of this is role modeling. We should always remember that children learn from what you are and not what you say. Your own practice is always the greatest influence. This is the most basic responsibility of the parents.

The greatest parenting challenge lies in being responsible for guiding, teaching, and urging your child toward his best self-which includes the need to notice his mistakes and help him correct them- while simultaneously accepting and loving him as he exist now, before his faults are rectified. (Bobbie Sandoz)

Reference:

Psychological, Anthropological and Sociological Foundations of Education, Alicia S. Bustos, Socorro c. Espiritu; Katha Publishing Co., Inc. 1996

The language of Parenting’ Blue Mountain Press;SPS Studios, Inc., 2001

http://www.southernvoice.com/2006/4-7/news/national/gender.cfm

http://cjwww.csustan.edu/hatecrimes/99/anti-gay/anti-gay%20web.html

http://www.lambda.org/youth_suicide.htm

http://www.southernvoice.com/2006/4-7/news/national/gender.cfm

http://www.youth-suicide.com/gay-bisexual/construction/6-gay-youth-suicide-feminine-males.htm

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Free Essays

Ethics and Gender Roles

In order for a particular product or service to be successful in the industry, it needs to be clearly positioned within its market. The positioning should reflect the needs of the customers as well as the position of the company in relation to competitors. Depending on the positioning, the marketing team can decide what attributes of the product to amplify in their campaigns and what steps will be required to form the proper connections to the customer.

Furthermore, the position adopted by a firm also impacts brand equity, as in, the kinds of associations customers make to the product, their level of loyalty, and brand awareness. The main ethical issue in advertising is the depiction of men and women in their stereotypical gender-roles. Men are usually depicted as powerful, successful, driven and dignified. Women on the other hand are increasing being depicted as sexualized objects often dependent on men. One of the main ethical issues is that in many of the ads the women serve mainly as a “decoration” i. . they have no functional relationship to the product being advertised. For example, Axe is well known for its over sexualization of women in its ads to sell men’s personal care products. Another trend seems to be the use of only parts of a woman’s body in advertisements particularly a woman’s breasts and legs as stated by Jean Kilbourne in her movies “Killing Us Softly”. The implications of such practices are even greeter because of the number of ads that consumers are exposed to daily through television, newspapers, magazines and billboards.

It is estimated that this number has grown from 500 ads daily in 1970 to 5000 ads a day in 2009 (Johnson, 2009). The messages imparted by ads, if they are repeated over long periods of time as in the case of gender roles in society, can distort perceptions of what is realistic as well as what is right and wrong. Since women are repeatedly cast as submissive sexual objects whose place is primarily at home or in traditional occupations of nurses, teachers, secretaries the ads in a way are telling the society what to think.

The primary critical players are the consumers who are being marketed to and the secondary players are the firms marketing the product. The consumers and the society at large are deeply affected by the ethical implications of ads mainly because of the values, beliefs, attitudes, propagated by them. Implicit in these values and beliefs is some level of “standard setting”. For example: in many Vodka ads that primarily market to women, excessive drinking is glamorized and implied as a “standard” behavior wherein women alternate between “good girl vs bad girl” roles.

If (and it often is) this message is subconsciously or consciously understood and adopted as a lifestyle, it can have far from positive manifestations such as a binge-drinking culture that is widespread among college students which leads to other consequences such as alcohol poisoning, accidents, and ill physical health of people who try to simulate what they learn from ads, in real life. There is also a disturbing trend of ads romanticizing sexual assault and domestic violence to sell products (Capella, 2010). This can invariably lead to a spread in unhealthy social conditions.

Marketing personnel are critical players because they formulate the ads. Some campaign creators do not agree that their actions may be unethical. In fact, they state that the ads reflect consumer behavior and expectations. It is also argued that there is generally “positive” reaction to beautiful males and females placed in ads which not only increase the attractiveness of the product but also the chances of increased sales precisely because of the employment of the same techniques that are being called unethical (Reichert, T. LaTour, M. S. , Lambiase, J. I. , & Adkins, M. 2007).. The decision alternative is to essentially rethink the kinds of messages that the firm wants to put forward. It is not unethical to use healthy and reasonably beautiful women and men in ads, rather, it is the wholesome vs derogatory manner in which they are shown that makes the ad questionable. Firms should avoid focusing on the sexually provocative body parts of women (and increasingly men) to sell an unrelated product.

They should avoid glamorizing undesirable social behaviors such as promiscuousness of both sexes, over-drinking, drugs, or unhealthy lifestyles. In contrast to superficial ads, they should actively seek out methods to connect with consumers on a deeper level than physical attractiveness or sexual gratification. An excellent example of this is Dove’s efforts to touch on a more genuine vein. Furthermore, firms to focus on minimizing the use of ‘decorative’ male/female i. e. here should be a connection between the product being advertised and the person advertising it. The implications for the critical players are hard to quantify. Women and men have been depicted in their expected roles exhibiting their stereotypical traits for a very long time. One reason this has persisted, unfortunately, is that is a successful method. Everyone wants to beautiful, glamorous, and desired and the marketing industry has picked up these human traits to turn them into profits.

Therefore, for the marketing firms, adopting an alternative strategy to work as well as the unethical methods they have been using for so long will be very challenging. However, as Dove has proved, this is not impossible especially in the face of increasing concern over how men and women are depicted by the media. In the long run, a more wholesome strategy can lead to stronger brand equity through increased brand loyalty and positive brand associations. For the consumers, a more ethical and realistic representation of men and women will lead to positive impacts.

People may stop exhibiting extreme behaviors to satisfy standards set by the marketing world and be more self-satisfied, have higher self-esteem and satisfaction with their identities. The objectification is not spread to children, particularly young girls, such as the Oh Lola! perfume by Marc Jacobs. Not only does the model look like an underage girl (which is perhaps intended) but she is sitting suggestively(Exhibit One). Therefore, it becomes necessary to clearly define what is acceptable and what isn’t. Work Cited Capella, M. L. , Hill, R. , Rapp, J. M. & Kees, J. (2010). The impact of violence against women in advertisements. Journal Of Advertising, 39(4), 37-51. doi:10. 2753/JOA0091-3367390403 Johnson, C. (2009, February 11). Cutting through advertising clutter. Retrieved from http://www. cbsnews. com/8301-3445_162-2015684. html Reichert, T. , LaTour, M. S. , Lambiase, J. I. , & Adkins, M. (2007). A Test of Medi a Literacy Effects and Sexual Objectification in Advertising. Journal Of Current Issues & Research In Advertising (CTC Press), 29(1), 81-92. Exhibit One—Picture of Marc Jacobs Ad

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Free Essays

Affects of Gender on Intelligence

The Effect of Gender on an IQ – Spatial Intelligence Introduction Intelligence is the capability to take in new information and adapt to situations. It is derived from both genetics and environment. Genetics are the part that genes play in a person’s life. It is also questioned that different levels of different types of intelligence are based on whether a person is male or female. Howard Gardner suggested that there are multiple types of intelligence, those of which are: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinaesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.

These intelligences make up the IQ of an individual. Types of intelligences: * Linguistic: the ability one has with of words. * Logical-mathematical: the use calculation. * Musical: sound and rhythm. * Spatial: the use of spacing and where the placing of things are in comparison to one another. * Bodily-Kinaesthetic: the use of body and motion. * Naturalistic: the awareness one has with their natural environment. * Interpersonal: the use of interaction with other people. * Intrapersonal: the understanding of one’s self.

A previous experiment conducted shows the differences between levels of spatial intelligence in males and females and how it can be changed, stating that the findings ‘found that playing an action video game can virtually eliminate this gender difference in spatial attention and simultaneously decrease the gender disparity in mental rotation ability’ (Playing an Action Video Game Reduces Gender Differences in Spatial Cognition – 1990). It stated that ‘women benefit[ed] more than men’. The aim of this experiment is: to investigate the effect of gender on multiple types of intelligence, specifically spatial intelligence.

Hypothesis: It is believed that the majority of males have more spatial intelligence than females. Independent Variables: gender Dependent Variables: level of intelligence Method Participants Equal amount of 12 girls and 12 boys from the two current (2013) Year 11 Loyola College Psychology classes aged 16 to 17 years. Materials * Task Sheet * Computers with internet * IQ quiz handout Procedure As Seen on ‘Unit 2 Psychology APS 2 SAC 1: ERA Intelligence’ – Task Sheet (refer to appendix) 1. You will form a pair where the 1st person will do puzzle 1 and the 2nd will do puzzle 2. 2. Person 1 Go to the website below complete the puzzle ttp://www. onlinejigsawpuzzles. net/animals_14_polar_bear. htm 3. Record the time required to complete the test and gender of the participant on the table attached. 4. Person 2 to go to the below website and repeated the process above http://www. onlinejigsawpuzzles. net/animals_11_parrot. htm 5. Now complete the questions 1-10 on the IQ quiz handout on logical reason. 6. Correct your questions. 7. Give your results table to either Mr Hong or Ms Ray so that the result may be collated. Results Spatial Test Scores Table: Test Score| No. of Girls | No. of Boys| 8| 1| 3| 7| 4| 2| 6| 1| 2| 5| 5| 4| 4| 0| 1| 3| 1| 0|

Mean: Girls – 5. 83 Boys – 6. 16 Median: Girls – 5. 5 Boys – 6 Mode: Girls – 5 Boys – 5 Graph: Statement of Table and Graph: These results are from a Spatial Intelligence test. The highest scores given were four eights one of which was achieved by a female and the other three by males. The lowest score given to females was a three and the lowest score given to males was a four. On average males scored higher than females with the average score for both categories (male and female) being a score of five. Jigsaw Puzzle Times Table: Times in Minutes:| No. of Girls:| No. of Boys:| 4:00 – 4:59| 3| 0| 5:00 – 5:59| 3| 4| :00 – 6:59| 3| 4| 7:00 – 7:59 | 0| 2| 8:00 – 8:59| 1| 2| 9:00 – 9:59| 2| 0| Mean: For girls and boys – 6:00 – 6:59 Median: Girls – 5:00 to 5:59 Boys – 6:00 to 6:59 Mode: Girls – 4:00 – 4:59, 5:00 – 5:59, 6:00 – 6:59 Boys – 5:00 – 5:59, 6:00 – 6:59 Graph: (in minutes) (in minutes) Statement of Table and Graph: The Jigsaw Puzzle time results ranged from above four minutes to below 10 minutes. The specific male range was between five minutes to 8 minutes and 59 seconds. Over half of both males and females scored between 5 minutes and 6 minutes 59 seconds. The quickest time and the longest time were both completed by females.

Discussion In this experiment the hypothesis was supported in the Spatial awareness test with the majority of males performing at a higher level of spatial intelligence compared to females but not supported in the Puzzle as the majority of females finished their puzzles in a shorter time than males. In the spatial intelligence tests the males had a higher average than females with a quarter of the males achieving the top score compared to the one female. This is not as much shown in the puzzle completion times where, although the lowest score was achieved by a female, the highest score was ompleted by a female as well as the majority of the shortest times were done by females. Males had a smaller range though, with their scores a little more consistent than females. These results suggest that males do tend to have more spatial awareness compared to females but does not mean that there are not exceptions to this suggestion. This may because males, especially within the age range selected for this experiment, have a higher tendency to be playing action video games which in earlier experiments have suggested can improve and maintain a higher level of spatial awareness.

Variables could include the past experience of the subjects including interests, availability to mind games and information, previous intelligence tests conducted, etc. as well as the mood and energy of the person and the time the test was conducted. Improvements could include having all subjects tested at the same time and under quitter conditions without communication. No ethical consideration was given with the exception of the task sheet briefing for the subjects. No debriefing or acknowledgment of agreement to the experiment was given.

As the participants were under the age of 18 an improvement for next time would be to have parental consent to the participation of the experiment. It is concluded that in this experiment males showed a higher ability in spatial awareness. This information suggests that gender does in fact have an effect on intelligence levels but does not mean that there are not exceptions to this suggestion. References * Feng J. , Spence I. , & Pratt J. (1990) Playing an Action Video Game Reduces Gender Differences in Spatial Cognition University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Edwards R. , Blaher-Lucas E. , Marangio K. , Moore V. (2010) Oxford Psychology Units 1 & 2 Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Appendices Appendix 1 – Link to puzzle page Appendix 2 – Participant data/Raw data Unit 2 Psychology AOS 2 SAC 1: ERA Intelligence The Task: To investigate the effect of gender on multiple types of intelligence, specifically spatial awareness. You will conduct the experiment along the following guidelines. 8. You will form a pair where the 1st person will do puzzle 1 and the 2nd will do puzzle 2. 9.

Person 1 Go to the website below complete the puzzle http://www. onlinejigsawpuzzles. net/animals_14_polar_bear. htm. 10. Record the time required to complete the test and gender of the participant on the table attached. 11. Pearson 2 to go to the below website and repeate the process above http://www. onlinejigsawpuzzles. net/animals_11_parrot. htm 12. Now complete the questions 1-10 on the IQ quiz handout on logical reason. 13. Correct your questions. 14. Give your results table to either Mr Hong or Ms Ray so that the result may be collated. The Written Report:

The written report must be written under the following headings: Title Introduction Method Results Discussion/conclusion References Appendices All aspects of this ERA will be completed at home. You will be given the ERA in the last week of term 3. The final ERA will be due via email on the 19th of October. If you wish to hand in a draft of the ERA it must be given to your teacher by 5th October. Introduction (250-500 words)- The introduction must provide: * Rationale for this experiment * Exploration and discussion of any key theories and concepts related to this experiment from past research. Identification and discussion of the key concepts involved in this experiment that can be used to explain the results * Stated aim of the experiment * Identification of the dependent and independent variables of the experiment * A stated operational hypothesis Method (150 words)- The method must include: * Participants, Materials, Procedure written according to Lab Report conventions * Information regarding the characteristics of your experimental design, participant selection and reference to ethical procedure Results (no word limit)- The results must include: At least one annotated table and an overall statement of results. This must be manipulated in order to present it in a fashion that is ideal for the manner in which you will interpret the data in your discussion Discussion/Conclusion (400-600 words)- The Discussion/Conclusions must include: * A reference to the support or unsupported operational hypothesis * A valid justification for your opinion * Valid inferences from the raw data and results * A discussion regarding how the ideas provided in the introduction are supported or not by your findings * Generalization of findings * Extraneous/confounding variables Conclusion and possible improvements As a final note: * The world limit must be adhered to with a 10% variation both ways. Excess words will not be considered in the grading process (the title, abstract, results, all in-text references, graph/table titles and annotations, appendices and final reference lists are not included in word count) * All work must utilize in-text referencing (Harvard Style) and provide references * All work must be typed in size 12 (Calibri or Times New Roman font) * All tables, graphs and pictures must be labeled and annotated * Appendices must be included.

If referred to in your Lab Report, there must be a clear indication as to which specific areas of the appendices is being utilized. * PLAGARISM FROM ANY RESOURCE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Any identified plagiarism will result in that section of the Lab Report being removed and not considered in the grading process. In the case of work being copied from another student, BOTH students involved will face disciplinary actions based upon VCAA guidelines that may result in an ‘N’ grade for Unit 2 Psychology.

Grade Criteria and Structure for SAC 1b Unit 2 Psychology Name: Criteria: Introduction| 5| 4| 3| 2| 1| 0| Identification and exploration of superordinate goals and other theories and concepts relevant to the experiment| | | | | | | Evidence of research and explanation of concepts relevant to the experiment. | | | | | | | Identification and use of IV and DV in an operational hypothesis| | | | | | | TOTAL: /15| Criteria: Method| 5| 4| 3| 2| 1| 0|

Identification of key process in developing a method| | | | | | | Identification and explanation of the utilized experimental design| | | | | | | TOTAL: /10| Criteria: Results| 5| 4| 3| 2| 1| 0| Ability to manipulate raw data into a meaningful format and presentation (Creation and use of accurate data graphs and tables) | | | | | | | Accurate identification of key statistical information from raw data (Mean, median, mode and/or other relevant statistics)| | | | | | | TOTAL: /10|

Criteria: Discussion and Conclusion| 5| 4| 3| 2| 1| 0| Accurate and justified identification of support/no support for operational hypothesis| | | | | | | Proposed explanation of results in relation to acquired data| | | | | | | Proposed explanation of results in relation to researched theories and concepts relevant to the experiment| | | | | | | Exploration of the relevance of the results to the areas of reducing prejudice| | | | | | | Identification and discussion of extraneous variables and improvements to the experiment| | | | | | | Identification and summation of general conclusions to the population based upon the established data | | | | | | | TOTAL: /30| Criteria: Overall Requirements| 5| 4| 3| 2| 1| 0| Quality of referencing and research, and overall written quality and presentation of the ERA| | | | | | | TOTAL: /5| Total Score: /70 ( %) Comments: Recording table | Gender (male/female)| Time (in seconds)| Participant 1| | | Participant 2| | | ______________________________________________________________________________ Articles for your reference in completing this ERA Go to the following links to read articles related to spatial intelligence and gender. http://pss. sagepub. com/content/18/10/850. full http://pss. sagepub. com/content/4/1/35. full. pdf+html

The following websites contain information on multiple intelligences http://www. tecweb. org/styles/gardner. html http://www. infed. org/thinkers/gardner. htm Raw DataFemale Participants| Gender| Score on test| Jigsaw puzzle time| 1| f| 7| 5:07| 2| f| 5| 4:48| 3| f| 7| 4:42| 4| f| 7| 6:25| 5| f| 5| 9:35| 6| f| 5| 9:33| 7| f| 8| 4:58| 8| f| 3| 8:16| 9| f| 7| 5:27| 10| f| 5| 6:40| 11| f| 5| 6:24| 12| f| 6| 5:43| Male Participants| Gender| Score on test| Jigsaw puzzle time| 1| m| 7| 5:10| 2| m| 6| 6:31| 3| m| 8| 6:00| 4| m| 7| 6:22| 5| m| 5| 8:39| 6| m| 8| 5:48| 7| m| 5| 6:04| 8| m| 8| 5:18| 9| m| 5| 7:21| 10| m| 5| 7:39| 11| m| 6| 5:39| 12| m| 4| 8:17|

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Gender Discrimination on English Language

ABSTRACT Language plays an important role in society. As a phenomenon of society, language reflects all the sides of human society naturally. Sexism is a phenomenon that takes a male-as-norm attitude, trivializing, insulting or rendering women invisible. As a mirror reflecting the society, language images the social views and values. The causes of sexism in this thesis are not the language itself but due to the inequality between male and female in such areas as traditional culture, religious consciousness social status as well as social status.

Language, which has a close relation with the society, could reflect the certain social custom and characteristic of a nation. In addition, social development and changes in turn will affect language and can input fresh blood to it. English, as one of the oldest languages, which has an extensive influence in the current world, has also experienced numerous impacts from the reforms and changes. These changes and trends constantly updated the use of language as well.

In the 1960s ,great changes have been made in modern English since the rise of the American feminist movement,namely, the women’s liberation movement. That is, some of the original uses and meanings have been eliminated or become obsolete while some new expressions have emerged. On the one hand, it makes the English expressions and use more accurate, clear. On the other hand, however, it is hard to avoid bringing some new problems.

The thesis summarizes the phenomena of sexism in English as well as traces the reasons for the occurrence of sexism in the English language. Then it concerns the feminist influence on language. The paper documents and discusses feminist language reform: the efforts, the initiatives and actions of feminists around the world to change the biased representation of the sexes in language Key Words: Sexism in language; Feminist movement; Language reform; Contents 0. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………. ,,,,,,,,1 1.. Sexism in Language ……………………………………. ………………………….. 2 1. 1 The definition of language sexism……………………………………………………. 2 1. 2 The phenomenon of language sexism in English…………………….. …………6 1. 3The reason of language sexism in English………………………………………. 7 1. 3. 1The influence of socialized prejudice and traditional idea…………………….. 7 1. 3. 2 The influence of religion consciousness…………………………………………….. 7 1. 3. 3 The Psychological reason…………………………………………………… 2. The Development of the English Language Sexism viewed from the American Feminist Movements and its Effects………………………………………………………………………………. 2. 1 The influence of feminist movement on Language Sexism………………. 2. 3 The effects on English language after the language reform ……………………………… 2. 3 The Different Attitude towards the Reform of English Language Conclusion………………………………………………………………13 References………………………………………………………………15 Acknowledgements………………………………………………… 16

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The Gender of Power: Latin American Dictatorship

Throughout history men, women and children have been subject to harsh ruler-ship, generally under a patriarchal system. With the emergence of a female role in one of the most coveted dictator positions, one would ask the question: Is feminized power less ruthless? In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Big Mama’s Funeral” we learn that although a female has stepped in to the office of a leader, her power is still abused and misused like any other. Latin American history has proven to be one of the most affluent in terms of poor utilization of wealth and power. We have also learned that man or woman can strive in the role of a leader, and that followers will pay mercilessly for the simple fact of living and being. Big Mama is the living proof that power is genderless.

The lifestyle lead by a dictator as powerful as Big Mama herself is quite consuming regardless of her gender. The protection of her kingdom and her fortunes were her prime concerns, along with the assurance of her matriarchal rigidity. Her absolute power reigned over the kingdom, slaughtering any who opposed her and every person living within her kingdom had to pay their dues. Residents even believed Big Mama “was the owner of the waters, running and still…”, even the “air they breathed”. She was the richest and most powerful matron in the world, although no one knew the the exact value of her estate. She was considered by most of the inhabitants as immortal, to them, she was bigger than life itself. Her stern sovereignty was questioned by none.

Her family consisted of brute and loyal soldiers who followed her every command without question. She had built a fence to further protect her and her possessions. The land which she occupied had been passed down from generation to generation. Big Mama had been “Macondo’s center of gravity”, as had her brothers, her parents and the parents of her parents in the past, in a dominance “which covered two centuries.” She believed she would live well over a hundred years as did her maternal grandmother. The thought of provoking death in Big Mama was laid to rest as most of her tribe members were true believers in her.

Although she was mean-spirited and relentless, she tried to uphold a very high-class and honourable image of herself, unlike many other crude rulers of her time. She was two-faced and and everyone knew it, though no one would ever approach her in fear of what she might do to them if she found out they knew. In troubled times, Big Mama contributed secretly for “weapons for her partisans”, but came to the aid of her victims in public. That patriotic zeal “guaranteed the highest honours for her.” Big Mama was a master of concealing her hostility and she was proud of the fact that she could.

The power invested in a woman such as Big Mama could lead anyone to believe that authority, by man or woman could be ruthless. There is no way of determining whether one or the other could produce more or less wrath. This type of power could put anyone in their place and would terrify even the harshest of critics. Big Mama reigned over the city of Macondo with a cold heart and a tight grip. Her family members supported her every decision in belief it was in all of their best interests, they were true believers. Her self-image was was so god-like, she would never come to realization that every one who knew her in fact despised her.

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Changing Role of Women

Since the end of world war two, in 1945, Australian society has witnessed many dramatic changes in the rights and freedoms of women. Women, who had been encouraged to take on men’s jobs during the war were expected to vacate these positions and return to their traditional vocation in “home making”. Throughout the 1950’s and early 1960’s women were expected to either stay at home or work in underpaid “women’s jobs”. Women’s wages were significantly less in comparison to the wages awarded to men who performed the same task.

The Commonwealth Arbitration Court ruled in 1949, that a women’s basic wage should be set at 75% of the male rate. This was the practice throughout the 1950’s when there was a large growth in the textiles, clothing, footwear and food processing industries depending on the cheap labor that women provided. The view that a woman’s place was in the home was reflected in and shaped by the Australian education system. The emphasis of the limited schooling available to girls was in the home sciences . i. e. cooking and sewing.

The lack of educational opportunities for women only reinforced sex role stereotyping and gave women little chance to achieve their potential. The introduction of the oral contraceptive pill in 1961 gave women the chance to achieve their potential. It gave them the freedom to choose when and if to bear a child. It provided women with the opportunity to concentrate on furthering their working careers, where available, thus leaving the domestic housewife image behind. It provided women with power over their bodies for the first time; they were in control of their sexual relationships.

Thus, by the end of the 1960’s, women were actively seeking greater rights and freedoms in society and in the workplace. Demonstrations and protests were a feature of this movement, known as the woman’s liberationist movement (today referred to as feminism). The female liberationists aimed to overturn the notions of female inferiority and male dominance in Australian society. Their dream was to free women from the restraints society placed upon them; to challenge the status quo. Zelda D’Aprano was one Australian woman who formed the Woman’s Action Committee in 1969.

She chained herself to the doors of the Commonwealth Building in Melbourne demanding equal pay for both sexes. Germaine Greer was also an outspoken liberationist whose book “The Female Eunuch”, 1970 , challenged the thinking of conservative male dominated society. There was a diverse range of women’s liberationist groups formed to campaign for specific issues revolving around three main areas: equal pay, discrimination in the workplace and equality of opportunity in the workplace and society.

Specific issues included: •Child Care •Equal pay for women •Family Planning •Divorce •Discrimination in the workforce and from lending institutions The causes, clear arguments and outspoken activism of these groups attracted much media attention and faced resistance from traditional and conservative sections of society. For example church leaders were outraged when women’s liberationists called for legalized abortion. Equality in the workplace has been and still is an important issue.

In theory, the federal Equal Pay Case of 1969, determined that women receive “the same wage as men for the same work”; but this principal would not apply where the work was essentially or usually performed by women. By 1972, the Liberal government continued the debate, suggesting in Cabinet that wage rates should take into consideration “training, skills and other attributes required for the satisfactory performance of the work”. See Source A, which is a copy of a Cabinet document, dated 24 October 1972, demonstrating this stance of the Liberal government in relation to calls for Equal Pay.

By December 1972, the Labor Government had come to power and it promised to implement the Equal Pay for Equal Value principle in female dominated industries; though such a principal has proven difficult to implement. Equal opportunity has been and still is another important issue. In 1972, the Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) was founded. WEL sought out politicians views on woman’s issues. It has had a major role in lobbying and influencing governments to pass laws friendly to woman in areas such as woman’s health and child care.

See Source B, a photograph of a demonstration in Sydney in 1979, in which WEL activists are advocating for Medicare funding for abortions. By the beginning of the 1980’s, the fruits of the labor of the women’s movement could be seen in many of Australia’s legal reforms:

•The family law act 1975 had established the principle of No Fault Divorce; removing the social stigma associated with woman and divorce.

•The anti discrimination act 1977(NSW) which made it illegal to discriminate on terms of gender, marital status or pregnancy Sex Discrimination Act 1984 a commonwealth act banning discrimination against woman.

•The Affirmative action act 1986 that was later replaced in 1999 by the equal opportunity for woman in the workplace act. By the end of the 1990’s most woman believed that their struggles for equal rights and freedoms with men in society had been won, but that is not necessarily the case. While women’s rights may have been enshrined in law, it is women’s freedoms in society that have yet to be fully realized.

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With a Focus on Gender or Race

CAROL COLLINS STUDENT – 11423048 1 With a focus on gender or race, discuss whether the criminal justice system is biased. Society expects the criminal justice system to provide justice for everyone by protecting the innocent, to punish and convict the guilty, and to rehabilitate them in an attempt to stop them reoffending. It is supposed to give fair justice for everyone, regardless of gender, but much is written that suggests that the criminal justice system is gender-biased. Gender bias was not formed by the justice system, but it does reflect the fundamental conditions and attitudes of society.

The cost of gender bias to society, the criminal justice system, and to the people within it is enormous. To discuss if the criminal justice system is gender-biased, an understanding should be reached regarding what is meant by the term `gender`. The word gender can be difficult to define, and also how it differs from the term `sex`. Whilst the term `sex` refers to the psychological and biological physiognomies that describe men and women, the term `gender` (The Free online Dictionary) refers to the roles that society considers to be appropriate for men and women, such as activities and behaviours.

Categories of gender are `masculine` and `feminine’ while sex categories are `male` and `female`. Some authors believe that the increase of females offending has increased due to the `masculinization` of women’s behaviour during the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s, and is responsible for the increasing numbers of women committing crimes. (Heidensohn, 1989; Adler, 1975). Aspects of sex do not vary between human societies, but aspects of gender may be very different (Bryant and Trueman, 2000).

Sex-stereotypes are said to be central to gender, which can be defined as the behaviours, attitudes, roles and beliefs that are passed from generation to generation (Weinrich, CAROL COLLINS STUDENT – 11423048 2 1980). Bias is defined as an inclination or preference that inhibits unbiased judgement. There are two views concerning whether men and women are treated differently by the courts and the police. The first is the chivalry hypothesis, which is that women are treated with more respect, sympathy and courtesy.

It is stated in the chivalry theory that more leniency is given to women than to men by the police, courts and the criminal justice system in general. It is said that male chivalry means that a woman is less likely to be charged by the police, and that the courts give lesser sentences to women than men, even if they have committed the same crime as male counterparts. Women who are sent to prison often receive shorter sentences than men which does imply that women are treated more leniently (Heidensohn, 2002).

Some authors state that the chivalry hypothesis becomes not so relevant if the crimes committed are the same, and sentencing varies very little between the sexes. It can be argued that the chivalry hypothesis only works if the offender fits what is considered to be the female stereotypical, gendered role. The second view of different gender-treatment is when a woman does not fit the stereotype of what are female norms, this `double jeopardy’ theory becomes relevant, which results in much harsher sentencing (Carlen, 1985).

It can be argued that in some cases that women are treated more severely by the criminal justice system because women are guilty of been doubly deviant; by committing a crime they have not behaved in a way that is regarded to be a socially normal way for their gender to behave. It is also written that females who commit aggressive crimes are often treated more severely than men, who are aggressive because their behaviour is different from what is regarded as normal female behaviour (Paul and Baenninger, 1991; Gelsthorpe, 2003).

CAROL COLLINS STUDENT-11423048 3 Campbell (1993) states that violent women must rival men or be mentally ill, because it is not how nice girls should behave according to Batchelor (2001). It could be seen that in some areas the gender bias within the criminal justice system that gender rivalry with the men has been the predominant force. Police officers and judges were interviewed by Hedderman and Gelsthorpe (1997) and were asked about the ways in which they made decisions.

It is clear that women were given more leniencies if they have children, as their offences are treated as “need more than greed”, for example if they had stolen goods from a shop it was because they needed the goods for their family. However if a man had stolen from a shop it would have been seen that his motivation was one of greed. There is evidence that the possible gender bias in the criminal justice system begins as soon as a woman is taken to the police station. Fawcett (2006) comments that women feel that police stations are hostile places, artly because of the behaviour and sexist language within the police service. Women are in general less inclined to use their right to have legal representation, but this may be not only because they are often charged with less serious crimes, or it could be because they feel overwhelmed and intimidated in the male-dominated police station. Only 20% of police officers are women, and only 18% of forensic officers are women. It is unclear whether police officers are trained to deal with women who have been victims of abuse, particularly when that is pertinent to the charges that have been brought against them.

The Home Office states that women who are given prison sentences are given shorter sentences than their male counterparts. This implies that women are treated more leniently by the criminal justice system. The individual’s history of offending and the nature of the offence are taken into account, and according to the Home Office, both the higher rate of CAROL COLLINS STUDENT-11423048 4 cautions issued to women, and the lower rate of custodial sentences, reflect that women are less likely to commit serious offences and that past criminal records are also taken into account.

Offences that are committed by females tend to be less serious than those committed by men, and fewer women have previous criminal records. This indicates that, according to Trueman and Bryant (2003), there is not any sympathetic bias towards women. 27% of the women who are in prison are first-time offenders, which is more than twice the figure for men. This suggests that men offending for the first time are treated more leniently than women. 63% of women are serving custodial prison sentences for non-violent crimes, in contrast to 45% of men in prison. This suggests that women are sent to prison for far less serious crimes than men.

According to the 2001 census, women represented 51. 3% of the population of England and Wales, but only 6. 1% of the prison population were women. It states that more women are likely to be given community sentences, or to be discharged, and that they are much less likely to be given a custodial sentence than men (Home Office, 2003). Only 8% of the total amount of people sentenced to a custodial prison sentence in 2001 was women. In the last ten years there has been an increase in the female prison population by 60% compared to an increase of 28% for men.

The rise is explained by an increase in the severity of the sentences given. It is possible that the introduction in 1997 of The Mandatory and Minimum Sentencing Act put restrictions on judges from using their own discretion when passing sentences. It is believed that the prison system in the United Kingdom was designed for men by men (Corston, 2007). Gender issues not only cause problems for women but also for the trans-sexual prisoners. New prison guidelines in 2006 were introduced to reform aspects of the prison system in order to reduce gender bias towards trans-sexual individuals.

Sir David CAROL COLLINS STUDENT-11423048 5 Ramsbotham, prison inspector in 2000, stated that trans-sexual prisoners were at risk of serious health problems due to the bias against them that they had been denied treatment, and he stated that they should be given the same treatment as everyone else. As fewer women go to prison than men, there is a male-dominated prison system. Due to this, there is discrimination against women in the prison system. There are fourteen women’s prisons in England, are there are none in Wales (Prison Reform Trust, 2010).

This suggests that for women to be sent to a women’s prison it is probable that they may be incarcerated a long distance away from their families, causing isolation and emotional stress (Women in Prison, 2006). A woman is imprisoned on average 57 miles away from their committal address, and in 2007 over 800 women was held more than 100 miles away. This also suggests that women are often imprisoned in a higher grade prison than they need to be in. Due to the fact that there are fewer women’s prisons than men’s prisons, there are far fewer opportunities such as training or education (Hayes, 2007).

Over the past ten years the media has focused on many controversial problems within women prisons with television documentaries such as `Girls behind bars`, 2011. The newspapers have used headlines such as `Women burn, strangle and stab themselves in jail hell` (Bright, 2004). In the documentaries, any of the issues raised were indirectly a result of gender bias and the effect that it can have on the women inmates within the criminal justice system. Much of the emphasis of the programmes was about the mental illness that is caused by the lack of suitable prisons and facilities.

This in turn often leads to self-harm, drug abuse and suicide. There is evidence that suggests that gender bias also exists in the criminal justice system against women who are victims of rape. It is believed that in rape trials it is the female rape victim who is made to feel that she is on trial more than the male suspect (Walklate, 1989). CAROL COLLINS STUDENT-11423048 6 Baroness Stern was commissioned by the Government to do an independent report into the on-going concerns in the amount of rape cases that that went to court and resulted in a conviction.

In the report Stern suggested that the (estimated) 14% of reported rapes that result in a conviction for rape or sexual assault was not low compared with other crimes. Of the rape cases that go to court, 58% result in a conviction. Stern reported that the figure would not improve under the present legal system (Williams, 2010). The Stern report (2011) suggested that improved care of the victim would improve the rates of conviction, as fewer victims and witnesses would withdraw from the process, which would improve the possibility of a conviction. In 2005, only 6. % of rapes that were reported to the police and taken to court resulted in a conviction, compared to 35% of other criminal cases. In the United States of America (USA) the criminal justice system discriminates against men; one point that is argued is that if a man commits a murder in the USA it is more than twenty times more likely that he will be given the death penalty. Whereas, if a woman murders a man, she is unlikely to be sentenced to death, however if she murders a child or another woman, she runs a higher risk of receiving a death sentence.

Markedly, murdering a man is not significant enough to merit the death penalty (Farrell, 1993). According to Farrell, men do not speak up enough, publicize, or organise appeals, so that that biases against women are removed, and the biases against men remain. Information gathered shows that there is gender bias within the workforce of the criminal justice system. In 2008, only 24% of the police officers in England and Wales were women. Only 12% of women police officers had reached the position of Chief Inspector, compared to 27% who held the position of Constable.

In CAROL COLLINS STUDENT- 11423048 7 2008, there were only 29 females who were members of the Chief Police Officers Association, out of 209 total members. A 1993 survey showed that nearly all the police women who took part in the survey had received some form of sexual harassment from fellow male officers. There were also reports that 3 out of 10 had been subjected to unwanted touching and to offensive insults. 66. 5% of barristers are men, compared to 33. 5% who are women. A taggering 91% of Queen’s Counsel are men, compared to 9% who are women. A view could be taken that with gender bias amongst the employment ranks of the justice system, it is not surprising that there is gender bias within the criminal justice process of criminal prosecution. There are conflicting arguments whether women suffer or benefit from bias during the sentencing for crimes. There is enough evidence to conclude that there is gender bias in the criminal justice system. There should be equal justice for all, yet the criminal justice system is failing women miserably.

Women are at a disadvantage as offenders, suspects, defendants, and as employees. The system is failing female victims of violent crimes due to a lack of supportive services. Far too many women are being imprisoned for non-violent crimes. Women are under-represented as employees within the system, principally amongst the senior police levels, the judiciary, CPS, Queens Counsel and within law firms. The criminal justice system and the Government need to address the discrimination that exists against women, and they need to put the issue of gender as central to the criminal justice system.

Everyone has a gender or sex, and should be given the right not to be discriminated against. It is a human right to liberty, security, justice, and to not be given punishment without law. It is a human right to a fair trial (Human Rights Act, 2000). As certain that night will follow day, people will commit crimes, and the reactions to the crimes and the way in which gender CAROL COLLINS STUDENT- 11423048 8 differences are approached in the criminal justice system, for the foreseeable future, will stay the same, coloured by their gender.

WORDS- 2312 REFERENCES Adler, F. , 1975. Sisters in Crime: The rise of the new female criminal. New York: McGraw-Hill. Batchelor, S. , 2001. The Myth of Girl Gangs, Criminal Justice Matters, Spring Issue, 43, pp. 26-27. Bright, M. ., Women burn, strangle and stab themselves in jail hell. [Online] (Updated 8 February 1984) Available at: http://www. guardian. co. uk/uk/2004/feb/08/ukcrime. prisonsandprobation1 [Accessed 12 April 2012]. Bryant, L. and Trueman , C. , 2000. History Learning site. [online] Available at: <http://www. historylearningsite. co. k/gender_bias_punishment. htm>[Accessed 21 April 2012]. Campbell, A. 1993. Men, Women and Aggression. New York: Basic Books. Carlen, P. (1998) Sledgehammer: Women’s Imprisonment at the Millennium, Macmillan Press Ltd: Hound mills; Basingstoke; Hampshire; London. Corston, B. 2007. Ministry of Justice: Criminal Justice Group. [online] <http://www. womeninprison. org. uk/userfiles/file/> [Accessed 8 April 2012]. Farrell, M. 1993: [Online] http://www. mikefarrell. org/activist/deathpenalty. html Fawcett, 2006. Fawcett Closing the inequality gap. Online] (Updated 2006) Available at: http://www. fawcettsociety. org. uk/index. asp? PageID=712 [Accessed 12 April 2012 Hayes, S. C. , 2007. Women with learning disabilities who offend: what do we know? British Journal of Learning of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 35 (3), pp. 187-191. Heidensohn, F. ,1989. Crime and Society: Sociology for a changing world. London: Palgrave MacMillan. Heidensohn, F. , 2002. Gender and Crime. In: M. Maguire, Morgan, R and Reiner, R. , eds. The Oxford handbook of criminology. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Herrington, V. and Nee, C. , [2005]. Self-perceptions, masculinity and female offenders, Internet Journal of Criminology. [online] Available at: <http://www. internetjournalofcriminology. com/Herrington%20&%20Nee%20-%20Self-perceptions,%20Masculinity%20and%20Female%20Offenders. pdf> [Accessed 21 April 2012]. Home Office, 2003. Statistics on Women and the Criminal Justice System Report. Available at:<http://www. publications. parliament. uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhaff/193/19315. htm> [Accessed 21 April 2012]. Human Rights Act 2000.

London: HMSO. Legislation. gov. uk. [Online] Available at: http://www. legislation. gov. uk/ukpga/1997/43/contents [Accessed 12 April 2012]. Paul, L. and Baenninger, M. (1991) `Aggression by Women`: More myths and methods in Baenninger, R. (ed) Targets of violence and aggression. North Holland. Elsevier Science Publishing. Prison Reform Trust, 2010. Women in Prison. [online] (Updated 1 August. ) Available at: <http://www. prisonreformtrust. org. uk/uploads/documents/Women%20in%20Prison%20August%202010. pdf> [Accessed 16 April 2012]. Self-perceptions,

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Gender Identity Disorder

Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria Gender identity disorder (GID) or transsexualism is defined by strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned sex. (“Psychology Today”) Due to a recent change to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, “Gender Identity Disorder” will be replaced with “Gender Dysphoria”. For the purpose of this paper those two terms will be interchangeable.

This paper will explore the symptoms that lead to a gender identity disorder diagnosis as well as the treatment process and obstacles a person with this disorder may face. It is a difficult process and is not something somebody would endure unless they truly believed they were meant to be the opposite sex. Symptoms of a person with gender dysphoria can vary from person to person but there is certain criterion that must be met in order to obtain that diagnosis from a licensed professional.

Some of the criteria in children includes; Repeated expressed desire to be the opposite sex or that they are the opposite sex, discomfort and/or disgust of own gentiles, cross-dressing for boys or masculine attire for girls, prolonged preference for cross-sex roles in play and games or fantasies of being the opposite sex, desire to only have friends of the opposite sex and belief they will grow up to be the opposite sex. The symptoms for an adult with gender dysphoria is somewhat different because they are of age and able to effectively communicate thoughts and desires.

Some of these symptoms include persistent discomfort with current sex, stated desire to be the opposite sex, frequent attempts to pass as the opposite sex, desire to get rid of gentiles, social isolation, depression and anxiety. The only way for a proper diagnosis is to be evaluated by a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in gender identity issues. Once a diagnosis is reached what is treatment like? Treatment includes counseling, group and individual, hormone therapy, and if chosen, gender reassignment surgery. Individual, group, family, and couples counseling can ll be necessary to help not only the GID patient cope and come to terms with the person they feel they were always meant to be. There is also a network of people that surround that person that will also be affected by this diagnosis and decision. Individual therapy is suggested for the person who is gender dysphoric and mandatory if they want to take further steps in treatment (hormone therapy, reassignment surgery). Group counseling has also been found to be of great benefit. It gives the GID patient the ability to explore the diagnosis in a safe environment with peer’s similar situations.

Family counseling for family members that are involved in that person’s life, and if in a relationship couples counseling could also be a useful tool. Hormone treatment is used to enable a safe gender transition, both physical and emotional. It is usually part of a multi-stage process that can also include Real Life Experience (cross dressing), hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. But it must be noted that some individuals opt to stop with hormone therapy and not go on to change their anatomy permanently.

Hormone therapy is when sex hormones are administered to bring out secondary sexual characteristics. For example a male who desired to be female would be administered estrogen and a female who desired to be male would be administered testosterone to enhance sexual characteristics of the opposite sex Sex reassignment surgery, gender reassignment surgery is a procedure that changes a person’s external genital organs from those of one gender to those of the other. (Frey, 2006) A person must be deemed a transsexual with gender dysphoria before reassignment surgery is even considered.

A transsexual is a person with gender identity disorder who has overwhelming desire to change anatomic sex. (Ford-Martin, 2011) Other criteria may include recommendation by 2 mental health specialists trained in gender identity issues or sometimes a team of specialists, undergone hormone therapy successfully for at least one year, living “real life”/ cross-dressing for a minimum of a year, deemed emotionally stable and medically healthy or at least existing conditions being treated and controlled. Whatever treatment is chosen is just the beginning of the journey.

There are many ramifications a person with gender dysphoria faces; psychological, social, and religious. According to local psychologist Dr. Gerald Ramsey, Ph. D. in his book “Trans-Sexuals Candid Answers To Private Questions” he states “Transsexuals from some religious backgrounds have grown up with the admonition that homosexuality is a mortal sin, punishable by fire and brimstone. These individuals believe they are putting at risk the future of their souls – facing not just the loss of family and friends, but the ultimate judgment of God, which may include spiritual annihilation.

To confront, explore and challenge such beliefs takes incredible personal energy and faith. ” (Ramsey, 1996) As you can see a diagnosis of gender dysphoria affects all aspects of life from potential loss of friends and family to learning to interact and live as the “real you”. In this paper we discussed the symptoms of a person with gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria. We also went through the different courses of treatment related to this disorder as well as the potential obstacles encountered.

The process is life changing and isn’t something taken lightly. Bibliography Gender identity, disorder diagnosis dictionary. (2005, 10 24). Retrieved from http://www. psychologytoday. com/conditions/gender-identity-disorder Frey, R. (2006). J. Polsdorfer (Ed. ), Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (3rd ed. ). Ford-Martin, P. (2011). L. Fundukian (Ed. ), Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (4th ed. , Vol. 3). Ramsey, G. (1996). Tras-sexuals- candid answers to private questions. (p. 80). Freedom, CA: Crossing Press.

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Traditional Gender Views and the Exceptions

Gender is an factor of an individual’s being that permeates all aspects of his or her life. From the moment a person is born into the world, he or she is classified either as a female or a male. The way society treats and reacts to this person is then treated accordingly to that initial categorization. What is it then that epitomizes the masculinity and the femininity of an individual. How does American society view a feminine individual and how does this differ from how the same society views masculine individuals?

Masculinity refers to a human’s personal level or degree of manliness. Chafetz (35-36) describes masculinity as being distributed over seven areas: physical, functional, sexual, emotional, emotional, intellectual, interpersonal, other personal characteristics.

A masculine individual is said to be virile, strong, able to provide for his family, sexually aggressive and experienced, unemotional, practical, dominating, free, demanding, and success-oriented. Thus an individual who is more able to take risks and who is better able to exhibit a sense of confidence and independence is considered to be more masculine. Physical attributes such as facial hair, toned muscles, and large body frames are also more characteristic of individuals who are considered to be masculine.

Femininity, on the other hand, is directly linked by the 1996 Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language to traits  such as gentleness, kindness, and patience (708). Feminine characteristics are usually associated with nurturing and life-giving characteristics. The woman’s traditional role as a mother and wife are the most emphasized qualities of a feminine individual. Thus a female who is demure, obedient, and able to display physical attributes that are favored in the life-giving process, such as large breasts, wide hips, and full lips, is considered to be more feminine than most.

Studies have shown that a man’s traditional view of a female or feminine individual is based heavily on masculine ideology, which focuses centrally on the sexual aspect of a woman’s breasts and bodies. The propagation of these masculine ideologies were even more stressed by the fact that media continues to portray females as beings whose primarily roles are focused on their sexual bodies. (Ward et al, 712)

Many can see, however, that the barriers of traditional gender roles are being broken by modern American males and females. More and more females are found in the workplace, becoming the breadwinners for their family. Females are also seen engaging in extreme and traditional sports. Women’s roles in American society were seen to drastically change in the late twentieth century as a result of the new opportunities given to them (Mackey & Immerman, 271)

There are also men who have opted to become the stay-at-home parents. It is has become more acceptable for men to show their emotions. And a new breed of men have come to be called metrosexuals, males who indulge in their physical appearance in the same way that was previously only attributed to feminine individuals. The breaking of stereotypes of masculinity and femininity has become rampant in the United States and this may well prove to be the beginning of the end of the reign o traditional views of masculinity and femininity in American society. Even though sex and gender are clear categorical divisions established upon birth, the long-established ramifications of being male or female and the parameters that these traditions set can be overcome.

Works Cited

Chafetz, Janet S. Masculine/feminine or human?:an overview of the sociology of sex roles. IL: F.E. Peacock Publishers, 1974

“Femininity” Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. 1996.

Mackey, Wade, C., & Immerman, Ronald S “The fertility paradox: gender roles, fertility and cultural evolution” Mankind Quarterly 45(2005):271-

Ward, Monique L., Merriwether, Ann, & Caruthers, Allison. “Breasts are for men: media, masculinity ideologies, and men’s beliefs about women’s bodies.” Sex Roles 55(2006): 703-714

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Gender Importance in Mary Seacole’s Experiences

Mary Seacole or Mary Jane Grant in her maiden name was a half-blooded Jamaican and a half-blooded Scottish born in the small island of Jamaica named Kingston in 1805.  She identified herself a Creole with a duskier color than the brunettes and was really proud of it despite of having a racial discrimination over blacks and black women during her time.  Being a soldier, Mary’s father unintentionally persuaded his daughter Mary to become a great lover of camp and camp-like attitude such as traveling, adventure, and the sense of being in a mission.

Also, her mother who was once called a doctress being inclined in the art of medicine, specifically the Creole medicine which every Creole woman is expert, influenced Mary to follow her footsteps, that even at a very young age, Mary was fond of playing like a doctor and nurse her doll, giving it medicines to cure its illnesses.  Little did she know that it was destined to let her preferences in her childhood materialized in the future, and be valued not only in her country but in the neighboring continents as well.  It happened when Mary accepted the calling of fate after her husband Edwin Horatio Hamilton Seacole died.

On her adventure from in and out of many places and phases of life as she narrates in her autobiographical book, she described and illustrated different lifestyle a woman could have while doing medical missions.  There she said she experienced meeting women of no distress whose affection with gold-seekers and gold itself in a potentially gold mining in Panama are elicited from worldly things.  She also encountered typical women such as a weeping widow that are victimized by war and hostilities in Crimea.

She also remembered how women are treated slaves by white race such as Americans who’s claiming that they are no other than the superior ones.  Her description of seeing women fighting for equality, empowerment and freedom was also remarkable.  She also gave a first-hand account of her own experience in defending herself physically from terrible incidents, which made clear how a woman can be strong and tough in the midst of crisis.  Moreover, she provided the readers how mothers, wives and nurses gave their wholehearted self in taking care on the health of those children, husbands, soldiers, patients, wounded and sick during the epidemic and chaos.

Like in any other institution in mid-nineteenth century, rivalries, insecurities and/or racial discrimination existed even on medical missions.  Florence Nightingale and her nursing group refused to accept Mary Seacole’s willingness to be a part of their team in the Crimean war.  Being rejected by a group of fellow medical white-skinned people, Mary felt insulted.  However, the incident was never a hindrance to her.  Instead, she traveled alone at her own expense and established her own niche healing the wounded and curing epidemics like yellow fever, dysentery, cholera, and diarrhea with the use of her own expertise in healing –herbal and the Creole medicine.

Mary Seacole as the author of her autobiographical book relished the idea of properly recounting her blow by blow details in medical career without knowing that she was uplifting the image of blacks and black women in general.  More so, she was not purposely pinpointing races, regions or gender to put in an awkward representation in boosting the morale of the blacks and female gender.  One could analyze how Mary Seacole gave respect to the Englishmen especially to the members of army that are very dear to her, which some of them look up to her as a mother and called her “Mother Seacole”.

She would never given the same respect should Mary did not touch the lives of these fellow men.  A dignified journalist writer William Howard Russell generously stated words like this: “I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succor them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead”, which was included in Seacole’s book as its preface.

As a final point, Mary could say that she triumphantly established a well-respected role of women in the society as she convinced the readers with this statement:

“I tell you, reader, I have seen many a bold fellow’s eyes moisten at such a season, when a woman’s voice and a woman’s care have brought to their minds recollections of those happy English homes which some of them never saw again; but many did, who will remember their woman-comrade upon the bleak and barren heights before Sebastopol.  Then their calling me “mother” was not, I think, altogether unmeaning.  I used to fancy that there was something homely in the word; and, reader, you cannot think how dear to them was the smallest thing that reminded them of home.” (Seacole, M. Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole in Many Lands. Chapter XIII: My Work in the Crimea.)

R E F E R E N C E S

Antonwu, E. (2006). About Mary Seacole. Retrieved November 22, 2007, from TWU:

Gabriel, D. (2004). Great Jamaicans: Mary Seacole 1805 – 1881. Retrieved November

22, 2007, from Jamaica Primetime Web site: http://www.jamaicans.com/

articles/maryseac.shtml

Kleeberg, K. G. (2007). Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands. Retrieved

Novermber 21, 2007

Seacole, M. (1857). Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands. London:

James Blackwood Paternoster Row.

;

Seaton, H. J. (2002). Another Florence Nightingale? The Rediscovery of Mary Seacole.

Retrieved Novem 21, 2007, from The Victorian Web: Literature, History ; Culture in the Age of Victoria Website: http://www.victorianweb.org/history/

crimea/seacole.html

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Gender Roles and Marriage

The representation of gender roles and marriage has always been a controversial issue. However, much can be learned about unhappy marriages when examining the roles of both females and males within the marriage. The examination of gender roles and marriage are seen through the following short stories The Story of an Hour, The Necklace, and Country Lovers, along with scholarly articles based on gender role and marriage. Evaluation of these literary works shows quite clearly that social and economic class affects choice in marriage.

Gardiner’s County Lovers presents its fairly clear theme right from the beginning of the story. Yes, there is a theme of race, but if you look even deeper you can see the underlying idea of marriage and gender roles. There is a love between two people but it is forbidden due them being a part of two separate classes. In the marriage that takes place between Njabulo and Thebedi there is an absence of love. Thebedi agrees to marry Njabulo because it is what is expected of her, but this does not constitute what many see as a proper marriage.

There are some prevalent gender roles expressed in this story. There is are not many females described in the story other than Thebedi, but those who are discussed always have the role of being silent, and that of a domestic worker. Thebedi is often described as being the primary care giver of her children, whereas Njabulo and Paulus are often described as holding careers outside the home. The gender roles in this story are very stereotypical. Thebedi is portrayed as being weak and helpless and she stands outside her hut while Paulus is alone with the child.

She knowingly left her child alone with Paulus after he strongly expressed his dislike of the situation of her having his child. The author portrays her as being helpless and innocent but the death of her child could have been prevented if she wanted it. The point of view of this story is that of a third-person. The narrator was not involved as a character in the story, which made it harder to get involved in the story emotionally. There was little connection to the inner thoughts of Thebedi and Paulus. This made theory very limited, in that the narrator knew of the events but not of their experiences.

This objective view could have been improved by connecting the reader more to the thoughts and feelings of Paulus, Thebedi and Njabulo. In the end of the, Njabulo decides to stay with his wife and continue living as a family with their new born child. There is little said about how he felt about the whole situation, when in fact the decision he made was a very big one, but would have taken a lot of thought and contradictory feelings. The tone reflected by the author was very somber and solemn. From the begging there was much negatively expressed towards the thoughts of love and marriage.

There is a verbal ironic one use when all evidence persuades the reader to think that Thebedi and Paulus will be in trouble or their actions, but in the end their relationship was not acknowledged and they are both able to walk away and live their lives freely. The language used by the author also suggests gender inequality. As Thebedi is 18 years old and Njabulo is 19, Thebedi is still being called a “girl” and Njubulo is considered a “man”. Within the story The Necklace the theme of changing gender roles within the married couples is prevalent.

Madame Loisel did not marry for love, but rather married because it was expected of her. She married a man who worked in the Ministry of Education and had little money. Mr. Loisel, however, did marry for love and was very satisfied with their life together. Mathilde Loisel did not respect her husband due to him not making as much money as she would like, and she is portrayed as always wanting more. Her husband tGries hard to do anything to please her and makes sacrifices to keep her happy. Mathilde uses her innocence to gain sympathy, which leads to her getting the possessions that she desires.

She is presented as being a weak and needy wife who cannot care for herself, relying on her husband to survive. When the Loisel’s had to earn more money to pay off their debts, Mr. Loisel takes on a second job working outside of them home while Mrs. Loisel works in the home cooking, cleaning, and taking on the care giver role. In the begging of the story it seemed as though Mathilde held most of the power in their marriage, but once conflict arose the power shifted back to Mr. Loisel, as Mathilde continued to do exactly what he said without questioning.

This story is also told from a third-person point of view. The narrator is not part of the story and presents the action to the reader from on outside view. The reader is able to see everything through the eyes or the narrator, but the reliability is questionable in that the information coming from a third party. The style of writing is very fluent and easy to follow, which makes for a very enjoyable read. deMauppassant uses situation irony in a creative way to give the story an humorous twist; when Mathilde finds out the diamond she and her husband have been working so hard to pay off, was actually imitation.

This discrepancy allows the author to add humor, giving the story a light and playful tone. The use of satire exists towards the end of the story in the form of a farce. Subtle humor and hilarity is developed through improbable situations and exaggeration. In this situation the probability of Mr. And Mrs. Loisel going through ten years of misery and poverty just to find out the diamond was fake, is very low, which is why it makes the story so humorous Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour also displays a theme of an unhappy marriage.

When Mrs. Mallard received the news about her dead husband she began to weep uncontrollably, only to figure out she was weeping out of joy not sadness. Mrs. Mallards journey thorugh her thoughts help her to realize just how unhappy she was in her marriage, and how much better off she will be living for herself, and only herself. Although this story is mostly about Mrs. Mallard, it still gives a sense of the stereotypical gender role. An early mention of Mr. Mallard sates that Mrs. Mallard was repressed by him in their marriage life. Mrs.

Mallard’s constant joy (after hearing about her husband’s death) suggests that she wanted to leave her husband but did not have the bravery to do so. Also, men are portrayed as the stronger sex as Josephine comforts her sister as she cries in her arms, while Richard stands by and watches. The female takes on the role of the nurturer and comforter as the male takes on the role of the strong, silent type. The narrator, although a third-person point of view, does a great job of providing an in depth description of Mrs. Mallard’s feelings toward the whole situation.

The action is presented through an outside view, displaying the characters thoughts and feelings toward the death of Mr. Ballard. Although most events are sensed through the eyes or the narrator, they do a great job of getting in touch with Mrs. Mallard’s feelings, so the reader can connect better with her, and how she is reacting to the situation. The narrator’s omniscient view is very refreshing and informative. Chopin uses a combination of verbal and situation irony to add humor to the situation. Throughout the story, it is explicitly expressed how each character feels about the unfortunate death of Mr.

Mallard. As Mrs. Mallard chants “free, free, free! ” to her in the bathroom, it leads the reader to believe that the deal of Mr. Mallard is accurate and Mrs. Mallard is ready to move on with her life. When Mrs. Mallard finally comes out of the bedroom, feeling quite positive about the situation, shock arrives on everyone’s faces as they find out Mr. Ballard was not on the train, and is therefore still alive. Although this story does not directly speak of social class, Mr. Mallard taking the train does suggest this family within the middle class category.

Joan Kahn that during since the 70’s healthy adults are starting to face new challenges unrelated to their career. These activities are productive and provide new opportunities. Some of these activities include part time employment, volunteer, and informal support to family in friends. Kahn noted the gender difference between men and women’s behaviors and relationships. While men tend to work more, while achieving outside the home, women on the other hand are more nurturing in the home. Her studies have focused on age and gender differences in housework and have shown husbands to do less housework than wives which tends to increase with age.

Findings on the gender gap in forms of unpaid labor have showed that women did more work for both kin and non kin than did men. Also men showed to be happier in their marriages than women. Also, her study illustrated that women were consistently more likely than men to assist their children in some capacity, as well as those who had living parents. William Wilcox demonstrates the profound changes in the functions and stability of marriage. The rise in women’s social and economic interest has drastically increased.

He states, in the from the 18th century and onwards women became more concerned about marrying for social status, than marrying for love. The emotional functions and character of marriage have and marital happiness has become less important. Marital stability; home production, childbearing, and division of labor have been determined predominantly by the stereotypes of what is expected by either gender. Wilcox states, in his gender model of marriage, that men and women are invested in doing that their gender suggests they embrace. They are raised to live up to their gender role ideology.

He believes women and men are socialized to hold on to their gender typical patterns of behavior. Jonathan Vespa describes children as a changing factor on gender ideology. When married couples have children, the couples are more likely to agree that a women’s duty is care giving. The effect of employment on gender ideology also depends on life experience and economic status. Working men with an employed wife their family suffered, where as working men with a stay-at-home wife reported their family was stable. Gayle Kaufman believes gender ideology has changed greatly during the last few decades.

She also believes it is important to examine the relationship between ideology and marital happiness. There is a strong connection between gender attitudes in terms of expected roles for men and women and power relations. The traditional attitudes focus on men as breadwinners and women as homemakers, with both holding different amounts of power. Nontraditional attitudes focus on sharing economic and caring tasks which divides power more equally, but this is not the majority of most marriages. Much can be learned about unhappy marriages when examining the roles of both females and males within the marriage.

Throughout this paper, the effects of social and economic class have shown to have a great impact on marriage. There are many common themes within the three literary works, including the unhappiness of wives in their marriages, as none of them married for love. The examination of gender roles and marriage are seen through the following short stories The Story of an Hour, The Necklace, and Country Lovers, along with scholarly articles based on gender role and marriage. Evaluation of these literary works shows quite clearly that social and economic class affects choice in marriage.

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The Third Gender

Kaleen Rodriguez ENC 1102 Exploratory Essay The Third Gender What is the role of the third gender in South Asia? How does Asian society identify the third gender? I walked into my best friend Joel’s room this morning extremely excited to have lunch with him after a long four months without seeing him and on my journey to his room I picked up a paper that was lying by his door. I picked it up and the title was “Hijra” as I continued to read this paper, it had me very intrigued, fast. It so happens that earlier that week I was talking to my mom about Pride Fest which is a LGBT festival here in South Florida.

So, my question arose, how do others across the world view what we recognize as the LGBT community (Gay,Lesbian,Bi-sexual, and Transgender)? , and finding this paper only made my thought more concise, what is “The Third Gender”? In the west we have LGBT and we also have drag queens who are men who act as women for a short period of time under certain circumstances and it is acceptable. The definition of gender as a performative (Butler) is defined as how you act in your society. Doing research for this topic was significantly easy; finding various points of views was the harder part.

Looking through scholarly essays I was able to find “With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India” by Reddy, Gayatri and “The Hijras of India. ”  by Nanda, Serena. Two of which were my primary resources for what I am about to explain. In South Asia there is LGBT, but what they consider cross dressers, and transvestites are called Hijra’s which generally is considered a third gender role in India. Hijra’s are males who dress and act as females. There are rites of passage for becoming a Hijra.

This rite of passage includes the act of removing the genitals and burying them in the ground which basically show they’re devotement to the Hijra life style, but less than 10% actually commit to eliminating their genitals (Gueste0d1c4). Hijra’s adopt female aspects and behavior. Some Hijra’s are sex workers and some are performers and that is how they earn a living, which causes them to live outside of the city in their own communities. The ones that live in the community and are sex workers live in worse conditions then those who are performers (Reddy, Gayatri ).

By performer’s I mean Hijra’s do performances at weddings and festivals. All of their performances are focused and essentially done for Bahuchara Mata (Mother Goddesses), who is worshipped all over India. Mother Goddess is said to have given the Hijra’s a special place in Indian society, so because of this, all Hijra’s devote themselves to her. Overall besides the relationship with the Mother Goddess, the relationship that is most important in the Hijra community is the one with the Guru which is a master/teacher and also a Chela which is a disciple (Gueste0d1c4).

Therefore, when a person wants join the Hijra community they are taken to a city called Bombay and become acquainted with one of the major Gurus, in total there are seven. (Reddy, Gayatri) Being on the outside looking in. What gives the Hijra’s power also eliminates their power in society because they emasculate themselves to prove they’re actually Hijra’s, but in that sense they could never be accepted in society because they could never be a man to produce children, which essentially is the role of a man.

At times most Hijra’s are maltreated because of this. Hijra’s have rules under their own domain. The most prominent cultural aspect of the Hijra is the asexual description, although many Hijra’s are said to be homosexual (Nanda, Serena). They identify themselves as neither a man nor woman, being perfectly imperfect. As a Hijra, there are many times you might encounter a discourteous crowd and the way they show their response towards this is to lift their skirts or dresses and show their maimed genitals (Nanda, Serena).

Taking a few moments in my day to question what the Hijra’s really feel do they feel that they are in the wrong body as many trans gender’s claim or do they just wish to be of the opposite sex? I wanted to see Hijra’s what they looked like, their gestures and all. I decided to YouTube a video on them and I was able to find it and many different answers to my question above. It came to my attention that more than half of the Hijra’s documented have been attracted to men from a very young age, or so they say.

The first Hijra in this YouTube video began her story by saying that she always admired the woman lifestyle, wearing the gem in the middle of their eyebrows the clothing attire also known as a saree and as she grew up her walk became more feminine and the way she spoke only followed, basically insisting that she was born in the wrong body. Although, the other small percent in this video mostly agreed that as they grew up and were raised as a male, they just wanted to be like a woman but they are clear on the fact that they were or are men (Ambujablue’s Channel).

Becoming more engaged in the Hijra lifestyle I googled as a form of research and I simply typed in “Hijra Culture” the first thing that arose was a link to a slide show done in 2007. Here I found the history of Hijra’s regarding the Karma Sutra (an ancient Indian text), which is said to have mentioned a third gender (Gueste0d1c4). This to Hijra’s must mean the world, mostly because it somewhat proves that they’re not just getting the transgender idea from the western culture, but that it has existed in the Indian culture long before.

Being a Hijra was said to be a disturbing view to the South Asian society, but after India gained their independence the anti-Hijra law was removed. In many different places where I tried to find a statistic of how many Hijras there are, I could not find an accurate number but there is said to be somewhere between 50,000 to 500,000 Hijras in South Asia (Gueste0d1c4). There are two significant theory’s about Hijra’s, one is that every Hijra’s starts as a sex worker, then performer. The second theory is that they are always separate, either a sex worker or a performer never both.

Rules only exist within their society, and once outside of the Hijra community these rules don’t exist; they are simply seen as a transgender person. The Hijra’s are very prone to being infected with HIV/AIDS because of being sex workers. Truth be told, that is how they make a living even though their living is not anywhere near a good standing. It is very difficult for a Hijra to be invited to perform in a wedding or a child’s birth, so being sex workers is their best option. Hijra’s are not only maltreated emotionally but also physically.

Those who are completely against the Hijra culture abuse them, brutally. They beat them in their own homes, along the streets, in markets, even in police stations (Gueste0d1c4). Knowing this reminds me that this is something most transgender societies have in common, they are abused mostly verbally on the Western side but the physical abuse is still taking action. As I continued my research I attempted to find various points of view on the Hijra, little did I realize there are really only three; for, against, or nonchalant.

I thought to myself well, most people in the Western society have altered their point of view to for or nonchalant on the transgender topic and are disclosing being against it. Meanwhile, maybe not as rapid but slowly, those on the other side of the world are adapting to this view or “Third Gender” as well. What I did as another form of research was conduct a survey in order to get a general outlook on what others believe or think about the Hijra. I surveyed a total of twenty people. Ten of which were my family and friends and ten who were complete strangers.

The response I generally received was “whatever makes them happy” basically proving that the outlook is shifting drastically in comparison to a few years prior. I only received three responses out of twenty that were completely against the Hijra, and I also realized that those three people were all around the same age range which was 57-62. I believe that says something only because it is common that the older generations in our society are more likely to be against this “new” LGBT “trend” as they say. Only enforcing that as the generations increase it is becoming more accepted.

All of this research has shown me that there is more to being a Hijra then what many of us know or think we know. It is something one must truly want and it is a decision you have to stick with no matter how challenging times may get. Works Cited: Ambujablue’s Channel, . “Documentary . ” Youtube . N. p. , 2008. Web. 19 Mar 2012. <http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=QntUgXwzZH0>. Chisel, Jasmonae. “The Hijras of India”. Xavier University. Voice Lab no. 9. WorldPress. com Gueste0d1c4, India. N. p. , 2009. Web. 19 Mar 2012. <http://www. lideshare. net/gueste0d1c4/hijra-culture>. Meena Balaji and Ruth Lor Malloy. “Hijras: who we are” Think Asia, 1997. 32 pgs. Print. Nanda, Serena. “The Hijras of India. ” Journal of Homosexuality (1986): 35-54. Web. Reddy, Gayatri. “With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India”. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 2005. 78-98. Print. Reddy, Gayatri. ‘Men’ Who Would Be Kings: Celibacy, Emasculation, and the Re-Production of Hijras in Contemporary Indian Politics. Social Research; Spring2003, Vol. 70 Issue 1. Print.

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Gender Communication Differences in Traditional Marriage

A gender image of one’s self is first presented to a child by his/her parents. It is through the behaviors learned, the characteristics that are reinforced and the inappropriate gender traits that are punished that we, as humans, are able to grasp our larger role in society. These early concepts of gender identity, behavior and roles also influence how we communicate interpersonally. Two people of opposite gender joined in marriage have two very different styles of communication to the extent that this problem is sometimes insurmountable. Lack of clear communication between partners in a traditional marriage is often cited as the cause for divorce.

Not so long ago, traditional gender roles, combined with an aversion for the stigma of divorce, were a huge factor in the length of a couple’s relationship. Men and women stuck it out for the long run, even when experiencing problems, and a breakdown in communication. Long before technology took over society and created more avenues for communicating with each, men were used to showing support by “doing things” for the family and women showed their affection through talking (Torrpa, 2002).

Women expect their marital relationship to be based on mutual dependence and cooperation while men expect it to be based on independence and competition (Torppa, 2002). Clearly, these two different sets of expectations will have an effect on how the two partners communicate and ultimately, on the strength of the union.

The current generation of young adults is waiting longer their parents to make an acceptable marriage match as opposed to the trend of earlier years when marriage the year after high school was expected. The tradition of marriage is still intact, but the demographics are changing. The fact that couples are waiting to tie the knot should also affect their ability to communicate with each other about important issues due to older partners presumably having a better idea of what they want in life and a better grasp on how to communicate it.

According to Ohashi (1993) marriage is a system established on the assumption of a division of labor based on gender-role stereotypes (from Katsurada, Sugihara, 2002). Women traditionally tend to want to “make everyone happy” while men make decisions based largely on their own personal needs (Torrpa, 2002) – one aspect of marriage that is unchanged for the most part yet responsible for many breaks in communication between the partners.

Differences in typical gender roles also affect communication between husband and wife. Typically, women are characterized as being the more talkative of the sexes as well as being comfort providers and more secure in showing their emotions. Women are also better at “reading between the lines” regarding interpersonal issues (Torrpa, 2002). Men, on the other hand, are known for their distinct lack of communication and inability to provide emotional support. Their ability to “read between the lines” regarding status is more pronounced than in women.

With traditional roles in marriage declining and technology taking over, communication is at once both more effective and less available (Morris, 2001) – we have more ways of communicating (e.g. text messaging, Email, etc.) but we have less time to do so with multiple careers. Both male and female partners tend to see the other as being more controlling of the relationship (Torppa, 2002) and without the ability to communicate effectively, this assumption can be quite damaging to the marriage.

This paper will explore the varying roles of a man and woman in a traditional marriage relationship, how these roles influence their ability to effectively communicate, and the level of satisfaction each partner feels based on their idea of whether or not they are communicating effectively with each other regarding large issues. According to Torrpa (2002): “understanding differences is the key to working them out”.

References

Katsurada, Emiko & Sugihara, Yoko (September, 2002). Gender-role identity, attitudes toward marriage and gender-segregated school backgrounds. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. Retrieved September 5, 2007, from the Find Articles Web site: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_2002_Sept/ai_96736800/pg_2.
Martinez, J.M., Chandra, A., Abma, J.C., Jones, J. & Mosher, W.D. (2006). Fertility, conception and fatherhood: Data on men and women from Cycle 6 (2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth. National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved September 5, 2007 from the CDC Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_026.pdf
Morris, Grantley (2001). Improving Communication in Marriage. Retrieved September 5, 2007 from the Web site: http://net-burst.net/love/talk.htm.
Torppa, C. B. (2002). Gender Issues: Communication Differences in Interpersonal Relationships. The Ohio State University Extension Program. Retrieved online September 5, 2007 from the OSU Web site: http://ohioline.osu.edu/flm02/FS04.html.
Van den Troost, Ann (August, 2005). Marriage in Motion. Sociology Today, Volume 10. Leuven University Press.

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Gender Bias

Gender bias is a preference or prejudice toward one gender over the other. Bias can be conscious or unconscious, and may manifest in many ways, both subtle and obvious. In many countries, eliminating gender bias is the basis of many laws, including those that govern workplaces, family courts, and even the voting booth.

Despite these efforts, many legal and political scholars argue that total gender parity remains a far off goal, one which many region are not remotely close to reaching. The legality of gender bias is an area of huge contention in regard to pay equity between the sexes. Historically in many countries, men make more money over a career than women, even if they hold the same job. While the disparity has dwindled since the mid-20th century, it still exists in most areas to some degree.

Opponents of additional laws increasing protection of women’s equal pay argue that this may be due to women working less over their lives, instead making a choice to remain at home and raise children. Women’s rights activists often cite this argument as part of the overall gender bias of modern society, suggesting that women are financially punished for choosing to rear children, despite the fact that this action is vital to thecontinuance of the state.

It is also important to remember when considering gender bias and the law, that not all regions approve or desire gender equality under the law. In some countries, women are not allowed to drive, let alone vote. Studies of some regions have also showed tremendous gender bias in laws, with women being subject to severe penalties, including execution, for crimes such as adultery, whereas for men, adultery may not be considered a crime at all or may have lighter sentencing guides.

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Gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes refer to the characterisation of groups based on their basic gender attribute as male or female. The gender-based stereotypes are the simplified evaluations of male and female groups that are shared by the community, a culture, a society. The evaluations usually encompass the attributes of physical capability, psychological state, personality, interests and behaviour. (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008) These attributions could be based on fact that such as the differences in the physiological and hormonal characteristics of males and females.

However, the evaluations may be overstated. The other attribute evaluations may not be supported by evidence. (Myers, 2008) The nature and source of stereotypes lead to two implications. One implication is on the positive or negative impact of gender stereotypes. Women as emotional and men as rational could be positive when considered as strengths but these stereotypes could also be negative when used to discriminate or exclude in the workplace and in other situations.

The other implications is the non-predictive value of these stereotypes over the individual attributes of members of the group. While women are stereotyped as emotional and men are stereotyped as rational, these are not necessarily the core attributes of all females or males. Nevertheless, gender stereotypes are pervasive in different cultures and form part of day-to-day lives. As such, gender stereotypes form during the growing up years (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008). Acquired gender stereotypes develop alongside gender roles, influence gender roles and are reinforced by gender roles.

Understanding the factors that foster the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles provide the key areas in influencing the development or in changing the stereotypes and gender roles developed during childhood. Children going through the developmental stages are exposed to different factors that influence their development of gender stereotypes and gender roles. Two of the most pervasive influences on the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles in children are parental influence and media influence. The earliest exposure of children to the meaning of gender and gender differences is from parents.

During the development stage, children look up to their parents in developing perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards various aspects including gender characteristics and roles. (Erkes & Trautner, 2000) Gender socialisation is one concept that explains parental influence on the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles in children. Gender socialisation is the process that facilitates interactive learning of certain behaviours considered as acceptable for males and females based on social-cultural beliefs and values (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008; Myers, 2008).

The different expectations for males and females build stereotypes that are reinforced by how these are exacted from children by their parents, The attitudes of parents towards their children, in terms of the encouragement of gendered activities and interests, influence the development of gender stereotypes and roles (Eckes & Trautner, 2000). One manifestation of parental attitudes towards gender is differentiation through colours and patterns (Cunningham, 2001). As early as the pregnancy, the baby’s room is designed and furnished according to the expected gender of the baby.

When babies are born, parents buy things such as clothes and other items depending on the gender of their child. Typically, pink is the colour for female babies and blue for male babies. Floral and other similar patterns are bought for girls while cars and truck prints are designated for boys. Dolls are typically for girls and cars or trains for boys. These attitudes and behaviours of parents communicate differences between males and females together with expectations on the concurrent attitudes and behaviour of their male or female children.

Another manifestation of parental influence is the chores assumed by parents and assigned to their children (Cunningham, 2001). Usually, girls have more chores inside the household. Mothers usually obtain help from daughters. Sons are also assigned chores but these commonly pertain to work such as lifting or other manual work. These gendered attitudes and behaviours of parents exert influence during socialisation with their children who are receptive to the explicit and implicit messages communicated to them (Eckes & Trautner, 2000) As they become aware of gender differences, they also develop male and female stereotypes.

Concurrently, they also start to assume gender roles. Parental influence during the development stages is the key to the development of gender identity. Gender stereotypes and roles acquired during childhood are likely to be retained in the long-term. Parental identification is another concept that explains parental influence as a factor contributing to the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles in children. Parental identification is the process of internalising he attributes of parents and the unconscious repetition of the perceptions, attitudes and behaviour of parents by children (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008). Male children internalise the observed characteristics of their fathers and female children internalise the attributes of their mothers. The gender stereotypes shared and exhibited by parents and the gender roles assumed by the parents constitute signals of the attributes of males and females. Socio-economic background influence the extent of gendered attributes of parents.

Apart from an expected higher educational level for families with higher incomes, gender stereotypes and gender roles is linked to economic status. In developing countries with high poverty rates, gender stereotyping and gender roles are strong. Male preference is tied to expectations of bigger income. Manual work, which is the predominant work, is delegated to males. Domestic chores are assigned to females. In developed countries, female children tend to have lesser restrictions in terms of expected roles.

Nevertheless, other factors such as educational attainment of parents determine the gendered attributes observed from parents. Parental influence contributes to the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles in children through the processes of gender socialisation and parental identification with children becoming aware of gender differences through the attitudes and behaviours of parents. The media refers to a wide range of venues including television, gaming consoles, mobile phones, and the Internet. Exposure of children to media has increased over the past five years.

A recent survey showed that half of the children under the ages of 5-7 have televisions inside their rooms that they can use anytime without parental supervision. Households with a gaming console have also risen from 67 to 85 percent. Children in this age group also increasingly own personal mobile phones. Every one in five children between 5-7 years old can access the Internet in their homes without supervision from their parents. These support the strong influence of media on children during the development years.

There are benefits and downsides to the exposure of children to media. The benefits include reinforcement and support for academic learning. The Internet has become a virtual encyclopaedia for children. Another benefit is social learning. However, the benefits are not absolute and largely depend on the type of media content exposure (Villani, 2001). The downside is the adverse influences on perceptions, attitudes, personality and behaviour from the media content and lack of parental supervision to medicate media influence.

Media has an influence on the development needs of young children depending on the media content and the internalisation of this content. Gender stereotyping and gender roles are developmental areas strongly affected by media. Gender socialisation also occurs through media influence. Gender socialisation through media refers to the interaction between children and media content presented in various venues (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008; Myers, 2008). The nature of interaction involves the expression of messages pertaining to gender by media content and mode of delivery.

Children internalise these messages to influence their development of ideas on gender, which together with their experiences, affect the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles. Movies and television shows comprise a media more popularly accessible to children. When media portray gendered messages aligns with their actual experiences, then media becomes a reinforcement of their awareness of gendered meanings. If media portrayal differs from their experiences, then other influences such as peers and the school become mediating factors in the development of perceptions about gender.

The role of parental supervision is the key to how children internalise gendered messages from movies and television shows. Games are mostly role playing games with players selecting their characters, In the case of games designed for children, gender distinctions emerge from the creation of characters with physical attributes reflecting beauty for girl characters and strength for boy characters (Villani, 2001). The characters usually have clear-cut gender delineations with male characters with muscled physique and female characters with curvaceous physique.

The characters in games influence gender stereotypes by providing models of expected physical and psychological attributes of boys and girls. These influence the development of identity and assumption of roles of children. Advertisements express gender categorisation. In a study of advertisements targeting children in the United States and Australia, there is a common trend towards gender stereotyping. The portrayal of boys or the message of advertisements for products intended for boys express aggressiveness, mental dominance, active lifestyle and keenness in operating instruments.

The advertisement targeting girls express physical attributes and embellishments. (Browne, 1998) Exposure to gendered advertisements also influences the awareness of children of gender differences and expectations. Gender role identification and categorisation also explain how media contributes to the development of gender stereotyping and gender roles in children. Gender role identification pertains to the association with a gender by an individual. Gender categorisation refers to the classification of attributes for males and females. Hogg & Vaughan, 2008;Myers, 2008) During the development years, children internalise media influences in categorising attributes. Their awareness of gender then leads them to identify with the attributes and role expectations of their gender. The extent of influence of media on the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles depends on the extent of exposure of children and the mediating role of parental supervision or intervention together with other influences.

Parental influence and media influence are two factors that contribute to the development of gender stereotyping and gender roles in children. Gender socialisation and identification explain the influence on children. As strong influences, it is also through these factors that negative gender stereotypes and gender roles can be changed. Parents exercise authority and moral ascendancy over their children and children look up towards their parents for guidance or models during the development years.

Parents should recognise their role in guiding the perspectives, attitudes and behaviour of children towards gender and gender identity development. There is need for parents to become conscious of destructive gender stereotypes and gender roles and proactively make changes, The interaction between various forms of media and children is increasing in frequency. While there are more gender sensitive and androgynous media content, children need parental supervision in internalising media content, especially since children are exposed not only to media intended for them but also to media intended for adults.