Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life

Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life

Elgar original reference

Edited by Deborah M. Figart and Tonia L. Warnecke

The Handbook illuminates complex facets of the economic and social provisioning process across the globe. The contributors – academics, policy analysts and practitioners from wide-ranging areas of expertise – discuss the methodological approaches to, and analytical tools for, conducting research on the gender dimension of economic life. They also provide analyses of major issues facing both developed and developing countries. Topics explored include civil society, discrimination, informal work, working time, central bank policy, health, education, food security, poverty, migration, environmental activism and the financial crisis.

Chapter 12: Gender inequality in the workplace

Elizabeth Hirsh, Hazel Hollingdale and Natasha Stecy-Hildebrandt

Subjects: economics and finance, radical and feminist economics, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


Despite legal and organizational efforts to alleviate gender inequality at work, gender differences in career opportunities and the allocation of workplace rewards persist. Women are segregated into lower-paying occupations, passed over for promotions, and paid less than equally qualified men. The persistence of gender inequality in the workplace is rooted in a ‘gender subtext’ – a set of often concealed, gendered power-based processes and organizational arrangements that differentially confer value on men and women (Benschop and Doore waard, 1998). In this chapter, we argue that this gender subtext informs cultural understandings of who is deemed competent and worthy in workplace settings and is embedded in the very organizational structures that govern workplace decisions and the allocation of rewards, including pay, status, and opportunities for career advancement. In Sections II and III we review research that documents the cultural and structural nature of gender inequality, respectively. In Section IV we suggest several policy remedies designed to dislodge the cultural valuation system that disadvantages women and alter organizational structures to ensure gender-neutral evaluation and reward decisions. Section V concludes. In reviewing the sources of gender inequality at work, we take a decidedly sociological approach.

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