Edited by Deborah M. Figart and Tonia L. Warnecke
Chapter 12: Gender inequality in the workplace
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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