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Critically examine and account for the gender differences and divisions in relation to work and sexuality

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Introduction

Critically examine and account for the gender differences and divisions in relation to work and sexuality In order to critically examine and account for gender differentials and divisions in relation to work, this essay will illustrate the divisions of gender and how this has determined women and men's positions within the labour force and society. This essay will also look at some of the discourses of sexuality whilst discussing how theories surrounding the issue, continue to cause divisions in the relation to work. Throughout history women and men's position in society have been dictated through divisions of gender. It could be argued that many laws, morals and values implemented in society have been done so through patriarchal institutions, which men predominantly govern. For two hundred years, patriarchy precluded women from having a legal or political identity. Moreover, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries suffrage campaigners succeeded in securing some legal and political rights for women in the UK and by the middle of the twentieth century the emphasis has shifted from suffrage to social and economic equality in the private and public spheres. One of the popular approaches concerning the explanations of gender inequalities is the commonsense view, which centres on biology as the cause of gender inequalities between women and men. Scientific explanations account for this in various aspects of human biology. For example Goldberg (1979) argues that, "The interaction of the nervous system with the hormone system is the biological basis of male dominance"(cited in Pilcher, 2000:5). However, the Penguin Dictionary of Sociology states, "If the sex of a person is biologically determined, the gender of a person is socially and culturally constructed" (Nicholas, A 2000:149). ...read more.

Middle

Today however, although it has been legalised, restriction still applies. Heterosexual sex for example, is legal at the age of sixteen and eighteen for those in relations with homosexuals. Thus proving to provide inequalities within the governing of society. Thereby demonstrating ones sexual orientation is socially and culturally constructed through peers, education and the media. In terms of gender differentiation and work, historically the industrial revolution brought about a change in the production of goods, this in turn had an effect on the structure of the family. At the onset of the industrial revolution the shift in production of primary to manufactured goods led the population to migrate from rural to urban areas. The increase in production resulted in new factories to manufacture goods and the expansion of towns. Thus implicating a gradual separation that became apparent between the home and work. Furthermore, men, women and children worked alongside one another in the cotton spinning industry. Initially, women tended to operate the jenny frames however, with the introduction of the more efficient Mule, men became the operators. The justification for this was that women were seen to be physically and intellectually weaker (Hudson, 1992). In addition, the concept of women entering into paid employment-introduced differentiation in pay rolls, leaving men secure in what was considered the more skilled jobs (ibid). With the introduction of trade unions, according to Abbott and Wallace (1997), men were able to restrict women's paid employment and exclude them from higher paid skilled work. The assumption being, that woman should remain within the home and care for the family (homemaker). Walby (1997) for example asserts that, the household and household production as being a key site of women's subordination (Walby, 1990). ...read more.

Conclusion

* No rights to receive statutory redundancy pay or to maternity leave. (Cited in Pilcher, 2000:39). Smith, Fagan and Rubery (1998) argue that, "The type of flexibility adopted by firms is gendered" (cited in Payne, 2000:40). A part time strategy is maintained where women are concerned and in men's work other strategies are used including overtime and shift work. Therefore flexibility work is seen as women's work as it is low paid and low skilled. Flexibility is maintained through the part time route rather than other available strategies (ibid). In addition McRae (1991) assets that, women returning to work after a break from having a family, experience downward occupational mobility. Professional women returning to employment on a part time basis experienced a nine- percent decline compared to twenty-six percent of women that were employed in secretarial and clerical jobs. Thus determining that the majority of part time work is carried out in the service sector. In addition those women in part time work emphasised that they were satisfied with their employment status. Although it could be said that they have no choice, as state childcare in Britain is of the lowest in Europe (Crompton, 1997). Private childcare predominantly caters for a child's parents, whom are either in full time employment or in receipt of family working tax credit, as it is extremely expensive. Segregation is another factor of inequality between men and women. Hakim asserts, " The industries and occupations within which women and men work tend to be associated more with one gender than the other" (cited in Pilcher, 1999:35). The majority of women's employment is in the service industry i.e. health, education, caring and restaurants. Furnham, A& Stacey, B. (1991). 'Young Peoples Understanding of Society' Routeledge Casler, L. (1974). 'Is Marriage Necessary?' New York:Human Sciences Press. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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