Sexual differences and social rewards in the American family

In this section we will look at the causes of the unequal distribution of social benefits between men and women.Let us analyze the three aspects related to this subject: family life, education and employment.

Family Life

traditional family in which the father works completely outside the home, and the mother entirely absorbed by household chores, has ceased to be the most common social system in our society.More than half of all married women work outside the home.Due to the increasing number of divorces is increasing the number of children who are brought up in single-parent families.Since in most cases the child care falls to divorced mothers, talking about "lone parent", we usually have in mind the "single mother".

In connection with these changes, there are new challenges and opportunities.As for the problems, when both parents work outside the home, they should first of all in some way to attach their children during the working day.Since few enterprises are day care centers for children or prov

ide flexible working hours for parents, they are forced to hire housekeepers and nannies or arrange child in kindergarten.Another problem is that, even if both husband and wife work outside the home, the wife usually perform basic household chores.Studies suggest that this trend is especially noticeable when the husband has a well-paid and prestigious job, and his wife took low-paying jobs with low prestige.When the level of education of his wife is higher than her husband's, increases the tendency to uniform distribution of household chores between spouses.Based on other studies found that the higher earnings compared to his wife with an income of her husband, the more power it acquires in the family increases its role in making decisions about family matters.

As for capabilities, the presence of women in paid work is likely to gain a sense of meaning and freedom, which they lack at home.Studies have shown that, despite the double burden of work and family responsibilities, working wives are happier than housewives.Even if the work is uninteresting, and poorly paid, their self-esteem is higher than that of women, all while staying at home.According to research by Gallup, conducted in 1982, the number of women who want to have children and work full-time in 1975 increased by 25 percent.The number of women who prefer to be only housewives, from 1975 to 1982 decreased by 27 percent.


As mentioned above, male or female can affect academic success.The differences are particularly pronounced in early adolescence, when girls are different language skills, while boys are more manifest visual and spatial imagination and successfully solve mathematical problems.But while the boys are lagging behind in reading, often translated into remedial classes for girls usually do not organize additional training on the development of visual and spatial imagination, even if they are in need.

structure of the educational process can also have adverse effects on boys and girls.Studies suggest that in pre-school age girls are encouraged, when they are near the reader;they are praised for their obedience to the elementary school.Boys are usually punished for breaking the rules, but, apparently, at least in their reward for obedience and passivity, than girls.While achieving both boys and girls are rewarded, the desire of boys to develop their personal qualities are encouraged, while the girls are brought up in the spirit of conformism.

In the period prior to adolescence, girls are learning better than boys.But when the girls become young women, "female" ideal that they must comply with to be at odds with the aspirations of the achievements and the spirit of competition.Being feminine often means that the fore desire to lure the boys, rather than academic success.Girls tend not to exercise their intellectual capacity and activity, for fear of "scare" potential fans.They lose interest in such geeky "rivalry" subjects like physics;even former excellent pupil sometimes bad start to answer quizzes in math.

Despite these apparently unfavorable factors, the number of women who have graduated from college and entered the legal, medical and economic faculties of the University, for the last 30 years has increased significantly.Between 1950 and 1980, the number of women graduating from colleges has increased significantly.However, in the period of study in graduate women tend to specialize in such "female" fields of pedagogy, English, journalism, fine and applied arts, foreign languages, literature, medicine, and library science.Work in these areas is paid less than in technical professions, such as engineering and computer science.

One reason for the reluctance of women to acquire a profession in areas dominated by men is probably a kind of "fear of success".Matina Horner suggested that success is equated with activity and "masculine" and women are concerned that they will be considered in some way less feminine if they will achieve it.To test their hypothesis Horner suggested that college student to write a story that begins with the following sentence: "After the examinations at the end of the first semester, Anna became the best student of his year of medical school."The same task was given to male students, and the name was replaced by John Hannah.In the analysis of male students stories Horner found that 80 percent of the subjects had predicted the success of John.As for the stories written by female students, some 65 percent of the subjects displayed a kind of "fear of success".They predicted that Anne will have to pay the price for success in academic failure in his personal life.

In the next phase of the study Horner watched popadenii subjects.Women in the stories that are more felt "fear of success", successfully works alone than in groups where competition is observed;men and women who are not afraid to succeed, prosper, and the atmosphere of competition.Horner concluded that 11rasskazah students revealed a deep anxiety, prevent women from intellectual activity.

During further investigation Hoffman found that more men (77 percent) than women (65 percent) worry about success, but perhaps this was due to different reasons.While the women were afraid of the social consequences of success (ie the inability to find or keep a husband, as well as the likelihood of discontent on the part of men and women in relatively low-paid positions), men worry about how success will affect their personal lives - whether they will be able to payfamily enough time or to satisfy their own interests, not work-related.It is difficult to interpret these results, but probably concerns women was due to social concerns, while the men's anxiety was due mainly guilt.


In 1985, women accounted for nearly 45 percent of the workforce in the United States.In the same year, 58.6 per cent of working women were married, and 60 percent were children under 10 years.

These figures show a marked increase in the number of working women after World War II.But what kind of work they do?The chart presents the activities carried out by women.Most working women occupy low-paid "feminine" positions, mainly related to office work.In 1980, 54 percent of female employees doing clerical work, while 71 percent of male employees were qualified technical specialists or managers.In addition to paperwork, women often become primary school teachers or nurses - these jobs are also considered "feminine", as they relate to the care and education and are paid less than work in other occupations requiring a relatively high level of training and intellectual abilities.

As for professions related to physical labor, that a disproportionate number of men here take a relatively high position, such as the master.

scheme of work performed by women (in%)

and - technical specialists, trade

and administrative workers 45,6

b - managers and highly qualified specialists


in - service workers18,7

g - operators, assemblers and other workers 9,6

etc. - manufacture of precision instruments, craft, repair work


e - agricultural workers, workers in the field of

Forestry and fisheries 12

Even in those industries that employ mostly women, they often do not prescribe masters.For example, in Boston, in the electronics industry in general, women make up 66 percent of the workers, but only 7 percent of women have relatively high status of artists.

Recently, there have been some (though not very noticeable) changes in the specialization of women.

In 1970, women accounted for 40 percent of the workforce, but among them there were only 8 per cent of doctors (nationwide), 4 per cent of lawyers and judges, and less than 2 percent of dentists.By 1980, these figures have increased respectively by 13.4;12.8 and 4.3 percent.

Discrimination at work

Women who acquire a profession in which men predominate, are often faced with problems that were not resolved until now.For most occupations characterized by internal stratification system.For example, in medicine, women make up the majority in areas such as pediatrics, psychiatry, health education, - a sheaf of talking about purely "female", a relatively low-paid professions related to caring about people.And they are a minority in other areas of medicine, such as surgery in various fields.Kvadragno (1976) conducted a survey and found that male doctors considered surgery the most prestigious profession with the highest status as pediatricians and psychiatrists were among physicians lowest prestige and status.Surgeons are the highest paid, pediatricians and psychiatrists have relatively low wages.Kvadragno also interviewed 25 women doctors, trying to find out why they chose your specialty.She received two answers:

1) in the period of study at the Medical Faculty of the University of surgeons often showed hostility towards him;

2) they are more willing to support in "female" professions.

Few women have faced open discrimination, but from time to time is observed.But their sense of negative attitudes towards them in some fields of medicine and other support caused the desire to avoid potential conflicts.

Trying to avoid failure, the woman chose a job where they feel comfortable and needed.For example, one woman told the doctor: "I have heard that in some medical institutions do not encourage activities in the field of medicine and women are reluctant to take them to work;I think we should avoid places where you may encounter difficulties. "

short end of the economic baton

injustice in wages and the distribution of prestigious professions exists not only in medicine.Earnings of men and women are unequal in other areas.In 1980, the average wage for men was $ 322. Per week, while women only received 204 dollars on average. Per week.

Why work men enjoy a higher demand than women's work?This is facilitated by a number of factors.As noted, women for a long time engaged in a child-rearing and housework.Although the cult of the True Feminine destroyed, there remains a certain idea of ​​the "mysterious female soul" (marked by Betty Friedan), under the influence of which women are less eager to material and professional success than men.Another factor is the role expectations of men and women.Male identity is based on the belief that the husband should be the breadwinner and the main meaning of his life is to work;wife work outside the home can cause discontent of her husband, since it is contrary to his masculine ideals.The less she earns, the less it is seen as a contradiction.

Single women can expect to pay, three times the wages of married women with the same qualifications, but they earn less than men doing the same job with them.This is probably due to direct and indirect discrimination - in the first case, women are not allowed in the scope of activities with high earnings in the second case, they provide only low-paying positions within certain professions.

interrupt work

Another factor affecting women's earnings is that the length of employment of women is interrupted for family reasons more often than men.Scheme 2 shows the significant differences in this regard between women and men.Pay special attention to "family reasons" interrupt seniority of 6 months or longer (64.1 percent for women and 1.5 per cent for men).A survey conducted in 1970 (when women and men were asked how many years they did not work throughout his career), showed that 74.4 percent of men and only 28.1 per cent of women have never interrupted your work experience.In addition, the startling fact was revealed, 29.1 percent of the women surveyed, and only 3.1 percent of men reported that they were not working for half of its potential work experience.Of course, the absence of the effect of the difference in pay, because he who does not work, does not receive anything.Experts estimate that this factor makes a difference of 15 percent between the earnings of women and men.

Women and promotion

Rosabeth Moss Kanter argues that the structure of the organization contributes to the creation of unfavorable conditions at work and have to pay for it, and both men and women.Since women are mainly engaged in clerical work, their opportunities are limited promotion and the pursuit of success is reduced.This problem is reflected in the feminist adage beginning of the 70s: "A woman has to work twice as much as men, to earn at least half."

Scheme differences in pay in the US for men and women

Kanter also claims that women secretaries and clerical workers necessarily move up the career ladder, because they acquire a kind of indirect prestige thanks to the connection with a senior or influential boss.The power of the executive secretary, controlling the access of people in the chief's office, it may be more advantageous than the power of the director institution, forced to be aware of all cases (from the account to paper clips).When women move up the ladder, they generally have lower prestige and power over subordinates than men occupying the same positions.And men and women boss often seems harsh, petty, carping;this leads to the erosion of its power - the non-fulfillment of orders and unwillingness to listen to her valuable ideas as long as they did not repeat her male colleague.It is interesting to note that males suffers the same problem.According to Kanter, when men "fall into the trap" and are "mid-level superiors" (which is the highest achievement for most women), they begin to behave like a "typical boss."

«Just a housewife»

Finally, what can we say about a woman who does not work outside the home and is considered to be "just a housewife"?Let's start with the fact that the rare "just a housewife."In addition to performing household tasks, many wives are engaged in active work outside the home - working in voluntary organizations are involved in political activities, caring for sick relatives, are members of the club, continue their education, etc.Moreover, many wives helping their husbands in the work, without receiving any direct remuneration.Women print and edit the manuscript of their husbands;They are in the course of business and social meetings husband;manage the financial affairs of the family (in our time for this work requires a calculator and a pretty, extensive knowledge economy);