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It is worth mentioning that there are gender functions at all points of a social life. However, it is intensely rooted in how labor is structured, compensated, and practiced. From prehistoric times to the present, a notable distinction has been drawn between the work of men and that of women in all the cultures. The relationship between gender and work in the United States has not been so strong like it is in other cultures, but technological developments, economic institutions, intellectual and religious currents, religion, cultural norms, and popular beliefs have played a significant part in shaping clear distinctions between women's and men's work. These distinctions determine how work is valued, with tasks done by men valued more highly than those done by women regardless of the skill, time, and effort they took. Usually, work has often been gender biased where men's task is work while the women's role is assisting or helping out. This essay seeks to find the relationship between gendered work and gender as work.
In essence, the issue of gender and work began in the 1970s when the participation in women labor force rate increased as Women's Movement began calling responsiveness to gender difference both in the place of work and at home. There is a close relationship between gendered work and gender as work, where gendered work refers to specific jobs for a particular gender while gender as work demonstrated by how various labors provided by intimate others constitute gender subjectivities (Glenn 36). In gendered work, since time memorial, some jobs were traditionally held by women while others by men. For instance, men have been known to work while the women help or assist in light duties. Historically, the gender divisions were partial as an outcome of physical dissimilarities where men were involved in chores that necessitate much of upper-body power like cutting down trees while women's work was more based on the greater responsibility for child care. Therefore, when men went to work away from home, the women's duty was to engage in light tasks around the home that could easily be interrupted in order to nurse children. Such kind of stereotype was somewhat based on cultural beliefs.
However, as time passed, there were technological changes that altered the kind of work that people did. However, the change did not end the gender division of labor or the basic household unit of production. During this change, women began to move away from the household and started in engaging in light duties outside their homes where they did not hold any formal positions of power. Even outside the homes, women continued to be viewed as helpers who assisted the men while the men were involved in the main work. The women began to participate in unions, collective and military activities where they started to hold positions of power. Conversely, these efforts were obstructed by the unfair tactics of the male-dominated labor movement (Baron 9). As a result, women began to acquire networks and needed skills to fit into the different working positions. Like the men, women also adopted organization styles and forms of resistance to suit their needs, work culture, and schedules.
In the recent times, women's culture and consciousness of their ability and skill have dispelled many myths about women passivity and revealed the importance of the forms of militancy and activism of women both in power and in the workplace (Baron, 13). Therefore, while the differences in gendered work are currently limited, it is worth mentioning that they still exist and gender biases are still happening in the workplace to date. At present, both women and men can hold any positions of work as long as they have the required skills and qualifications to keep the jobs.
Gender as work, on the other hand, illustrates how gender biases are established by a number of labors essential of a particular gender. Notably, gender work goes further than the work different individuals do to accomplish their gender consistency. It also refers to the physical, emotional, as well as sexual care. Gender labor struggles are intended to help other people make various forms of gender recognition they wish. Although it is given and also received by people, it weighs heavily on the female gender and other people for whom caring, sex, and labors is neutralized, forced, or expected (Glenn 27). In gender as work, it is the job that is mainly stereotyped. It does not just disadvantage women but also men.
Remarkably, many jobs in the economy are gender-stereotyped where it is believed that specific tasks or work belongs to a particular gender and not the other. For instance, firefighting is thought to be a man's job while nursing is believed to be a woman's job. The stereotypes are about who fits what job better. Primarily, gender as work shapes people's expectations about if a woman or man better fits a certain position or job. Such kind of biases applies to all genders and influences the chances that a person will apply for certain jobs if they will be hired, the pay, and performance evaluation. In essence, gender stereotypes get attached to jobs based on their physical and emotional requirements. Since the existence of humankind, gender has been categorized into two groups; the inferior and the superior gender (Glenn 3). Therefore, most of the jobs that are perceived to be hard or requiring a lot of strength such as construction, fighter fighting are considered to be a man's job while the light duties such as nursing and catering are left for the women. However, in recent years, there has been a move where women can take up jobs that are stereotyped as men jobs while men take up jobs that are perceived to be women dominated.
To conclude this discussion, it is worth mentioning that there is a close relationship between gendered work and gender as work in that in both cases certain jobs are associated with a certain gender. However, there is a significant difference where gendered work stereotypes gender where some jobs are meant for a certain gender such as in the society where the men do the main work and can hold leadership positions and the women's job is to help or provide assistance to the men. Gender as work, on the other hand, stereotypes the job, where the male and female gender is defined by the kind of work they do where there are feminine and masculine jobs. Although there is that slight difference, the similarity is greater in that different genders are defined and given different roles and jobs. Gender differences have existed for decades now. It has been a borrowed trend since the existence of humankind. However, in the past few years, gender and work have seen a lot of improvement where women are fighting to receive equality in terms of the work and rewards. Additionally, in job stereotypes, there has been an increase in neutral jobs where there is 50/50 gender balance in most of the professions.
Baron, Ava, ed. Work engendered: Toward a new history of American labor. Cornell University Press, 1991.
Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. Unequal freedom. Harvard University Press, 2009.
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