Today, as married women commonly pursue careers outside the home, concerns about their ability to achieve equal footing with men without sacrificing the needs of their families trouble policymakers and economists alike. In 1993 federal legislation was passed that required most firms to provide unpaid maternity leave for up to twelve weeks. Yet, as Gender and Family Issues in the Workplace reveals, motherhood remains a primary obstacle to women's economic success. This volume offers fascinating and provocative new analyses of women's status in the labor market, as it explores the debate surrounding parental leave: Do policies that mandate extended leave protect jobs and promote child welfare, or do they sidetrack women's careers and make them less desirable employees? An examination of the disadvantages that women—particularly young mothers—face in today's workplace sets the stage for the debate. Claudia Goldin presents evidence that female college graduates are rarely able to balance motherhood with career track employment, and Jane Waldfogel demonstrates that having children results in substantially lower wages for women. The long hours demanded by managerial and other high powered professions further penalize women who in many cases still bear primary responsibility for their homes and children. Do parental leave policies improve the situation for women? Gender and Family Issues in the Workplace offers a variety of perspectives on this important question. Some propose that mandated leave improves women's wages by allowing them to preserve their job tenure. Other economists express concern that federal leave policies prevent firms and their workers from acting on their own particular needs and constraints, while others argue that because such policies improve the well-being of children they are necessary to society as a whole. Olivia Mitchell finds that although the availability of unpaid parental leave has sharply increased, only a tiny percentage of workers have access to paid leave or child care assistance. Others caution that the current design of family-friendly policies may promote gender inequality by reinforcing the traditional division of labor within families. Parental leave policy is a complex issue embedded in a tangle of economic and social institutions. Gender and Family Issues in the Workplace offers an innovative and up-to-date investigation into women's chances for success and equality in the modern economy.
"By analyzing the process of work in both the electrical and the automobile industries, the supplies of male and female labor available to each, the varying degrees of labor-intensive work, the proportion of labor costs to total costs, and the extent of male resistance to female entry into the industry before, during, and after the war, Milkman offers a historically grounded and detailed examination of the evolution, function, and reproduction of job segregation by sex."
-- Journal of American History
"Analytic sophistication is coupled with a powerfully rendered narrative: the reader strides briskly along, enjoying one provocative insight after another while simultaneously absorbed by the drama of the events."
-- Women's Review of Books
Gendering Labor History
Alice Kessler-Harris University of Illinois Press, 2006 Library of Congress HD6095.K4487 2007 | Dewey Decimal 331.470973
This collection represents the thirty-year intellectual trajectory of one of today's leading historians of gender and labor in the United States. The seventeen essays included in Alice Kessler-Harris’s Gendering Labor History are divided into 4 sections, narrating the evolution and refinement of her central project: to show gender’s fundamental importance to the shaping of U.S. history and working-class culture.
The first section considers women and organized labor; the second pushes this analysis towards a gendered labor history as the essays consider the gendering of male as well as female workers and how gender operates with and within the social category of class. Subsequent sections broaden this framework to examine U.S. social policy as a whole, the question of economic citizenship, and wage labor from a global perspective. While each essay represents an important intervention in American historiography in itself, the collection taken as a whole reveals Kessler-Harris as someone who has always pushed the field of American history to greater levels of inclusion and analysis, and who continues to do so today.
This timely, necessary collection of essays provides feminist analyses of a recession-era media culture characterized by the reemergence and refashioning of familiar gender tropes, including crisis masculinity, coping women, and postfeminist self-renewal. Interpreting media forms as diverse as reality television, financial journalism, novels, lifestyle blogs, popular cinema, and advertising, the contributors reveal gendered narratives that recur across media forms too often considered in isolation from one another. They also show how, with a few notable exceptions, recession-era popular culture promotes affective normalcy and transformative individual enterprise under duress while avoiding meaningful critique of the privileged white male or the destructive aspects of Western capitalism. By acknowledging the contradictions between political rhetoric and popular culture, and between diverse screen fantasies and lived realities, Gendering the Recession helps to make sense of our postboom cultural moment.
Contributors. Sarah Banet-Weiser, Hamilton Carroll, Hannah Hamad, Anikó Imre, Suzanne Leonard, Isabel Molina-Guzmán, Sinéad Molony, Elizabeth Nathanson, Diane Negra, Tim Snelson, Yvonne Tasker, Pamela Thoma
Migrant women are the primary source of paid domestic labor around the world. Since the 1980s, the newly prosperous countries of East Asia have recruited foreign household workers at a rapidly increasing rate. Many come from the Philippines and Indonesia. Pei-Chia Lan interviewed and spent time with dozens of Filipina and Indonesian domestics working in and around Taipei as well as many of their Taiwanese employers. On the basis of the vivid ethnographic detail she collected, Lan provides a nuanced look at how boundaries between worker and employer are maintained and negotiated in private households. She also sheds light on the fate of the workers, “global Cinderellas” who seek an escape from poverty at home only to find themselves treated as disposable labor abroad.
Lan demonstrates how economic disparities, immigration policies, race, ethnicity, and gender intersect in the relationship between the migrant workers and their Taiwanese employers. The employers are eager to flex their recently acquired financial muscle; many are first-generation career women as well as first-generation employers. The domestics are recruited from abroad as contract and “guest” workers; restrictive immigration policies prohibit them from seeking permanent residence or transferring from one employer to another. They care for Taiwanese families’ children, often having left their own behind. Throughout Global Cinderellas, Lan pays particular attention to how the women she studied identify themselves in relation to “others”—whether they be of different classes, nationalities, ethnicities, or education levels. In so doing, she offers a framework for thinking about how migrant workers and their employers understand themselves in the midst of dynamic transnational labor flows.