Poverty among the elderly is sharply gendered—women over sixty-five are twice as likely as men to live below the poverty line. Older women receive smaller Social Security payments and are less likely to have private pensions. They are twice as likely as men to need a caregiver and twice as likely as men to be a caregiver. Recent efforts of some in Washington to reduce and privatize social welfare programs threaten to exacerbate existing gender disparities among older Americans. They also threaten to exacerbate inequality among women by race, class, and marital status. Madonna Harrington Meyer and Pamela Herd explain these disparities and assess how proposed policy reforms would affect inequality among the aged. Market Friendly or Family Friendly? documents the cumulative disadvantages that make it so difficult for women to achieve economic and health security when they retire. Wage discrimination and occupational segregation reduce women's lifetime earnings, depressing their savings and Social Security benefits. While more women are employed today than a generation ago, they continue to shoulder a greater share of the care burden for children, the disabled, and the elderly. Moreover, as marriage rates have declined, more working mothers are raising children single-handedly. Women face higher rates of health problems due to their lower earnings and the high demands associated with unpaid care work. There are also financial consequences to these family and work patterns. Harrington Meyer and Herd contrast the impact of market friendly programs that maximize individual choice, risk, and responsibility with family friendly programs aimed at redistributing risks and resources. They evaluate popular policies on the current agenda, considering the implications for inequality. But they also evaluate less discussed policy proposals. In particular, minimum benefits for Social Security, as well as credits for raising children, would improve economic security for all, regardless of marital status. National health insurance would also reduce inequality, as would reforms to Medicare, particularly increased coverage of long term care. Just as important are policies such as universal preschool and paid family leave aimed at reducing the disadvantages women face during their working years. The gender gaps that women experience during their work and family lives culminate in income and health disparities between men and women during retirement, but the problem has received scant attention. Market Friendly or Family Friendly? is a comprehensive introduction to this issue, and a significant contribution to the debate over the future of America's entitlement programs. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
A number of recent books, magazines, and television programs have emerged that promise to take viewers inside the exciting world of professional chefs. While media suggest that the occupation is undergoing a transformation, one thing remains clear: being a chef is a decidedly male-dominated job. Over the past six years, the prestigious James Beard Foundation has presented 84 awards for excellence as a chef, but only 19 were given to women. Likewise, Food and Wine magazine has recognized the talent of 110 chefs on its annual “Best New Chef” list since 2000, and to date, only 16 women have been included. How is it that women—the gender most associated with cooking—have lagged behind men in this occupation?
Taking the Heat examines how the world of professional chefs is gendered, what conditions have led to this gender segregation, and how women chefs feel about their work in relation to men. Tracing the historical evolution of the profession and analyzing over two thousand examples of chef profiles and restaurant reviews, as well as in-depth interviews with thirty-three women chefs, Deborah A. Harris and Patti Giuffre reveal a great irony between the present realities of the culinary profession and the traditional, cultural associations of cooking and gender. Since occupations filled with women are often culturally and economically devalued, male members exclude women to enhance the job’s legitimacy. For women chefs, these professional obstacles and other challenges, such as how to balance work and family, ultimately push some of the women out of the career.
Although female chefs may be outsiders in many professional kitchens, the participants in Taking the Heat recount advantages that women chefs offer their workplaces and strengths that Harris and Giuffre argue can help offer women chefs—and women in other male-dominated occupations—opportunities for greater representation within their fields.