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Gendered Organizations/Institutions

Lauren Rauscher


Understanding organizational practices and processes is central to explaining gender inequality. While women remain clustered in secondary labor markets marked by lower wages, uncertainty, short career ladders, and few if any benefits, most men find employment in primary labor markets characterized by greater economic rewards. Occupational and job segregation continue to be an enduring feature within most firms. Additionally, gender differences in income, power, authority, autonomy, and status translate into men, particularly white men, enjoying systematic advantages over women. Despite changing social and economic conditions and legislation prohibiting sex discrimination, these inequalities persist and subsequently inform an impressive body of labor market and workplace analyses. The study of “gendered organizations” as a distinct area of scholarly inquiry has developed over the last 15 years in an effort to explain such inequality. The concept, coined by Joan Acker, means that “advantage and disadvantage, exploitation and control, action and emotion, meaning and identity, are patterned through and in terms of a distinction between male and female, masculine and feminine” ( Acker 1990 : 146). Although relatively new, this field has roots in second wave and radical feminist scholarship dating back at least to the 1960s. Scholars began merging gender studies with organizational literature ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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