Category Archives: Gender Equality

The Motherhood Penalty (My Substantive)


Attached is a link to a research study published in 2007 in the American Journal of Sociology. The study looks at some already established data about the inequities women face in the workplace and seeks to nail down a why.

Previous data has already established that women are statistically paid less than men for the same work. When looking more closely at women, it’s been established that even though single mothers statistically earn more than mothers who are married, a traditional family’s household income is still more than three times higher than a single mother’s. This leads to some questioning about how motherhood is viewed in the workforce and if those views can be identified as a cause of unfair disadvantage.

Often the existence of other variables makes pointing to an exact cause of an outcome very difficult. This research did several tests to isolate the variable of motherhood, to scientifically determine if motherhood was a determining factor in how a woman is treated in the job market. It pointed to all the “maybe”s. Maybe mothers are better or less well suited for particular jobs. Maybe mothers’ performance is different or less consistent because of their divided focus. Maybe mothers are a legitimate threat of absences due to needs in the home. Even if none of these arguments are considered legitimate, as long as variables exist as to why they are being paid less or getting less opportunities, we are unable to point to a direct cause of their unequal treatment and unequal treatment does not necessarily mean unfair treatment.

The first task in the study was to isolate motherhood as the one test variable and control for the other potential variables. This was done with an entirely separate laboratory experiment using undergraduate students. The students were asked to participate in some hiring research for a marketing firm that was seeking to hire new talent, but who wanted the opinion of young people, since young people represented the target audience. This was done so that the students would take the role seriously. The chose marketing as the job position in order to control for the factor of job suitability. If they had chosen a construction job, which is male dominated, then job suitability could have been a factor. Marketing management is a position that is almost equally represented by men and women. It controlled for racial discrimination, by replacing the applicants’ names with ones that were less characterizing of race and then switching back and forth between the two selected names evenly and at appropriate times to make sure that any one name didn’t play into any one outcome. It made the resumes equally qualified and even pre-tested to get a survey of the qualifications of the resumes and determined that they were all equally qualified. The test was careful to operationalize for motherhood as the hypothesized variable, but it was only intended to determine if motherhood could be factored as a legitimate cause of perception and treatment in the workforce. It did. The students, even after saying that each resume was equally qualified, still gave their recommendations to significantly fewer applicants identified as mothers. It was undeniable.

By first isolating motherhood as a determined factor in hiring, they then simply ran an audit of hiring at a few marketing firms, being careful to use the same field again. Applicants were introduced into their pool and the same variables were controlled for, operationalizing motherhood as the only definable variable. The audit of the marketing firms’ callbacks were consistent with the findings of the laboratory experiment and therefore able to be attributed to the same causality for the same outcomes in actual hiring.

To me this was a very important study that allows us to advance the conversation in a way that is scientifically meaningful and is a great example of how social problems are complex, but how social science can help us get past the complexities, on to causes, and then hopefully to some solutions. Now, how do we begin to solve for x?

Ivanka Trump trying to cover up president Trump’s misogyny..

I found this article particularly interesting that a woman of high standing to cover up and claim that her own father is a feminist. I found that a little laughable that should could state that even though it is of her father. For the man that claimed “grabbing pussies” was okay; that even though he is one to walk into female dressing rooms, she claims he is for female rights and equality. It is fine even great if Ivanka was actually a feminist and was using her clothing line to show it, but to say that if women avoid it that they aren’t true feminist. As a feminist myself, I fully support her to be an entrepreneur but not if it is to help cover up her father’s very visible misogyny, is disgusting.

“Inspiring Women”: Mattel’s Release of New Barbies

Mattel has announce the release of three new Barbies available for purchase as a part of their series “Inspiring Women.” These new dolls are created to look like Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, and Katherine Johnson. The anticipated release of these dolls is beneficial because it continues to recognize the accomplishments of women as well as takes more steps towards positive inclusion in popular culture. As we progress as a society, it is important to maintain diversity and support positive inclusion of minority groups within popular culture. What are your thoughts on these dolls? Do you believe that Mattel has taken the appropriate steps into becoming a more inclusive corporation? How can other corporations that contribute to popular culture also become more inclusive?


LINK to article for more information.

“Bro-Culture” at Google

A company perceived by many as “progressive” is now receiving backlash after neglecting to follow through on sexual harassment complaints made by their female software engineer.  Her complaints include having male coworkers spike her drink with alcohol, shoot her with nerf guns, send her sexually suggestive texts and one having slapped her in the face. This female employee, Loretta Lee, is most disturbed by her encounter with a male employee that she found hiding beneath her desk and whom she believes installed some sort of camera underneath the desk. Her suit accuses Google of continuously ignoring the pattern of sexual harassment and punishing the victim.


Google is facing an additional lawsuit from James Damore, after being fired for a controversial memo about gender: “advancing harmful gender stereotypes”. Damore’s firing created outrage amongst the right with claims that Google discriminates against white male conservatives. Tim Chevalier, Google’s site reliability engineer, in addition, is filing his own lawsuit after being fired for speaking out against the aforementioned memo.


Google’s biggest issue appears to be their inability to address and combat these issues. Loretta Lee’s biggest fears were realized when she finally filed a complaint after being continuously pressured by HR. She became ostracized by her peers and everyone in her group refused to approve her work which ultimately led to her termination.


Large companies such as these need to make a more intentional effort to combat such gender discrimination in the workplace. With the Google workforce already consisting of majority of men and an investigation into the disparity between men and women’s pay, they need to consider some serious changes to their infrastructure and their companies attitude. In order to set an example, a company with such recognition needs to be active in creating an equal workspace and continue to combat people who believe that a company with a technical workforce of 80% men and majority white and Asian (1% African American) are somehow discriminating against white male conservatives.

Women shouldering ‘cost and burden’ in China

As we all know, in recent decades China has established itself as a world economic power after it began its transition from a communist model to a capitalist system. These reforms have brought benefits for their population because it has allowed them access to opportunities and freedoms that were restricted in the previous system. However, there has been an important social cost for women who are the ones who have had to assume the burden of moving from a planned economy to a market economy.

In this article, the author Zhang Lijia analyzes how the participation of women in the labor market of the new China has deteriorated. While in the 70s 90% of women of working age were employed, in this decade only 45% of Chinese women have a job. In addition, currently the average salary of women corresponds to only 67% of that of men.

And why does this situation arise? Because with the opening of markets came many private companies which use unscrupulous practices towards female workers in China. So for example many companies refuse to hire women of child bearing age and sometimes if a woman gets pregnant, they fire her. Even in some cases, they force women to write that “in the next ten years I promise I will not have children”. In this way, China went from a state that defended gender equality to a system of open sexism.

I find this analysis interesting because generally when we talk about economic systems and the advantages of capitalism over communist systems we do not think about gender issues and the case of China is a clear example that despite having a successful economic growth this it has not translated into better social conditions for their women.

Donald Trump, a Gift That Keeps Giving?

New records are being set in 2018 in terms of women running for Congress. Although it is heavily skewed towards the Democrats, both parties are experiencing significant increases in women running. EMILY’s List, an organization that recruits based on the candidates pro-choice platform, reports that 30,000 women were interested in running for the upcoming election or future elections, a significant increase since 2016, when only 920 women reached out. Although not everyone has been able to officially file for office yet, so far, in total, there are 431 women nationwide running for the House. This includes 339 Democrats and 92 Republicans. In the last election, only 212 women in total ran. Similarly, there are 50 women that are running or likely running for the Senate, in comparison to only 25 in the 2016 election.


This article in particular looks towards the current male-dominated political atmosphere as the main cause for this surge in women candidates. President Trump in particular, is attributed as one of the largest driving factors because of many of his views towards a variety of issues including health care and immigration. Equally, the increase in female candidates is due to the domestic abuse scandals within the White House and the President’s sexual misconduct allegations by over a dozen women. It is both a blessing and a curse to have our current president as his continuous misconduct serves as fuel to the ever-growing fire. Although the surge in Republican women running also attributes the increase to similar reasons, according to this article, they feel that there is a blatant exclusion from the Democratic women. With the strong divide between parties still evident even between women fighting to establish gender equality, I hope that they will find a way to work together, if elected, at a time when collaboration seems impossible in our Congress.

Children Hurt Women’s Earnings, but Not Men’s

According to recent studies, the wage gap between women and men in developed countries is explained mostly by the motherhood. Both in Europe and in the United States, these studies have shown that the the gender pay gap is much smaller until the first child arrives, then women’s earnings fall and their career trajectories slow.In contrast, women who do not have children, continue growing their earnings at a similar rate to men.

The explanation for this behavior in wages is that mothers work fewer hours, take longer breaks from employment and are more likely to move into lower-paying, family-friendly jobs, because they are have to take care of the children and therefore they do not have access to the same jobs as men.

This article concludes than the public policy is not enough to overcome gender inequality, it’s necessary in addition, a change in culture and stereotypes and in this sense would be important that  fathers acted more the way mothers do after having children, by spending more time on parenting and the related responsibilities.


Religion, Gender Roles, and Inequality

Religion, Gender Roles, and Inequality

Substantive Blog Post #1 (Research for Final Paper)

Ambivalent Sexism, Scriptural Literalism, and Religiosity


For my final paper, I have decided to examine how religious interpretations influence female gender roles and inequality, with a focus on Christianity. As a female Christian, this is an issue that I am interested in due to my first hand observations in the church, and seek to understand more both about how these religious ideologies impact women, as well as ways that this can be changed. After doing my own personal soul seeking and religious study in the Bible, with the support of verses like “neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28),” I do not adhere to the more orthodox interpretation of the Bible in terms of gender. I consider myself to be what author, Sarah Bessey calls a “Jesus Feminist.”

Article Details:

The first article I have selected for my research is called Ambivalent Sexism, Scriptural Literalism, and Religiosity (Burn and Busso 2005). In this study, authors Shawn Meghan Burn and Julia Busso examine the role of scriptural literalism and religiosity in perpetuating sexism in a Christian sample of men and women. Research questions considered in this correlational study include the following: How does intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity in addition to scriptural literalism influence ambivalent sexism? What factors determine whether sexism will be hostile or benevolent? In this research, hostile sexism is defined as “an adversarial view of gender relations in which women are perceived as seeking to control men through sexuality or feminist ideology (Burn and Busso 2005: 413).” Benevolent sexism is defined as “a chivalrous ideology that views women as best suited for traditional roles and as pure creatures needing male protection and adoration (Burn and Busso 2005: 413).”

Burn and Busso (2005) based their research on feminist theory in conjunction with prior research showing that religion determines one’s view of gender and gender roles in society and thus results in gender inequality. As such, previous research has shown that traditional, fundamentalist views of religion more readily promote the unequal treatment of women, due to the patriarchal origins of these views. Many of these fundamentalist views have historically supported their claims with the idea the that their source is divine. Their focus on the intrinsic and extrinsic role of religion gained its origin in research by McFarland (1989), which determined that once fundamentalism had been controlled, extrinsic religion made sexism more likely, and intrinsic religion made sexism less likely in men. Women were not impacted (Burn and Busso 2005).

The results of this study leaves several important takeaways for policy and practice. Intrinsic, extrinsic, and scriptural literalism results in a prevalence of benevolent sexism. This encompasses ideas that men should serve as the protector, women are better suited for parental characteristics, and husbands should serve a specific role in the household out of duty. Results also showed that religiosity lended itself to different types of benevolent sexism. For instance, those who took a more extrinsic, literal approach to Christianity were more likely to support heterosexual literalism, meaning husbands serve a protective role. Extrinsic religiosity also reflected that there should be gender differentiation as a result of women being naturally inclined to certain roles. With these results in mind, the article explains that policy and practice should consider religion as a component when determining disparities in female power and status. This reality is a major factor in perpetuating global gender inequality (Burn and Busso 2005).


Burn, Shawn M., and Julia Busso, J. 2005. “Ambivalent Sexism, Scriptural Literalism, and Religiosity.” Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29: 412-418.

Company Receives Criticism for Hinting at Production of Woman-Friendly Snacks

Based on an article published by the BBC, PepsiCo has hinted at launching a new line of chips that would be more suitable for women to snack on. These chips would be able to “fit in a handbag” and reduce “how loudly the crisps crunch when eaten.” Later in the article, the company has stated “‘don’t lick their fingers’ and ‘don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavour into their mouth.'”

As a result, many people have taken to Twitter to mock the company for their idea. While certainly laughable, this company’s idea brings up a larger problem. There has been a trend among companies and their advertisements of women that define women and femininity in a way that is extremely patronizing. Women are portrayed as weak based on societal expectations we have been forced to adhere to. What are your thoughts on this?

The Feminine leadership in Davos

Last week the World Economic Forum was held in Davos, Switzerland. This Summit that every year calls many of the most important world’s business leaders, economists and  politicians to discuss a specific theme of global interest, has been seen as an elitist and predominantly masculine event due to the low participation of the women. However,  this year the things have started to change and for the first time in the 47-year history of this conference, seven women were selected to lead the discussions that took place in the Forum. The seven women were: FMI director Christine Lagarde; IBM CEO Ginni Rometty; Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway; Sharan Burrow, general-secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, the world’s largest trade union; Fabiola Gianotti, director-general, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN); Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE, and Chetna Sinha, founder of  the Mann Deshi Bank, which provides microfinance to women in India.

Likewise, although every year the analysis of gender inequality has been present in the agenda of the Forum, this year this topic had special relevance due in large part to this female leadership and to the impulse the movements like MeToo and Times Up.

I think it is a clear demonstration of the   power of the women and the historic moment that the society is living. Logically, changing the male domain is not something that is achieved from one moment to another but start having presence and voice in these scenarios where the most important economic decisions that impact millions of people in the world are discussed and taken is a good start . I also think that it is important that the media give a greater coverage to this type of news that show women’s leadership and empowerment which would also contribute to changing the social imaginary of women as a weaker sex.


-Monica Calderon

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