Series editor(s): Lisa A. Keister
Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy
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|Author(s):||Christine L. Williams, Kirsten Dellinger|
|Volume:||20 Editor(s): Christine L. Williams, Kirsten Dellinger ISBN: 978-1-84855-370-5 eISBN: 978-1-84855-371-2|
|Citation:||Christine L. Williams, Kirsten Dellinger (2010), Introduction, in Christine L. Williams, Kirsten Dellinger (ed.) Gender and Sexuality in the Workplace (Research in the Sociology of Work, Volume 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.1-14|
|DOI:||10.1108/S0277-2833(2010)0000020003 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Article type:||Chapter Item|
The chapters in this volume are the fruit of a feminist revolution in sociology that transformed conventional ways of thinking about work in the 1990s. Prior to the feminist revolution, the most important sociological theories that accounted for gender inequality in the workplace were human capital theories and socialization theories, both of which blamed women workers for their lower status and pay in the workplace (Schilt, 2010; Williams, 1995). Human capital theories argue that men and women receive different pay-offs from employment because they invest differently in their careers (Padavic & Reskin, 2002; Blau, Ferber, & Winkler, 1998; Polachek, 1981). Men seek higher education, skills training, and overtime at work because they are family breadwinners whose major responsibility is to support their wives and dependent children. Meanwhile, women invest less in the human capital valued by workplaces because their primary commitment is to their families. This theory assumes the heterosexual nuclear family, which is no longer the typical family form (Coontz, 1997). This rational choice perspective also fails to explain recent trends in women's educational attainment and labor force participation rates, now estimated to be equal to if not greater than men's (England, 2010).
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