WE WERE THERE: The Story of Working Women in America by Barbara M. Wertheimer Pantheon, 1977. $15.00/4.95 PINK COLLAR WORKERS by Louise K. Howe Putnam. 1976. $8.95 MEN AND WOMEN OF THE CORPORATION by Rosabeth M. Kanter Basic Books, 1977. $12.00 THE MANAGERIAL WOMAN by Margaret Hennig and Anne Jardim Doubleday, 1977. $7.95 By Nikki R. Van Hightower Houston The passage of laws in the 1960s meant to insure equal employment opportunity for women created a great wave of optimism that the American job market would open up. A decade later, the optimism has soured and the marketplace is as restrictive as ever. Most women workers now realize legal change is at best only partially effective in achieving equality between the sexes in the world of employment. Four new and insightful books reflect this thinking: We Were There by Barbara Mayer Wertheimer, Pink Collar Workers by Louise Kapp Howe, Men and Women of the Corporation by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and The Managerial Woman by Margaret Hennig and Anne Jardim. The books examine the present status of women in the work force, analyze the lack of progress toward open employment, and suggest steps to counter the obstacles to change. The authors concur that occupational segregation by sex allows gender stereotypes to continue while permitting employers to circumvent the federal law requiring equal pay for equal work. Wertheimer cites profit motive and the industrial revolution as important influences on women’s occupational patterns. The factory system, which flourished in large measure upon the low-wage labor of women and children, spawned a new division of work that progressively barred women from many occupations and anchored women’s work into the lower-paying and lessprestigious tasks that still exist. Labor unions have done little to upgrade the woman worker. Although increasing numbers of women hold local union offices, few have achieved top leadership and policy-making positions, even in organizations where more than three-fourths of the members are female. Women also have been discouraged by male-dominated unions from entering better-organized blue-collar fields. Interestingly enough, even our response to suffering is conditioned by the gender of the sufferers. Males, as usual, get the most attention. We have heard a great deal about the plight of the predominantly male blue-collar worker, but little about the unorganized, under-paid, under-valued women whom Howe calls “pink-collar workers.” Howe writes that the pinkest of them include nurses, elementary school teachers, secretaries, waitresses, private household workers and, of course, homemakers. Few pink-collar occupations are organized, and the absence of promotional opportunities encourages pink-collar workers to be part-time and temporary, moving in and out of the work force as family responsibilities change. These fluctuations provide employers with skilled labor that is readily available and cheap. The pink-collar employee is evaluated on her social value, and not the social value of her work. Because women have lower social value than men, Howe argues, they are paid less. In the federal government’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles, considered the world’s most comprehensive source of job information, foster mother received one of the lowest possible ratings, slightly below horsepusher \(someone who feeds, waters and otherwise tends horses durincluded the following: child-care attendant: rated the same as parking-lot attendant; nursery-school teacher: rated far lower than marine mammal handler; practical nurse: rated slightly lower than offal man, poultry \(one who shovels homemaker \(cross references: maid, rated slightly lower than dog pound attendant. Howe’s message is clear: the economic system of this country effectively capitalizes on the conflicts of women in the dual roles of homemaker/mother and employed worker. Kanter takes a critical look at the way occupational segregation molds behavior, especially in a structured office environment. Corporate management, for example, is conducted in a highly politicized environment which breeds fear and insecurity while demanding loyalty and conformity. Secretaries are caught in the crunch, gaining rank and status from the rank and status of their respective bosses, not from the quality of their own perform ances. Several conditions are characteristic of the secretary’s role: low mobility: little opportunity exists for secretaries to move into the managerial ranks and thus compete with their bosses; arbitrary authority of bosses: loose description of the secretary’s job defines her as something of an “office wife”; rewards given primarily for loyalty and devotion: relationships with bosses become increasingly personal and less business-oriented. Kanter asserts that these occupational personality characteristics. Because certain roles are filled predominantly by males or females, the consequent personality characteristics are mistakenly thought to be indigenous to gender rather than to the job. If, for example, women were able to achieve full integration, and not token integration, into the managerial role, we could then expect to see them develop what are commonly thought of as “male” behavior characteristics. Examples of such “male” characteristics, really “managerial” characteristics, are strength, assertiveness and outward self-confidence. Hennig and Jardim examine tokenism and the exclusion of women through informal systems established by male managers, tracing these informal systems to the different socialization processes experienced by males and females. Hennig and Jardim contend that our society develops essentially separate cultures for the sexes during childhood, making later occupational integration difficult and uncomfortable. They dis 4101111.31iNEOPIROS 18 OCTOBER 7, 1977
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