Facets of Gender : Analyses of the Family and the Labour Market

Abstract: This thesis contains four different studies on the dynamics of gender in households and workplaces. The relationship between family life and work life is in focus, particularly in the paper on labour market outcomes after divorce.In the introductory chapter, the Swedish context is briefly described. The description focuses on gender differences in the labour market and in the home. Theories concerning the division of work in the household are discussed, as are two theories on labour market discrimination, viz. taste discrimination and statistical discrimination. The theory part is concluded with a discussion of social closure processes and gendered organizational structures.The Reproduction of Gender. Housework and Attitudes Towards Gender Equality in the Home Among Swedish Boys and Girls. The housework boys and girls age 10 to 18 do, and their attitudes towards gender equality in the home are studied. One aim is to see whether the work children do is gendered and if so, whether they follow their parents’, often gendered, pattern in housework. A second aim is to see whether parents’ division of work is related to the children’s attitude towards gender equality in the home. The data used are taken from the Swedish Child Level of Living Survey (Child-LNU) 2000. Results indicate that girls and boys in two-parent families are more prone to engage in gender-atypical work the more their parent of the same sex engages in this kind of work. The fact that girls still do more housework than boys indicates that housework is gendered work also among children. No relation between parents’ division of work and the child’s attitude towards gender equality in the home was found. Dependence within Families and the Household Division of Labor – A Comparison between Sweden and the United States. This paper assesses the relative explanatory value of the resource-bargaining perspective and the doing-gender approach in analysing the division of housework in the United States and Sweden from the mid-1970s to 2000. Data from the Swedish Level of Living Survey (LNU) and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) were used. Overall results indicate that housework is truly gendered work in both countries during the entire period. Even so, the results also indicate that gender deviance neutralization is more pronounced in the United States than in Sweden. Unlike Swedish women, American women seem to increase their time spent in housework when their husbands are to some extent economically dependent on them, as if to neutralize the presumed gender deviance.Divorce and Labour Market Outcomes. Do Women Suffer or Gain? In this paper, the interconnected nature of work and family is studied by looking at labour market outcomes after divorce. The data used are retrospective work and family histories collected in LNU 1991. A hazard regression model with competing risks reveals that women’s chances of improving their occupational prestige appear to be better after divorce compared to before. Increased working hours and perhaps also increased energy invested in the job may pay off in better occupational opportunities. Worth noting, however, is that the outcome among women with a less firm labour market attachment is more often to a job of lower prestige than one of higher prestige. Hence, the labour market outcome for women after divorce is to some extent conditioned by their labour market attachment at the time of divorce. Men, on the other hand, in most cases seem to suffer occupationally from divorce. For separated men the risk of negative changes in occupational prestige is greater than for cohabiting men.Formal On-the-job Training. A Gender-Typed Experience and Wage- Related Advantage? Formal on-the-job training (FOJT) can have a positive impact on wages and on promotion opportunities. According to theory and earlier research, a two-step model of gender inequality in FOJT is predicted: First, women are less likely than men to take part in FOJT and, second, once women do get the more remunerative training, they are not rewarded for their new skills to the same extent as men are. Pooled cross-sectional data from the Swedish Survey of Living Conditions (ULF) in the mid-nineties were used. Results show that women are significantly less likely than men to take part in FOJT. Among those who do receive training, women are more likely to take part in industry-specific training, whereas men are more likely to participate in general training and training that increases promotion opportunities. The two latter forms of training significantly raise a man’s annual earnings but not a woman’s. Hence, the theoretical model is supported and it is argued that this gender inequality is partly due to employers’ discriminatory practices.