Feminisation of the workplace

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The feminisation of the workplace is the trend towards greater employment of women, and of men willing and able to operate with these more 'feminine' modes of interaction. It is a response to the pressure from feminism and cultural trends highlighting characteristics in workers which have culturally been associated with women.


Feminisation of the work industry is the pressure created from the cultural turn where the issues of fairness, opportunity and redistribution in society overcome economic inequalities and find more balance to combat income inequality, social exclusion and cultural imperialism.[1] The issues of sexual differences, gender roles and employment and services inequalities are questioned, abandoned and demolished.[2] Feminisation of the workplace links to the Marxist approach where everyone has the ability to sell their labour power to own the means of production. Women were able to work in ‘spatial reach’ jobs with flexible and family-friendly working hours because of their childcare responsibilities.[3]

The feminisation in the workplace desensitised the occupational segregation in the society.[2]

"Throughout the 1990s the cultural turn in geography, entwined with the post-structuralist concept of difference, led to the discarding of the notion of a coherent, bounded, autonomous and independent identity... that was capable of self-determination and progress, in favour of a socially constructed category defined by the constitutive outside. The earlier distinction between gender as socially created, resting upon the biological distinction of sex, was abandoned, creating room for research that highlighted how gendered subjectivities, far from being based on a stable content, were produced, performed, destabilised and redrawn in complex ways, drawing meaning from routine interactions with others in specific historical and geographical contexts"[2]

Women are tackling any forms of profession and feminising labour forces that were restricted and were dominated by men in before. From exporting personal labour, entering the labour market, challenging the field of science and engineering, and participating in sports environment, the power and role of women in the society have dramatically changed.

Feminisation of survival[edit]

In 1888, the government of Canada decided to invite skilled Chinese men to work in The Gold Rush and the Canadian Pacific Railway to reduce the cost of labour wages and to afford these projects. Chinese men were attracted in exporting themselves to a different country and earn higher wages.[4] Although these immigrants were earning a higher compensation in Canada compared to China, they experience exclusion and occupational inequality. Even though the issue of racial exclusion is currently desensitised, there are workers who encounter violence and abuse in their working environment and now, the majority of them are women.[5] Exporting labour to developed countries are still booming since it creates economic growth and diversity. The globalization of labour eases the government debts and unemployment rates to developing countries and women, especially in Southeast Asian countries are attracted to this money making opportunity.[6]

In a traditional patriarchal family, the father holds the authority of property, women and children. The father has the role of providing sufficient budget for the family by working and the mother stays at home to look after the children. Nowadays, it is perceived in the society that the dominant culture portrayal of work and family classifies women as either work oriented or family oriented.[7]

The mostly poor and low-wage women were often considered a burden rather than a resource, but now an increasing number of women are earning a profit and securing government revenues.[8] Several developing countries in Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, have seen the emergence of exporting labour to developed countries due to high foreign debt and unemployment.[6] Filipino women working overseas in the United States of America have sent home almost $8 billion a year in 2003 and most of these women tackle the fields of health care, domestic service and child care.[6] Filipina overseas workers have earned the title of "migrant heroism" for self-sacrificing themselves away from the family and to normalise migration remittance-sending to their motherland. Not only do these women hold a higher responsibility in their family and country, but they are faced with racialization, violence and abuse.[8]:503

Feminisation of the labour market[edit]

In the new era, women restricted the ‘spatial reach’ of their job searches due to childcare responsibilities.[3] The open employment for middle class women catalyzes the growing use of domestic workers for household cleaning and childcare. There has been a complexity in the modern economics with women's responsibility at home and at work.[9] Cultural theories maintain that lower wages in female-dominated occupations are the product of societal bias against the work typically carried out by women and that the sex-composition of occupations affects wages directly. In contrast, recent human capital theories maintain that the wage-penalties associated with working in female-dominated occupations result from different requirements in specialised training and that the effect is indirect.[10] Many feminist scholars insist that sexual difference is the primary reason for differences between both sexes in the labour market outcomes.[11]

Feminisation of science and technology[edit]

According to the American Association of University Women, young boys’ and girls’ capabilities and interests in science, mathematics and engineering are equally well; however, most girls begin to lose their interest in their high school years because of the gender gap science and engineering is perceived.[12]:94 As a result, women are underrepresented in science-related occupations due to the gendered interactions early in life.[13] Researches claim that the segregation of men and women into different occupations is the principal reason for earnings differences between men and women.[11] They argue that occupational segregation restricts people's choice of career.[11] Researchers also observed both gender's general behaviors that can represent preferred profession and they found the boys are encouraged (and assumed) to be outgoing, analytic, and aggressive, while girls are encouraged (and assumed) to be passive, dependent, and nurturing.[13]

In the last quarter century, increasing involvement of women and minorities has prevented a severe shortage of science and engineering workers; but if current rates of gender and ethnic participation in these bachelor's degree programs do not change, the number of qualified workers will soon be inadequate to meet the science, technology, and engineering needs of our society.[14]

Feminisation of sports[edit]

In the United States, women were seen as 'ill-equipped' to participate in sports, and their involvement was viewed as unfeminine and undesirable.[13]:155 The reasons why women experience less academic advantage from sports than do men focus on the clash between the expectations for women, athletes and the stigma for female athletes who are seen to be unfeminine.[12]

Today, women represent 41 percent of high school athletes and 37 percent of college athletes. Increasing numbers of women are participating in sport at the professional level as well. The women's movement, women's increased participation in all areas of social life.[12]:155


  1. ^ Jones III & Smith & Pain & Marston 2010, p.54-78
  2. ^ a b c Peake 2009
  3. ^ a b Pratt and Hanson 1995
  4. ^ Hui 2005
  5. ^ Barnett & Schmidt 2012
  6. ^ a b c Rodriguez 2005
  7. ^ Dillaway and Pare 2005
  8. ^ a b Sassen 2000
  9. ^ Watson 1988
  10. ^ Perales 2010 p.2
  11. ^ a b c Hakim 2006
  12. ^ a b c Hanson and Kraus 1998
  13. ^ a b c Hanson (2007)
  14. ^ Cabrera, Colbeck and Terezini (2001) p.173


  • Barnett, A and Schmidt, M. (2012) "Effects of Domestic Violence on the Workplace" p. 22
  • Bergmann, Barbara (1974). "Occupational Segregation, Wages and Profits When Employers Discriminate by Race or Sex" p. 103-110.
  • Cabrera, A. and Colbeck, C. and Terenzini, P. (2001) "Learning Professional Confidence: Linking Teaching Practices, Students' Self-Perceptions and Gender" p. 173-191.
  • Dillaway and Pare (2005) "Staying at Home" versus "Working": A Call for Broader Conceptualizations of Parenthood and Paid Work"
  • Jones III, Marston, Pain and Smith (2010) "The SAGE Handbook of Social Geographies" p. 54-78
  • Hakim, Catherine (2006) "Women, Careers and Work-Life Preferences."
  • Hanson, Sandra (2007) "Young Women, Sports and Science" p. 155-161.
  • Hanson, S. and Kraus, R. (1998) "Sociology of Education" p. 93-110.
  • Hui, Vivien (2005) "Contribution of Asian Migrant Workers in the 19th Century to Development of British Columbian Mining Industry" p. 48-56.
  • Peake, Linda (2009) "Gender, Race, Sexuality" p. 59
  • Perales, Francisco (2010) "Occupational Feminization, Specialized Human Capital and Wages: Evidence from the British Labour Market" p. 2
  • Rodriguez, Robyn (2005) "Domestic Insecurities: Female Migration from the Philippines, Development and National Subject-Status."
  • Sassen, Saskia (2000) "Women's Burden: Counter-Geographies of Globalization and the Feminization of Survival
  • Watson, Sophie (1988) "Accommodating Inequality"

See also[edit]