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Sociology - Essay Example

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In the article by Kantor (2013), the new book by chief operating officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, “Lean In”, is analysed for its place in feminist literature. The article as a whole discusses the problems that women face with inequality in the workplace, but does so in the context that Sandberg may be being overly critical of other women as she is offering her advice from a privileged position…
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Download file to see previous pages Sandberg’s book offers several tips to women in this position, suggesting that they learn about women’s inequality and make their husbands take up half the housework. The article then moves onto criticisms of the book, which mostly center around the fact that Sandberg is talking from a privileged position of double Harvard degrees, money in shares from both Google and Facebook, and a large house. Avivah Wittenberg-Cox feels that she is blaming other women for “not working hard enough” as a cause for gender inequality. The article goes on to cover a debate between Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter, who suggests that feminism is to blame for holding women to impossibly high standards. It is then suggested that “Lean In” might be part of yet another career branch for Sandberg. The topic of the article, “Lean In”, asks women to question institutionalized inequalities of gender. Although it is illegal for corporations to have direct rulings about the gender of the individuals that work there, the differential hiring/firing and promoting of these individuals may be based upon the objectives of the corporation. In this sense, many feel that women cannot have it all (children and a career), which Sandberg argues against, and therefore they may be discriminated against in the workplace. Massey (2008) suggests that one of the reasons that there exists this “glass ceiling” and wage discrepancies between men and women is because they are put into certain niches with respect to career types and fields. This is another type of institutionalized inequality. The article also suggests that women want both a career and children. This is assumed to be a struggle, despite the fact that Sandberg is raising two children of her own whilst working for Facebook. In this sense, it makes the assumption that women have a primary role of caregiver that needs to be incorporated into any successful career plan. Massey (2008) suggests that there is a growing difference between male and female wages as time spent in the career grows, which may in part be due to this supposition that having children requires a different work ethic from the woman. Despite the fact that this is not necessarily true of all women, the article suggests that Sandberg believes that some women intentionally decrease their working pace when they merely have the intention of having children. This assumption may be generalized to all women, increasing the inequality between genders in the workplace. Despite this, there is considerable evidence that this discrepancy between men and women in the workplace has changed: Kantor (2013) points out that 21 of the Fortune 500 chief executives are women. Whilst this figure is still described as stubbornly low, the number does appear to be rising alongside female education levels (Massey, 2008). One of the major reasons for this increasing over time is that the government and many companies have brought in measures to increase equality between the genders in the workplace. For example, some companies have quotas for female employees to encourage equality in numbers. Additionally, it is illegal to fire or hire someone because of their gender, including if a female becomes pregnant while working for the company (under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act). One other element that Kantor (2013) touches on in the article about ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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