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Legalizing Gender Inequality

Legalizing Gender Inequality
Courts, Markets and Unequal Pay for Women in America


Part of Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences

  • Date Published: August 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521627504

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About the Authors
  • Legalizing Gender Inequality challenges existing theories of gender inequality within economic, sociological, and legal organizations. The book argues that male-female earnings differentials cannot be explained adequately by market forces, principles of efficiency, or society-wide sexism. Rather it suggests that employing organizations tend to disadvantage holders of predominantly female jobs by denying them power in organizational politics and by reproducing male cultural advantages. These findings contradict major legal precedents which have argued that labor markets and not employers are the source of inequality. The authors further argue that comparable worth is an inappropriate remedy, as such an approach misdiagnoses the causes of gender inequality and often falls prey to the same organizational processes that initially generated this differential. The book argues that the courts have, by uncritically accepting the market explanation for male-female wage disparity, tended to legitimate and to legalize a crucial dimension of gender inequality in American society.

    • Creative use of litigation data
    • Synthesis of legal and empirical analysis
    • Alternative view of the courts as sources of ideology
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521627504
    • length: 412 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 35 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures and tables
    1. Law, markets, and the institutional construction of gender inequality in pay
    Part I. Theory and Method:
    2. Legal theories of sex-based pay discrimination
    3. Toward an organizational theory of gender inequality in pay
    4. Methodological approach: law cases, case studies, and critical empiricism
    Part II. The Case Studies. Section A. Public Sector Organizations:
    5. Paternalism and politics in a university pay system: Christensen v. State of Iowa
    6. Bureaucratic politics and gender inequality in a state pay system: AFSCME v. State of Washington
    Section B. Private Sector Organizations:
    7. Corporate politics, rationalization, and managerial discretion: EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.
    8. The financial institution as a male, profit-making club: Glass v. Coastal Bank
    Part III. Conclusion: Legalizing Gender Inequality:
    9. Rethinking the relationship between law, markets, and gender inequality in organizations
    Appendix: court documents and case materials used in case studies

  • Authors

    Robert L. Nelson, American Bar Foundation Chicago and Northwestern University, Illinois

    William P. Bridges, University of Illinois, Chicago

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