Custom «Hartmann and Kessler» Essay Paper Sample

Hartmann and Kessler

In their articles 'capitalism, patriarchy, job segregation by sex' by Heidi Hartman and 'where are the organized workers' by Alice Kessler, I believe that the two authors wanted me to think about the following key issues in the articles:

i. The non-representation of women in the workplace.

ii. The historical basis for male domination in the workplace.

iii. Patriarchal nature of the society and its influence on women representation.

iv. The influence of capitalism in the non representation of women in the workplace.

v. Sexual divisions of labor in the workplace.

vi. The factors that hinder women from becoming independent.

The non-representation of women in the workplace.

In her article, Alice Kessler (1975) laments not only the skewed figures of the proportion of women and men in the workplace but also about the few number of working class women who are trade union members.  Kessler observes that the last century has been characterized by a surge in increase of women in the workplace but the figures remain low of the number of women who are members of trade unions.  She opines the fact that, although women form a substantial portion of the workforce in the workplace, the number of women who are in professional trade unions is lower than the number of men.  Kessler attributes the low representation of women in the workplace and in the trade unions to the patriarchal nature of the society.  This nature of the society expects the place of women to be in rising up families rather than in the workplace.  The patriarchal nature of the society leads to a disregard for affairs of women in the workplace.

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Heidi Hartman (1975) also echoes these sentiments in her article by explaining that the patriarchal nature of the society was well established in many societies long time ago where the society established gender roles for men and women.  The assigning of roles based on gender by the society favors men more than women resulting in poor representation of women in the workplace.  While great strides in improving the representation of women in the workplace, I still believe that patriarchal nature of the society is a hindrance to fair representation of women in the workplace.

The historical basis of male domination in the workplace

Kessler (1975) observes in her article that societies for long have assigned the roles of women to be in rising of families and not in the workplace.  These gender roles lead to domination of men in the workplace, Heidi Hartman (1976) elaborates this concept by observing that all societies have practiced division of labor based on gender.  These gender assigned roles ultimately favors men in the workplace.  Hartman also explains that there is some material basis behind male domination in the workplace.  Many structures in the society make men to have control of women labor in the workplace and in the household.  For example, it is the norm in many societies is for women to perform all the housework while men just benefit from the services.

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Hartman also explains how lower wages for women in the workplace prevent women from attaining economic independence.  The society also views men as the economic providers of the whole family and that women benefit from the wages that men bring into the family.  These family wages serve the interests of male domination because they make women subject to control of the men.  In most societies, Men assume the role of providers of the all the family needs and this factor contributes to the dominative nature of men to women.

Sexual segregation of labor by gender

In her article, Heidi Hartman also addresses the theme of gender segregation of labor.  She opines that the interests of the males in the workplace play a crucial role in the maintenance of the culture of gender based segregation in the workplace.  She cites factors like the policy of family wage and legislation Hostile to women getting into the workplace.  Segregation based on sex is the major mechanism that makes men to exercise control over the female labor.  This occurs because it allows men to control the financial status of women denying women the chance of economic independence. 

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Job segregation is one factor cited for women for lack of independence of livelihood making the work of women to be confined to the household.  Lack of financial independence by women results in the domination of women by men in every sector of their lives in the workplace and in the home.  Men also assume the role of head of the families due to their enhanced economic status.  Historically this form of sex-based segregation of jobs by the society has always favored men because of the deeply entrenched nature of the patriarchal society that views the role of the women to be in not in the workplace but in the raising of families.  Kessler (1975) also observes that these gender based segregation in labor cause poor representation of women in the workplace.

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Factors that hinder the representation of women in the workplace

According to Kessler (1975), a patriarchal society and job segregation based on sex are the two factors responsible for the poor representation of women in the workplace.  These factors make the society insensitive to the needs of women in the workplace like addressing the poor rate of females enrolled in professional trade unions.

The patriarchal nature of the society has made the society to have structures that give men all the opportunity to control the labor and the finances of women.  For example, job segregation based on gender locks many women from the workplace denying women the chance of obtaining income to become economically independent.  Heidi Hartman (1975) observes that gender based segregation of work is the main factor that maintains the superiority of men over women. 

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For example, job segregation results in lower wages for women in the workplace these lower wages keep women dependent on men.  This weakens women's position in the workplace.  For the women who marry, the society expects them to perform domestic chores for their men weakening further the position of women in the workplace.  Men therefore, are the main benefactors of job segregation.  The fusion of capitalism and patriarchy reinforced the dominance of men over women in the workplace.

Heidi Hartman (1975) observes that although capitalism presented the chance of women venturing into the free labor market, the patriarchal nature of the society influenced capitalism to make the labor market segmented along gender lines.  This made the society to emphasize the role of men as the creators of the structures and the hierarchies in the production process in order to main their power over women.  The two articles display how the patriarchal nature of the society affects the advancement of women in many aspects.

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