Critical Thinking Exercise 3: Gender

Many textbooks note the rise of women’s employment across developed countries. Yet women have always worked. Critical thinking encourages us to question what is true, and what facts evidence an argument. On gender we may want to look at how gender shapes the nature of the work people do and the meaning it holds (Vallas, 2012). For example what counts as work? Why is the segregation between men’s jobs and women’s jobs so resilient? What social mechanisms explain why women remain under-represented at the top of organizations and in the most powerful and well rewarded occupations? Why does the gendered pay gap persist even when men and women are working at the same levels. Charles and Grusky (2004) explain that jobs that men hold are more ‘status worthy’ and competent in the exercise of authority than women. Have you witnessed this?

What evidence do you see of gender inequality in the organizations in which you live and work?


Charles, M. and Grusky, D.B. (2004) Occupational Ghettoes: the worldwide segregation of women: Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press.

Vallas, S.P. (2012) Work: a critique, Cambridge: Polity Press.