Chapter 5 defines postindustrial societies as ones in which technology supports a service- and information based economy. In us societies. the division of labor in paid employment is increasingly based on whether people provide or apply information or are employed in service jobs such as fast-food restaurant counter help or health care workers. For both women and men in the labor ore, formal education is increasingly c: ail for economic and social success. However, as TIL e women have moved into entrepreneurial, managerial, and professional occupations, many others have remained in the low-paying service sector, which fords few opportunities for upward advancement.
Will technology change the rendered division -n of labor in postindustrial societies? Scholars do not agree on the effects of computers, the Internet, the World Wide Web, cellular phones, and many newer forms of communications technology on the role f omen in society. for example, some feminist writers had a pessimistic view of the impact of computers and men tors on women’s health and safety, predicting that women in secretarial and administrative roles would experience an increasing in eyestrain, headaches, and problems such as carp” tunnel syndrome. However, some medical experts now believe that such problems extend o both men and women, as computers have become omnipresent in more people’s Ives. The term “2417” has come to mean that a person is available “twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week” via cell phones, pocket pagers, fax machines, e-mail, and other means of communication, whether the individual is at the office or four thousand miles away on “vacation:’
How do new technologies ill descender relations in the workplace? Although some analysts presumed that technological developments would reduce the boundaries between women’s and men’s work. researchers have found that the gender stereotyping associated with specific jobs has remained remarkably stable even when the nature of work and the skills required to reform it have been radically transformed. Today, men and women continue to be segregated into different occupations, and this segregation is particularly visible within individual workplaces (as discussed later in the chapter). How does the division of labor hang in families in postindustrial societies? For a variety of reasons,
more households are headed by women with no adult male present. As shown in the Census Profiles feature, the percentage of u.s. households headed by a single mother with children under eighteen has increased. Chapter 15 (“Families and Intimate rl.!:ion ships”) discusses a number of reasons why the current division of labor in household chores in some families is between a moan and her children rather than between women and men. Consider, for example, that almost one- fourth (23 percent) of all .S. children live with their mother only (as contrasted with just 5 percent who reside with their father only); among African American children, 48 percent live with their other only (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). is means that women in these he holds truly have a ruble burden, both from family responsibilities and from the necessity of holding gainful employment in the labor force.
Even in single-person or two-parent households, programming “labor-saving” devices (if they can be afforded) often means that a person must haw some leisure time to learn how to do the programming. According to analysts, leisure is deeply divided along gender lines, and women have less time to “play in the house” than do men and boys. Some websites seek to appeal to women ho have economic resources but are short on time, making it possible for them to shop, gather information, “mountebank,” and communicate with others at all hours of the day and night. In postindustrial societies such as the United States, more than 60 percent of adult women are in the labor force, meaning that finding time to care for children, help aging parents, and meet the demands of the workplace will continue to place a heavy burden on women, despite living in an information- and service-oriented
economy. ow people accept new technologies and the effect these technologies have on gender stratification are related to how people are socialized into gender roles. However, gender-based stratification remains rooted in the larger social structures of society, which have little ability t:) control.