Gender-based social hierarchies remain vivid, as a new book shows

Gender-based social hierarchies remain vivid, as a new book shows

With contributions from junior researchers based in French-speaking Switzerland and NCCR LIVES members from the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva, Gender and Social Hierarchies offers a fresh picture of applied research from within social psychology on the intricate relationship between gender and social status.

This book comprises a collection of innovative approaches which seek to understand the pervasiveness of status asymmetry between gender categories, and, in particular, the vulnerabilities experienced by women in their everyday life and career.

It is co-edited by Oriane Sarrasin, a post-doc researcher at the Swiss National Centre for Competence in Research LIVES, together with colleagues from the University of Geneva and the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland.

Drawing upon recent theoretical advances in gender, social and organizational psychology, the book provides tools for developing practical and political recommendations to address and resolve status inequality today.

Each chapter examines a different aspect of the impact that gender-based social hierarchies have on people’s lives.

Part One explores the consequences of gender stereotypes in school, higher education, and in professional settings. It includes a paper on “Sexism and the gendering of professional aspirations by Lavinia Gianettoni and Edith Guilley.

The struggles faced by women in the workplace are discussed in Part Two, featuring topics such as work-life balance, the ‘glass cliff’, and the lack of support for affirmative action. In this part Sarah D. Stauffer, Christian Maggiori, Claire Johnston, Shékina Rochat, and Jérôme Rossier present “Work-life balance vulnerabilities and resources for women in Switzerland: results from a national study”, which draws upon LIVES IP207 research.

Part Three is devoted to the antecedents and consequences of gender-based forms of prejudice, such as discrimination against gay men, and against women within cultural minorities. A must read is the paper by Oriane Sarrasin, Nicole Fasel, and Eva G.T. Green on “Gender differences in the acceptance of the Muslim headscarf”.

The book concludes with some practical suggestions for working towards lasting and beneficial change. 

>> Klea Faniko, Fabio Lorenzi-Cioldi, Oriane Sarrasin, Eric Mayor (eds.) (2016). Gender and Social Hierarchies. Perspectives from social psychology. London & New-York : Routledge. 194p.