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CONTACT: Stephanie Coontz
"YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY." OR HAVE YOU?
In Time for International Women's Day on March 8, Researchers at the Council on Contemporary Families Debate: "Is the Gender Revolution Over?"
MIAMI, March 6, 2012--In 1973 - less than 40 years ago -- the Supreme Court ruled that sex-segregated employment ads were illegal. The next two decades saw massive, rapid action in eradicating old laws and prejudices. But now three researchers argue that progress toward gender equality has slowed or even stalled since the early 1990s. In an online symposium organized by the Council on Contemporary Families in time for International Women's Day, David A. Cotter, Joan M. Hermsen and Reeve Vanneman present their discussion paper "Is the Gender Revolution Over?" and CCF fellows from around the United States offer responses that can be found here.
So, what do Cotter, Hermsen and Vanneman see as the status of women and the gender revolution? Key findings include:
Cotter and his colleagues conclude that "the gender revolution has not been reversed," but "it is stalled on several fronts - and there is still a long way to go." Other scholars provide different points of view on the subject. An index to responses can be found here.
COHEN, GALINSKY, JONES: LOOK AT THE LABOR MARKET
University of Maryland demographer Philip Cohen elaborates on the minimal progress women have made in management, in "What if Women Were in Charge?" and points to the long-run implications for working women. Work and Family Institute President Ellen Galinsky argues that men's support for more egalitarian family practices has not stalled, in "Gender Evolution Among Employed Men." She suggests, however, that the transformation of family life may yet stall if we do not abandon our work-centric definitions of masculinity and develop more family-friendly workplaces.
Labor market researcher Janelle Jones of the Center for Economic and Policy Research notes in "Divergent Revolutions for Blacks, Latinos, and Whites" that there is a smaller gender wage gap among African Americans and Latinos than among whites. But she notes that this is partly because men have been losing ground in the workforce.
MORE RESPONSES: GAINS IN SOME AREAS, STALLS IN OTHERS
In "No Stall in the Sexual Revolution," Indiana University sociologist Brian Powell link draws on his research on American attitudes about family diversity to document the remarkable expansion of support for gay and lesbian couples and families during the past decade.
But that leaves two other scholars--Paula England from New York University and Barbara Risman from University of Illinois-Chicago-presenting different viewpoints on what has and has not changed. In "In Sex and Romance, Not So Much Gender Revolution," CCF senior fellow Paula England notes several trends in personal behavior that remain remarkably resistant to change. But CCF executive officer Barbara Risman is more impressed by the radical transformation in girls' self-confidence in "The Beat Goes On."
CCF and how CCF assists journalists: The Council on Contemporary Families is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of family researchers, mental health and social practitioners, and clinicians dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best practice findings about American families. It was founded in 1996 and is based at the University of Miami. For more information, or to receive future fact sheets and briefing papers from the Council, contact Stephanie Coontz, Co-Chair and Director of Research and Public Education of CCF and Professor of History and Family Studies at The Evergreen State College. firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-352-8117.
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