12132000 Dr. Kathryn Keller
Montclair University  
Lecture 12/13/2000 Gender and Power

Power - the ability to influence others and to resist being influenced.

There are both legitimate and illegitimate power.  Legitimate power is authority, i.e. power that is recognized and accepted by the people who are being influenced.  It is power legitimated by the group.  The source of the legitimization may be inherited (traditional), charismatic, rational (legal, expertise)

There are 3 types of legitimate power or authority according to Max Weber:

Traditional Authority - authority that rests in tradition and which is passed from one person to another.  Example of traditional authority is the succession of authority from the King to his descendants.  

Charismatic Authority - authority which exists because of the person's personality and charisma.  Example of this might be cult leader like Jim Jones.

Legal Authority - the authority exists because of law.  This is the type of authority of which we are most familiar in our society.

Political institutions and the military, including the police deal with legitimated power.

Certain institutions in our society have as their primary function the use of power - political institution deal with the use of power, has head role (the President).  Other institutions deal with the enforcement of power - i.e. the military and the police.  They are institutions that use violence in order to enforce the political and social order.  The connection between the military and the political institution is illustrated in the role of the President who is also the "Commander in Chief."

There are also individuals and groups who use power to influence others - but this power is not legitimated by society, nor is it institutionalized.  They exert power through the use of violence.

In both cases - whether the power/violence is legitimate or illegitimate - the power is gendered.  Men hold both the legitimated positions of power in the political, legal and military (police) institutions.  Moreover, they are most likely the perpetrators of illegal power/violence.

We will also recognize that the boundaries of what is legitimated and what is not has permeable boundaries.  For example, in some states it is not illegal to force one's wife to have sex.
Just as our views of gender, race, and other phenomena are socially constructed, so too are our understandings of violence shaped and sustained by our culture.  For example, most  societies disapprove of killing in general, but approve of killing during war.  


Gender and Politics
When we speak about politics, we are essentially speaking about power - the power to distribute scarce resources, to institutionalize particular values, and to legitimately use force or violence.

Currently more women are running for and being elected to public office, and more are obtaining political appointments than ever before.  Nevertheless the percentage of women in general decision making and in the military remains small.

To the extent that men and women have different degrees of political power, they will have unequal input into political decision making, and consequently, their interests and experiences may be unequally represented in law and public policy.

The Gender Gap: Political Attitudes and Activities.


Gender Gap
Voting - Between 1920 and 1960, men's rate of voting exceeded women's rate by a considerable margin, although there was a gradual increase in women's voting rates over the four decades.  During the 1960s, there was sharp increase in women's voting rates and, by 1978, the margin of difference between women's and men's voting rates was just about 2 percent.  Lake and Berglio have attributed this to the rise in women's level of educational attainment during this period as well as the rapid increase in the number of women working outside the home.

In the 1980 President election, two significant changes occurred: more women than men cast ballots, and women voted significantly differently than men.  47% of women voted for Reagan compared to 55% percent of men.
54% of women voted for Clinton - while only 43% of men

Gender gap: differences in voting patterns and political attitudes of women and men.

The gender gap involves more than voting behavior; there are particular perspectives on political issues that underlie individuals' votes.  Research consistently shows that women more than men express concern about health care, childcare, education, poverty, and homelessness.  In contrast, men more than women express concern about the federal deficit, taxes, energy, defense and foreign policy.  Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, women have expressed greater pessimism about the economic condition of the country and have showed greater favor toward increased government activity in the form of programs to help families, even if such programs require increased taxes.  

A strong and consistent gender gap also emerges with respect to issues of war and peace.  
This difference in the political opinions of women and men can be traced as far back as WWI.  Women more than men considered the entry of the US into both world wars to be mistakes and also voiced grater opposition to the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Women prefer domestic social spending over military spending.  Women more than men express concern about crime and drugs.  Women are also more likely than men to favor gun control laws.

Despite sex differences in these areas, on other topics, men's and women's political opinions are more likely to converge. For example, women and men share similar views on protecting the environment, reproductive freedom and abortion.

Other factors besides gender are race and ethnicity, social class, age, education and employment status.

Contrary to the popular myth that men are more interested and active in politics, there are actually few differences between the sexes in their level of political activism. However, since so few women hold higher political offices, we need to evaluate the explanations given for this extreme difference.

Explanations of why this is include: socialization.  This argument suggests that boys are told they can grow up to be president some day; the best girls can do is hope to grow up to marry the man who will be president. Therefore, they are not socialized to the possibility. However, current research found no gender differences in the political views of school-age children.

Another theory - no role models for women

Another explanation - women have greater difficulty meeting the demands of public life given their domestic responsibilities.   It is not surprising therefore that women typically enter politics at a later age than men do and the at female political candidates are more likely than men to be single, widowed or divorced.

Another explanation - women lack the credentials - this doesn't seem to be a viable argument.

Another explanation - women may be relatively scarce in public office because of prejudice and discrimination against them that may occur on two levels: among the electorate and within political offices.

Recent research demonstrates that female and male candidates are covered differently by the media.  For one thing, female candidates receive less media coverage than do male candidates.  Media coverage of male candidates focuses more on campaigning issues, whereas media coverage of female candidates tends to focus on the viability of their campaign.

Prejudice and discrimination against female candidates can be found at  a second level as well: within the political practices.

Other issues: Incumbents - usually do better than challengers (fewer women incumbents).

Resources, Networks and Connections


Military - Women make up about 13.7% of active-duty personnel. More racially diverse than in prior decades.  

In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, a series of events took place that greatly expanded both the number and the roles of female military personnel. First, in 1967, Congress passed Public law 90-30 which removed the limit on the number of enlisted women and the number of promotions for women officers.  In 1973 the military draft was replaced by the all-volunteer force, causing worried military planners to turn to the recruitment of women as a means to keep enlistment up.  Several court cases overturned the military's policy of awarding dependent benefits to female personnel using different standards from those applied to male personnel.  In 1978 the federal court struck down the Navy's policy of barring women from sea duty.  ROTC began to accept women.  The Air Force opened flight schools to women.  In 1975 the Defense Department lifted its ban on parenting for female personnel and made discharge for pregnancy available on a voluntary basis.  

During the Carter administration, there appeared a strong commitment to recruit women for the military which was pared down under the Reagan era.  

From the 1970s to 1994 the US military utilized what was called the risk rule to determine the military jobs from which women would be barred.  For the most part, these were ground combat and combat support jobs that entail substantial risk of being killed in action or captured as a prisoner of war.  In 1993 then Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, on behalf of the Clinton administration issued a directive ordering the armed services to permit women to fly aircraft in combat.  In 1994 the Air Force and the Navy announced they had female pilot who were combat  ready.  Also in 1994 the Army and Marine Corp opened some combat jobs to women but continued to exclude them from direct combat, such as armor, infantry, and filed artillery on the grounds that they lacked the physical strength needed for these jobs and their presence would disrupt morale.  However, despite several other exceptions - for example, women are prohibited from serving in units where the cost of renovations to accommodate them would be prohibitively expensive and in support jobs that operate and remain with direct ground combat troops - it is estimated that about 95% of military posts are open to women.  The exclusion of women from combat roles has historically had important consequences for female military personnel, since such positions command substantially higher salaries on average than support positions do.  They are all critical for promotion to the highest military ranks, in fact, it has been argued that combat exclusion has been women's greatest impediment in achieving promotions.  

Many recent analysts have argued that the difference between many combat roles and combat support roles is more a matter of semantics than a reflection of the actual danger attached to the positions.  For example, women were permitted to fly combat aircraft, they regularly piloted the tanker aircraft that refuel fighters.  They participated in the US invasion of Panama and were commanded by a female Army captain.  In 1990 and 1991 women accounted for more than 10% of the military troops deployed in the Persian Gulf crisis.  Nevertheless, while the probability of women using this training increases with every military conflict that the US enters, the official exclusion of women from direct ground combat remains in place.

A number of arguments have been made over the years to justify the exclusion of women from military combat and now from certain aspects of military combat.  . These include : women lack the necessary physical strength to perform adequately, ;their capacity for pregnancy and childbearing makes them inappropriate combatants. Women's participation in combatants would reduce unit cohesion by disrupting male bonding and promoting fraternization.

Widespread sexism often in the form of sexual harassment but also non-sexual harassment.  


Laura Miller - "Not Just Weapons of the Weak: Gender Harassment as a Form of Protest for Army Men"

This article examines how men in structurally dominant positions use resistance tactics against women in structurally subordinate positions in the military.  It draws on social psychological theory to explain why men perceive themselves to be disadvantaged in relation to women in the military and examines their resistance tactics, or "weapons of the weak," that men use to retaliate against women in the military.

In the case of gender relations in the Army, perceptions matter because some Army men believe that women, not men, are the privileged and powerful group in the military.  These men then act as "an oppressed group" on the basis of those perceptions.  Most of these men object to women's increased participation in the military, but fear negative organization consequences for expressing their objections openly.  Therefore they resort to interactional, indirect forms of protest.  I call Army men's resistance strategies "gender harassment."  This behavior includes sabotage, foot-dragging, feigning, ignorance, constant scrutiny, gossip and rumors and indirect threats harassment targets women but is not sexual; often it cannot be traced to its source.

James Scott - Domination and the Arts of Resistance - demonstrates that people's fear of negative sanctions often drives them to resist in ways that cannot be traced to the initiator, or are lost in the anonymity of crowds.  The greater the power exerted from above, the more full masked the resistance from below.

These men described themselves as unjustly constrained or controlled by military women.  Furthermore, these men tend to believe that women's power is usually gained illegitimately and that women take advantage of their gender to promote their own careers.

Gender harassment refers to harassment that is not sexual, and is used to enforce traditional gender roles, or in response to the violation of those roles.  This form of harassment also may aim to undermined women's attempt at gaining power or to describe that power as illegitimately obtained or exercised.  Many Army women report that gender harassment on the job is more prevalent than sexual harassment.

Gender harassment also can be used against men who violate gender norms.  Because behavior that conflicts with one's gender role is stereotypically associated with homosexuality, both heterosexuality and traditional gender roles are enforced through gender harassment.

Women report that gender harassment can be just as disruptive in their lives as sexual harassment: it can interfere with their ability to do their work, with their private lives, and with their opportunities to receive recognition and promotions.  Gender harassment is often difficult to attribute to individuals, may not be recognized by command as a problem, and is often invisible in debates about harassment of women in the military.

Some forms of gender harassment -

Resistance to Authority - they do not outright refuse to obey orders; yet they challenge women's authority by not complying completely.  They feign ignorance about what is expected of them, or encase in foot-dragging

Women sometimes hesitate to report uncooperative behavior because it could be interpreted as lack of leadership skills or as inability to get along with other officers. Such an appraisal in turn could affect work evaluations and promotion opportunities.

Constant Scrutiny - .  Hostile men use constant scrutiny to catch individual women making mistakes and the use the mistakes to criticize the abilities of women in general.  The same is not true for men.  
Scrutiny as a harassment strategy is particularly safe in the military because it fits into the functioning of the organization.  Once cannot be punished for seeking out and correcting errors, and it would be quite difficult to prove that women are being watched more closely than men.

Gossip and Rumors-  Research on power and social interactions found that "rumors are especially likely to flourish among people who see that their fates are in other people's hands."  Army women are often the subject of untrue gossip about their sex lives.  
Stories of sexual harassment or sexual activity between men and women soldiers were often framed in terms of the natural consequences of women "being there":

Rumors and gossip about sexuality thus communicated the inappropriateness of women serving among men, or implied that women's power was often gained illegitimately through sexual favors.

Sabotage - I found evidence of sabotage, as a form of gender harassment, only in work fields that are nontraditional for women.  Sabotage of equipment and tools was reported by women in mechanical fields, but I never heard of sabotage in the form of disappearing files, erased computer data, jammed typewriters, hidden medical supplies, or misplace cooking utensils.

The threats are usually communicated in a tone of concern for women's safety, for morale, or for combat effectiveness.  This concern, whether genuine or not, gives the teller some sense of safety from reprimand for his statements.

Indirect Threats - Some soldiers report that some of their fellow men would rape women who dared to enter infantry or armor units.  The men almost always wrote or spoke in terms of what other men would do.

Which men are most likely to object to women's current or expanded participation in the military?  -Minority men did not vary by rank, were least likely to support the currently policy, and were most likely to prefer to allow women to volunteer for the combat arms they so desired.  Men of color, regardless of rank, may be more likely than White men to identify with women, who are fellow members of a minority; or they may be less likely to feel threatened by equal opportunity issues.

Hostile Proponents - Most of the men who favor opening combat roles to women on the same terms as men do so only because hey are confident that women will fail in those roles.
MAXWAC and REFWAC studies in the 1970's showed that women performed well and without negative impact on unit performance.  

Men's Perceptions of Women's Privileges:

Easier Physical Training Standards - Both men and women reported that women's physical training requirements are not only different from men's, but easier for most women to meet than men's are for most men.  Although this training is supposed to maintain physical fitness, most soldiers interpret it as a measure of strength.

Pregnancy as an Advantage -
Some men find it unfair that women have an honorable option out of the service, deployments, or single barracks that men do not have: pregnancy.

Better Educational Opportunities: Many men feel that restrictions on women's roles are unfair not because they limit women, but because they appear to give women opportunities to receive more schooling than men, thus improving their improving their chances for promotion.

Exemption from Combat Arms as a Way to Faster Promotion, Better Assignments, and "Cushy" Jobs

Paternalism Allowing Women to Get Away with More.
Several men commented that favoritism, not limited opportunity, is holding Army women back.   Both men and women may try to bend the rules, but when women succeed because of their gender, male coworkers may hold it against them.  

Quotas, Sex, and other Paths to the Top
As noted earlier, some men believe that women can "sleep their way" to the top, and that quotas allow women to receive undeserved promotions and assignments because of their minority status.  Some men also believe that women can and do challenge poor performance reviews by claiming discrimination, and that they can use false harassment claims to punish or remove men they do not like.  

Which men are most likely to object to women's current or expanded participation in the military?
Miller found that the Army men who are most likely to resist expanded or even current roles of women in the military are White officers.


The Criminal Justice System
Although the number of women in the police and criminal justice system has increased, the numbers remain small.  The 1972 amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allowed women equal opportunity to law enforcement.  Many police departments removed discriminatory hiring and deployment practices.

Although women have constituted an increasing number of police recruits since the 1970s, they continue to be marginalized in training at many police academies.  Instructor frequently use sexist humor to "liven up: the classes.  They also commonly refer to female recruits as "girls" and "gals" while the male recruits are "men" and "guys."  
Female victims are portrayed as helpless, but also unpredictable - they may turn on an officer.  

Not surprisingly these attitudes and behavior carry over into police departments.   Researchers have also identified other serious problem that continue to disadvantage women and people of color in law enforcement.  The belief in male superiority, for instance, is still strong within police departments.  There are also double standards of behavior for women and men and different criteria for evolution.  When a female officer makes a mistake, for example, the consequences may be exaggerated.  Department member also continue to make references to women's physical size and strength and to question the impact of these physical qualities on the effectiveness of female officers.  Martin reports, however, that the physical appearance and conditioning of male officers receive considerably less attention from coworkers and supervisors.  .  Although martin notes that most male officers no longer engage in blanket stereotyping or rejection of women in police work, they continue to view women's routine competence as exceptional.  Moreover, female officers face a double bind: if they conform to the men's conceptions of "good" women, they will be viewed as too weak to do a competent job, but if they behave like the men, they will be labeled "bitches" and "dykes."

This point raises one final way that male officers attempt to assert their superiority: by sexualizing the workplace.  Sexual teasing, jokes, and innuendo are routine in police departments, and female officers typically join in this behavior.  Sexual harassment, however, remains a serious problem, and it occurs not only in local and state departments but also in federal agencies.

Gender Model vs. Situational Model
Empirical research suggests that the role officers play is more important than their gender or race in determining how they perform their work.

Alisa Politz Worden found that women and men officers had similar attitudes on a range of subjects concerning policing.
Despite the prevalent stereotypes about female police officers, there is little evidence that they differ from their male colleagues in their attitudes toward police work and toward citizens.  Experience measured in years spent of the force appears to be more important than an officer's sex in affecting her or his attitudes.  Female officers do report lower levels of self-confidence than male officers, but this is hardly surprising, as we noted previously, a hostile environment contributes to lower self-confidence More surprising, however, especially given the work environment we have described here, is the research finding that female police officers express greater job satisfaction than do male officers.  Perhaps this is why lessened self-confidence does not appear to interfere with female officer's ability to perform their duties effectively.

Price and her colleagues found that female officers seem to have a less aggressive style of policing than do their male counterparts, but the styles used by an officer, female or male is influenced by many factors, including the sex, race, or ethnicity, and demeanor of suspects.  

Research indicates that female correctional officers have experiences similar to those of women in police work.  Women:
Approximately - 10% in Local Police Departments
Correctional officers - 30%
(adult state systems)
Juvenile State Systems (37%)
Federal Prisons (27%)

Women make up about 13% of correctional officers at men's prisons; nevertheless the increased presence of women in corrections has not led to their full integration in the workplace.  Interestingly, female correctional officers appear to confront more resistance and harassment from male administrators and coworkers than from inmates.  Training and work assignments favor male correctional officers and performance evaluations, which are supposedly based on objective criteria, disadvantage women for promotion.  Researchers have found that performance evaluations tend to focus on skills traditionally considered masculine (security functions), while ignoring skills traditionally considered feminine (communication and conflict diffusion skills).

Similar to police officers, female and male correctional officers show few differences in their attitudes toward their work and toward inmates.  Female correctional personnel appear to value rule sand structure more than their male coworkers do, and they experience more job-related stress, both of these findings are likely related to the pressure, criticism, and harassment they receive from their male colleagues.  Nevertheless, they do not express lower job satisfaction or less career commitment than male correctional officers do.
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