The Gender Revolution: Uneven and Stalled

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    We sometimes call the sweeping changes in the gender system since the 1960s a “revolution.” Women’s employment increased dramatically (Cotter, Hermsen, and England 2008); birth control became widely available (Bailey 2006); women caught up with and surpassed men in rates of college graduation (Cotter, Hermsen, and Vanneman 2004, 23); undergraduate college majors desegregated substantially (England and Li 2006); more women than ever got doctorates as well as professional degrees in law, medicine, and business (Cotter, Hermsen, and Vanneman 2004, 22-23; England et al. 2007); many kinds of gender discrimination in employment and education became illegal (Burstein 1989); women entered many previously male-dominated occupations (Cotter, Hermsen, and Vanneman 2004, 10-14); and more women were elected to political office (Cotter, Hermsen, and Vanneman 2004, 25). As sweeping as these changes have been, change in the gender system has been uneven-affecting some groups more than others and some arenas of life more than others, and change has recently stalled. My goal in this chapter is not to argue over whether we should view the proverbial cup as half empty or half full but, rather, to stretch toward an understanding of why some things change so much more than others. To show the uneven nature of gender change, I will review trends on a number of indicators. While the shape of most of the trends is not in dispute among scholars, the explanations I offer for the uneven and halting nature of change have the status of hypotheses rather than well-documented conclusions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationSocial Stratification
    Subtitle of host publicationClass, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429963193
    ISBN (Print)9780429494642
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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