Traces the origins of the gender wage gap to part-time teenage work, which sets up a dynamic that persists into adulthood
The Cost of Being a Girl
Working Teens and the Origins of the Gender Wage Gap
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The gender wage gap is one of the most persistent problems of labor markets and women's lives.
"This innovative investigation of girls' part-time work exposes the many ways youth jobs lay a foundation for the adult gender wage gap-which starts, amazingly, at ages 14 or 15. Besen-Cassino's mixed method approach to babysitting and retail employment creatively demonstrate that 'doing gender' and on-the-job stereotyping occur even when (or because) teens think their part time work is not a 'real job.' She unearths critical consequences of this belief, including that girls are discouraged from negotiating higher wages, tied to under-paid jobs due to interpersonal connections, and tracked into jobs that create race/class/gender hierarchies. The Cost of Being a Girl powerfully challenges existing ways of thinking about employment, job structures, and wages."
"The gender earnings gap starts early, by age 14 or 15, before marriage, childbearing, and higher education experiences intervene. In this important study, Yasemin Besen-Cassino brings together quantitative and qualitative data, including in-depth interviews with a diverse group of young women. She shows how the combination of informal work, emotional demands, and gendered expectations shape the early experience of young women, with lasting consequences for gender inequality. These powerful results should help set the agenda for research on gender and the policies to address inequality."
"The gender pay gap continues to be one of the most pressing and perplexing problems. Besen-Cassino takes the arguments about the causes and consequences of wage inequity seriously and, weaving together multifaceted data, powerfully shows how these inequalities start early in girls' working lives and continue to shape their opportunities and outcomes for decades to come."
Yasemin Besen-Cassino is Associate Professor of Sociology at Montclair State University. She is the author of Consuming Work: Youth Labor in America (Temple); co-author (with Dan Cassino) of Consuming Politics: Jon Stewart, Branding, and the Youth Vote in America, and co-editor (with Michael Kimmel) of The Jessie Bernard Reader.