Institute of Sociology

Our publications at the Chair of Sociology of Work

The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender: Paternal Influences on Children's Gender Attitudes (scientific article)

Objective This study provides the first systematic longitudinal analysis of the influence of paternal involvement in family life—across childhood and adolescence—on the gender-role attitudes of children by the age of 14 or 15.
Background Recent research suggests that, in post-industrial societies, paternal involvement in family life is increasing. Although previous studies of paternal involvement have considered paternal influences on children's cognitive or socio-emotional development, such studies have not yet addressed paternal influences on children's attitudes toward gender. Relatedly, previous studies on the intergenerational transmission of gender attitudes have analyzed maternal influences, but have neglected the significance of paternal influences. This study engages both strands of the research by analyzing the effects of paternal behaviors on children's attitudes toward gender roles.
Method Multivariate linear regressions models were estimated on data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC); a survey with biannual observations over 10 years for 2796 children born between 1999 and 2000.
Results Fathers' time spent on childcare during childhood was associated with gender-egalitarian attitudes in children by the age of 14 or 15. The most powerful predictor of children's gender-role attitudes, however, was the amount of time fathers spent on housework during children's adolescence, both absolute and relative to the amount of time mothers spent on housework. Fathers' unpaid labor at home was as relevant for children's gender-role attitudes as mothers' paid labor in the workforce. These results held after controlling for maternal domestic behaviors and for the gender-role attitudes of both parents.
Conclusion Father involvement in childcare and housework during childhood and adolescence play an important role in shaping children's gender-egalitarian attitudes.
Cano, Tomás and Heather Hofmeister. 2023. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender: Paternal Influences on Children's Gender Attitudes." Journal of Marriage and Family n/a(1):193-214. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12863

The Gender Order in Action: Consistent Evidence from Two Distinct Workplace Settings (scientific article)

In this article, we elaborate an integrative framework of the gender order that considers gender as something simultaneously structurally outside of individual action and as constantly done through interaction. Combining a structural perspective with micro-interactionist accounts makes it possible to show how these mechanisms manifest themselves and how individuals engage with and concretely 'do gender' in situ. We focus on three mechanisms through which the gender order emphasizes difference and creates inequality: androcentrism, agentic masculinity, and female devaluation. We illustrate our elaboration of the gender order with empirical evidence from two dramatically different male-dominated employment settings, meat-processing and higher education, in Switzerland and Germany, respectively.

Zinn, Isabelle and Heather Hofmeister. 2022. "The Gender Order in Action: Consistent Evidence from Two Distinct Workplace Settings." Journal of Gender Studies (8):941-55. doi: 10.1080/09589236.2022.2115019.

The Life Course: An Interdisciplinary Framework for Broadening the Scope of Research on Crowdwork (scientific article)

This paper reports outcomes of a systematic scoping review of methodological approaches and analytical lenses used in empirical research on crowdwork. Over the past decade a growing corpus of publications spanning Social Sciences and Computer Science/HCI have empirically examined the nature of work practices and tasks within crowdwork; surfaced key individual and environmental factors underpinning workers' decisions to engage in this form of work; developed and implemented tools to improve and extend various aspects of crowdwork, such as the design and allocation of tasks and incentives or workflows within the platforms; and contributed new techniques and know-how on data collection within crowdwork, for example, how to conduct large-scale surveys and experiments in behavioural psychology, economics or education drawing on crowdworker samples. Our initial reading of the crowdwork literature suggested that research had relied on a limited set of relatively narrow methodological approaches, mostly online experiments, surveys and interviews. Importantly, crowdwork research has tended to examine workers' experiences as snapshots in time rather than studying these longitudinally or contextualising them historically, environmentally and developmentally. This piece-meal approach has given the research community initial descriptions and interpretations of crowdwork practices and provided an important starting point in a nascent field of study. However, the depth of research in the various areas, and the missing pieces, have yet to be systematically scoped out. Therefore, this paper systematically reviews the analytical-methodological approaches used in crowdwork research identifying gaps in these approaches. We argue that to take crowdwork research to the next level it is essential to examine crowdwork practices within the context of both individual and historical-environmental factors impacting it. To this end, methodological approaches that bridge sociological, psychological, individual, collective, online, offline, and temporal processes and practices of crowdwork are needed. The paper proposes the Life Course perspective as an interdisciplinary framework that can help address these gaps and advance research on crowdwork. The paper concludes by proposing a set of Life Course-inspired research questions to guide future studies of crowdwork.
Margaryan, Anoush and Heather Hofmeister. 2021. "The Life Course: An Interdisciplinary Framework for Broadening the Scope of Research on Crowdwork." Human Computation 8(1):43-75. doi: https://doi.org/10.15346/hc.v8i1.124.

Work through a Gender Lens: More Work and More Sources of Meaningfulness (Book chapter)

This chapter argues that the definition of work, and its meaningfulness potential, broaden when using a gender perspective. The historical legacy of gender differentiation in work results in blindness to activities that are “work” and to gender inequality within kinds of work. An inclusive definition of “work” would be activities or thoughts that affirm life and growth, imagine or create the future, or abate or delay death and decay. At least nineteen types of work are identified: formal paid work; informal paid work; crowdwork; unpaid on-call or overtime work; networking; volunteering; political advocacy; informal helping; caregiving; emotion work; kinkeeping work; housework; consumer work; archival work; hired work on the self; aesthetic work; self-branding; self-care; and slavery. A gender-sensitive definition of meaningful work would be activities that are consciously experienced as aligned with deeply held values, taking into consideration that values and gender norms that can influence values are socially constructed.
Hofmeister, Heather. 2019. "Work through a Gender Lens: More Work and More Sources of Meaningfulness." Pp. 302-26 in The Oxford Handbook of Meaningful Work, edited by R. Yeoman, C. Bailey, A. Madden and M. Thompson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

'Und Mails Ganz Spät Abends!' Führungsfrauen Berichten, Wie Ihre Männlichen Kollegen Mit Zeit Und Technik Umgehen: Ausdruck Der Hegemonialen Männlichkeit? (Book chapter)

There are complex interrelationships between the new information and communication technologies and the increasingly demanded balance between gainful employment and private life. New digital forms of communication, made possible in particular by Web 2.0, are leading to an increasing flexibilization of work. On the one hand, this means work intensification, time pressure and increased mobility; on the other hand, however, it also offers potential for freer time management and thus the opportunity for a more successful work-life balance. The book is dedicated to this "future of work" and explores the question of whether and how more flexible gender arrangements can emerge and what influence this can have on the professional and career paths of women.
Hofmeister, Heather. 2015. "'Und Mails Ganz Spät Abends!' Führungsfrauen Berichten, Wie Ihre Männlichen Kollegen Mit Zeit Und Technik Umgehen: Ausdruck Der Hegemonialen Männlichkeit?" in Geschlechterarrangements in Bewegung, edited by U. Wischermann and A. Kirschenbauer. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.

Gender and Work Using Figuration Theory: A Narrative Exercise to Unpack Gender Inequalities and Conceptions of “Work" (Book chapter)

The author uses Figuration Theory’s components of long-term change over multiple generations and the concept of interdependencies to illustrate how the concept of work came to be associated only with paid work and how women’s activities became marginalized from not only the paid labor market but also from the concept of work itself. She uses a narrative method with a fictitious family from 1750 to 2020 and focuses on the maternal line within a specific historical and geographic context to highlight interdependencies and context. Industrialization processes and especially men’s political lobbying to protect their status and earnings by excluding women from paid work led to the gendered dichotomous “separate spheres” of visible (male) paid employment and invisible unpaid feminized unpaid domestic labor. This gendered role division is anything but “traditional”. It is an historically recent social development.
Hofmeister, Heather. 2019. "Gender and Work Using Figuration Theory: A Narrative Exercise to Unpack Gender Inequalities and Conceptions of “Work"." Pp. 81-104 in Transformationen Der Arbeitsgesellschaft: Prozess- Und Figurationstheoretische Beiträge, edited by S. Ernst and G. Becke. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-22712-8_4

Gender and Science: A Trial of Suspects Guilty for Causing Women's Underrepresentation in Science Careers (Book chapter)

Written as if a courtroom drama, the evidence is presented of reasons why women are underrepresented in science. It begins: JUDGE: Our trial today is to evaluate the case of the overproportion of men in science careers. Are women absent from science because of their individual (micro-level) characteristics, such as a lack of interest or skill, or due to issues on the meso or macro level? To allow maximum evidence to the courtroom, we define science broadly, including all academic fields, with a focus on natural science, mathematics, engineering, and technology where women are especially likely to exit or never join. I now invite opening statements from the prosecution and defense.

Hofmeister, Heather. 2016. "Gender and Science: A Trial of Suspects Guilty for Causing Women's Underrepresentation in Science Careers." Pp. 626–700 in Wissen – Organisation – Forschungspraxis. Der Makro-Meso-Mikro-Link in Der Wissenschaft, edited by N. Baur, C. Besio, M. Norkus and G. Petschik. Weinheim: Beltz-Juventa.

Book: Globalization, Uncertainty and Women's Careers: An International Comparison (Book)

Bookcover_Globalization, Uncertainty and Womens Careers
Globalization, Uncertainty and Women's Careers assesses the effects of globalization on the life courses of women in thirteen countries across Europe and America in the second half of the 20th century.
The book represents the first-ever longitudinal analysis of micro-level data from these OECD countries focusing exclusively on women's relationship to the labor market in a globalizing world. The contributors thoroughly examine women's employment entries, exits and job mobility and present evidence of women's increased labor market attachment and reduced employment quality in most of the countries studied. They also systematically consider the life course changes influenced by larger transformations in society and, in doing so, explicitly link the phenomena of globalization to individual women's lives in Europe and North America.
Highlighting the consequences of specific national policies on women's lives, women's labor market participation, and demographic phenomena such as low fertility, this book will prove invaluable to academics, students, researchers, practitioners and policymakers seeking to understand the effects of international social change on national contexts and individual lives.
Blossfeld, Hans-Peter and Heather Hofmeister. 2006. Globalization, Uncertainty and Women's Careers: An International Comparison. Chesterham, UK and Northampton MA, USA: Edward Elgar.