"Employers have relied not just on being able to pay women less, but on specific gendered skills and qualities that they expected from female workers. Moreton, in her book To Serve God and Wal-Mart, detailed the way that the retail behemoth exploited the specific skills of Southern white Christian women going to work outside the home for the first time as much as their willingness to work for little pay because they’d never been paid before. The tradition of service that those women grew up with kept them working in low-wage jobs and made it hard for them to see the gender discrimination happening before their eyes—until, that is, a few of them sued. The conditions of women at the bottom of the economic ladder have had an impact on everyone, as the middle rungs have weakened or disappeared. Using the excuse of “care” to pay women less drove wages down, and now those jobs make up more and more of the economy, defining the lives of more and more workers. When the fastest growth fields are low-wage service jobs, that’s not a victory for women, although, Poo notes, it is an opportunity to reshape the way we value service work, to make it less precarious and to create real protections for the workers who do it. In other words, not just to pay lip service to “the end of men,” but to place real value on women’s work."
Trickle-Down Feminism | Dissent Magazine (via dendroica)