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Gender Bias in the Workplace

I came across this interesting article in the New York Times: Before That Sex Change, Think About Your Next Paycheck.

You might expect that anybody who has had a sex change, or even just cross-dresses on occasion, would suffer a wage cut because of social stigmatization. Wrong, or at least partly wrong. Turns out it depends on the direction of the change: the study found that earnings for male-to-female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third after their gender transitions, but earnings for female-to-male transgender workers increased slightly.

As a cisgendered female who has always worked in traditionally male jobs, I find this interesting, but not surprising.

I was also amused (but not surprised) by the last two paragraphs:

Ben Barres, a female-to-male transgender neuroscientist at Stanford, found that his work was more highly valued after his gender transition. “Ben Barres gave a great seminar today,” a colleague of his reportedly said, “but then his work is much better than his sister’s.”

Dr. Barres, of course, doesn’t have a sister in academia.

7 Responses

  1. some things just don’t seem to change, do they? Society isn’t really all that modern, is it? We, as human beings, still have a long way to go to be a mature species.

  2. You’re right, Amber. I remember being passed over for promotion in favor of a less-qualified male coworker back in 1986, when I was working in the British automotive industry. My other colleagues adopted a “we know it sucks, but that’s the way it is” attitude as they consoled me.

    I’d like to think that things are different, over twenty years later, but it seems that change has come to a halt since the eighties. I wonder what it will take to get that ball rolling again.

  3. “I wonder what it will take to get that ball rolling again.”

    Here in the U.S., we need to stop electing Republicans and conservative Democrats, and start electing progressives who believe in equality and affirmative action.

  4. grrrrrrrrrrrrr

  5. The study showed that average earnings for male-to-female transgender workers fall by nearly 1/3.

    This is way more than the ‘gender pay’ gap between cis men and cis women when taking into account differences in occupation, experience and working hours, suggesting that something else is going on.

    The study did not take account of apperance and thus to me cannot make a bold conclusions about the cause of the fall in income.

    I feel that male-to-female trans people face more discrimination than cis-women and other transgenders.

    Lumping their plight to that of cis-women does them injustice.

  6. Jenna,
    it doesn’t matter whether or not the discrimination is from being seen as a M2F transsexual or as being seen as a woman. The discrimination, at it’s root, is exactly the same… that you’re NOT male.

  7. And how would an Intersex be perceived? We are neither female nor male, some are both. I feel this is wrong not to be paid what you deserve but who cares what I think. If a person can do the job pay them what they deserve. Male employers think they are the $hit but I have been on both sides of the fence and women usually do a better job.

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