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Louise Ripley

Gender Issues in Management

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walking cartoon TV

Susan Faludi's BackLash leads us through a history of how we've seen women on television
Faludi, Susan (1991) The Undeclared War Against American Women. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.) 

The Honeymooners

Ralph and Alice
"Pow! Right in the kisser!"

Ralph and Alice Kramden
Leave it to Beaver

A proper mother stayed at home

Leave it to Beaver family
I Love Lucy

A 1950's working woman? Lucy in a licorice factory, stuffing the leftovers into her mouth so the big male boss won't know she's hopeless at the job

Lucy and Desi Arnez
Private Secretary
Ann Southern as Private Secretary

Our Miss Brooks
Miss Brooks with Principal
waving hand Exercise
Certain Jobs
Why was it considered alright for a woman to work in certain jobs, such as Secretary or Elementary School Teacher, but not in others (such as upper management)?
Medical shows

A woman on these shows was mostly one who was dying because she did something terrible like working outside the home, having an affair, or refusing to follow her doctor's orders

Dr. Kildare

All in the Family

Edith Bunker argued with Archie for women's liberation

Jean Stapleton as Edith

openly a feminist and the first to raise the issue of abortion on a television show

Maude and male friend

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Richards was a respectable professional woman but she still called her boss Mr. Grant when everyone else in the office called him Lou

Mary Tyler Moore tossing hat in air

Murphy Brown

In an era of Superwoman, the television brought us only one really tough capable woman, one who had it all, including a baby out of wedlock because she wanted motherhood but not the restrictions of marriage



Cast of Murphy Brown show

The few shows that dealt with working women showed them as 

interior designers on

Designing Women


Women from Designing Women

elderly widows on

Golden Girls

women from Golden Girls

Unless you count

the prostitute on
The Young and the Restless

who abandoned her child to pursue her "career" and ended up dying of AIDS



mand and woman from Young and Restless

1990's - Backlash
Saw shows like Obsessive Love (Fatal Attraction's homicidal single career woman brought to the small screen), Baby Boom, Working Girl, Parenthood, Look Who's Talking -- all about child-hating mothers or obsessed career women or both
TV In The New Millennium
What is TV like today? I may be one of the few professors you'll know who says, "Go watch more TV!" This is true for marketing with its ads and it's true here where we examine how popular culture shapes the attitudes that affect our work lives.
In place of an additional reading for this unit, you are to watch some television. Watch some popular current situation comedies on television and answer the question below
waving hand Exercise
TV Role Models
Who are the role models for girls today on television in shows about women who work outside the home? How do a girl's role models growing up affect her in a quest for a management level job?
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.


Jean Kilbourne In on-campus courses, we watch Jean Kilbourne's film "Killing Us Softly 3." The film is available through the York 
Sound and Moving Images Library
  and at other libraries or through most inter-library loan programmes, and I urge Internet students who have not seen it to try to do so. 

Or you can Watch a 7-minute Preview by typing "Still Killing Us Softly III' and "Jill Kilbourne" into Google

There's nothing wrong with looking good, but there's something dreadfully wrong when you measure yourself against an impossible ideal. Kilbourne is a Harvard professor who has written and spoken for years on the issue of how advertising perpetuates violence against women. 

waving hand Exercise
Killing Us Softly
What did you learn that you didn't know or realize before?
What shocked, surprised, upset you?
What cheered you up or encouraged you?
How does this kind of treatment of women affect women seeking promotion to management jobs?

Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Advertising can still be terrible in its use of images of women. Take for example this ad for washroom tiles that I used in a paper I gave at a conference in Amsterdam a few years ago, which was recently accepted for publication in a Philosophy journal, Argumentation:

woman wearing bustier made of washroom tiles The print in white in the middle of the page says, "Check out our overflowing selection of alluring styles."


waving hand Exercise
Artistic Tiles
What is wrong with ads like this from the point of view of women working in management or aspiring to managerial positions in companies? (Hint: Think about what images of women in the media do to attitudes toward women).
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.


Sheryl Sandberg's Book Lean In

waving hand Exercise
Sandberg Feminism
How does Sheryl Sandbert's book Lean In help you further understand the topic of this unit?
Post your answer in the Moodle  Discussion Group.


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Return To Course Syllabus

AP/ADMS/WMST3120 3.0 Gender Issues in Management
York University, Toronto
M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.