Rethinking Mindscapes and Symbols of Patriarchy in the Workforce to Explain Gendered Privileges and Rewards

  •  Ladislaus Semali    
  •  Elizabeth Shakespeare    


In this article the authors contend that gender inequalities in occupational divisions of labor are better understood in reference to the concept of symbolic patriarchy. The conceptual framework is informed by social constructionist theories that view gender not merely in light of sexual or biological differences but as interwoven, fluid, and contesting boundaries of authority. The goal here is to locate the labyrinths of power and unequal treatment of women, evidenced through the “gender pay gap” and derived from the social landscapes and mindscapes of inequality. The study concludes that workforce-based privileges and rewards for men seem to be sustained and reinforced by patriarchal socio-cultural systems of inequality and domination that maintain visible and invisible mechanisms of power, privilege and influence in symbolic, figurative, and metaphoric cultural forms, rendering them the norm.

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