The Sex and Gender Section sponsors a number of awards for outstanding scholarship. We are pleased to announce the following distinguished contributions to the field. Information about nominating scholars and scholarship for awards for the current year and a listing of past award winners is available here:
Congratulations to the 2019 Section Award Winners!
Sociology of Sex and Gender Distinguished Article Award
“The Mark of a Woman’s Record: Gender and Academic Performance in Hiring”
American Sociological Review, 2018
Women earn better grades than men across levels of education—but to what end? This article assesses whether men and women receive equal returns to academic performance in hiring. I conducted an audit study by submitting 2,106 job applications that experimentally manipulated applicants’ GPA, gender, and college major. Although GPA matters little for men, women benefit from moderate achievement but not high achievement. As a result, high-achieving men are called back significantly more often than high-achieving women—at a rate of nearly 2-to-1. I further find that high-achieving women are most readily penalized when they major in math: high-achieving men math majors are called back three times as often as their women counterparts. A survey experiment conducted with 261 hiring decision-makers suggests that these patterns are due to employers’ gendered standards for applicants. Employers value competence and commitment among men applicants, but instead privilege women applicants who are perceived as likeable. This standard helps moderate-achieving women, who are often described as sociable and outgoing, but hurts high-achieving women, whose personalities are viewed with more skepticism. These findings suggest that achievement invokes gendered stereotypes that penalize women for having good grades, creating unequal returns to academic performance at labor market entry.
Sociology of Sex and Gender Distinguished Book Award
Undocumented Politics: Place, Gender, and the Pathways of Mexican Migration, University of California Press, 2018
In 2018, more than eleven million undocumented immigrants lived in the United States. Not since slavery had so many U.S. residents held so few political rights. Many strove tirelessly to belong. Others turned to their homelands for hope. What explains their clashing strategies of inclusion? And how does gender play into these fights?
Undocumented Politics offers a gripping inquiry into migrant communities’ struggles for rights and resources across the U.S.-Mexico divide. For twenty-one months, Abigail Andrews lived with two groups of migrants and their families in the mountains of Mexico and in the barrios of Southern California. Her nuanced comparison reveals how local laws and power dynamics shape migrants’ agency. Andrews also exposes how arbitrary policing abets gendered violence. Yet she insists that the process does not begin or end in the United States. Rather, migrants interpret their destinations in light of the hometowns they leave behind. Their counterparts in Mexico must also come to grips with migrant globalization. And on both sides of the border, men and women transform patriarchy through their battles to belong. Ambitious and intimate, Undocumented Politics reveals how the excluded find space for political voice.
Surviving State Terror: Women’s Testimonies of Repression and Resistance in Argentina
New York University Press, 2018
In the 1970s and early 80s, military and security forces in Argentina hunted down, tortured, imprisoned, and in many cases, murdered political activists, student organizers, labor unionists, leftist guerrillas, and other people branded “subversives.” This period was characterized by massive human rights violations, including forced disappearances committed in the name of national security. State terror left a deep scar on contemporary Argentina, but for many survivors and even the nation itself, talking about this dark period in recent history has been difficult, and at times taboo.
For women who endured countless forms of physical, sexual, and emotional violence in clandestine detention centers, the impetus to keep quiet about certain aspects of captivity has been particularly strong. In Surviving State Terror, Barbara Sutton draws upon a wealth of oral testimonies to place women’s bodies and voices at the center of the analysis of state terror. The book showcases poignant stories of women’s survival and resistance, disinterring accounts that have yet to be fully heard, grappled with, and understood. With a focus on the body as a key theme, Sutton explores various instances of violence toward women, such as sexual abuse and torture at the hands of state officials. Yet she also uses these narratives to explore why some types of social suffering and certain women’s voices are heard more than others, and how this can be rectified in our own practices of understanding and witnessing trauma. In doing so, Sutton urges us to pay heed to women survivors’ political voices, activist experiences, and visions for social change.
Recounting not only women’s traumatic experiences, but also emphasizing their historical and political agency, Surviving State Terror is a profound reflection on state violence, social suffering, and human resilience—both personal and collective.
Sociology of Sex and Gender Feminist Scholar Activist Award
Valerie Jenness, University of California, Irvine
Sociology of Sex and Gender Sally Hacker Graduate Student Paper Award
“Activist, Entrepreneur, or Caretaker?: Negotiating Varieties of Women in Development”
Gender & Society, 2019
Most studies examining gender and development programs in international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) consider how these organizations construct global policy agendas, or how such policies are implemented in local contexts. However, INGOs originate in specific countries. Drawing on the varieties of capitalism literature, this article analyzes the impact of “national gender imaginaries” on gender and development programs implemented by INGOs in Cambodia. Based on 43 in-depth interviews, I argue that INGOs from Scandinavia, the United States, and South Korea, informed by different gender imaginaries, pursue different ways of promoting women in development. Local Cambodian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), aware of this variation in national models among INGOs, employ distinct strategies to appeal to donors while adapting the models to the Cambodian context.
“Categorical Exclusions: How Racialized Gender Regulation Reproduces Reentry Hardship”
Social Problems, 2018
Since gender organizes key reentry services such as housing, formerly incarcerated people seeking resources must successfully inhabit a gender category. Drawing on seven months of ethnography and 79 interviews with service providers and formerly incarcerated transgender people, I show that these organizational practices of gender categorization are racialized and impact resource access. Most gender-segregated housing programs rely on biology-based definitions of gender. These gender rules create workable options for trans men to stay with women, but bar trans women from women’s spaces. Once in gendered housing programs, clients need to navigate gender assessment in interactions. Trans men employed several strategies to establish gendered selves who were easily categorized as either male or female, which allowed them to access stable housing. Gender sanctioning posed a major problem for black trans women. Black trans women were highly scrutinized in women’s programs, characterized as illegitimate based on biological definitions of gender, and harassed for any perceived deviation from gender norms. When harassment escalated into conflict, they were expelled from programs. Regulation of black trans women’s womanhood led to systematic material deprivation. By understanding the connections between categorical exclusions and exclusion from resources we can better understand the reproduction of reentry hardship and inequality more broadly.
Section on Sex and Gender
American Sociological Association