Eliminate Sex Discrimination: Shine a Spotlight
on the Aggregate Data
Sex Discrimination in the Workplace. Edited by Faye J. Crosby, Margaret S. Stockdale,
and S. Ann Ropp, Malden, MA, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. 375 pp. $44.95 (paperback).
Janice M. Steil
Published online: 23 October 2007
Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007
“It has been four decades since passage of legislation
guaranteeing equal pay and equal employment opportunity
between women and men, and the nation is nowhere close to
achieving either. Despite significant progress, the workplace
remains highly gender-segregated and gender-stratified,
with women over represented at the bottom and underrep-
resented at the top in terms of status, power and income. The
annual pay gap between full-time female and male workers
is about 20 percent, and significant disparities persist even
among those with equivalent education, experience, and job
responsibilities” (p. 235). Why?
The editors of Sex Discrimination in the Workplace have
brought together a distinguished multidisciplinary group of
contributors to present a compelling picture of the extent to
which sex discrimination in the workplace continues to exist,
the forms it takes, the psychological, sociological, economic
and legal perspectives on the causes and the consequences,
and the changes that are needed to achieve its elimination.
This is an extraordinarily ambitious undertaking that suc-
ceeds exceptionally well.
Structurally, the book is organized into four parts. “Part
I: Understanding Sex Discrimination” seeks to outline the
basics that every employer and employee should know
about sex discrimination. In this regard, Jonathan Wetchler,
a lawyer, with extensive experience in employment litiga-
tion, makes a powerful point. Discrimination is synony-
mous with ignoring qualifications and merit and is therefore
inimical to advancing an employer’s business interests. For
that and other reasons, which he delineates, good preven-
tive measures make good business sense. In the second
piece from this section, Theresa Beiner and Maureen
O’Connor incorporate the perspectives of law and psychol-
ogy in outlining the options available to those who think
they may have been the victims of sex discrimination. The
authors discuss the pros and cons and implications of a
range of options moving from the informal and internal, to
mediation, arbitration and litigation.
“Part II: From the Trenches” presents eight individual
narratives that put a human face on the constructs. As with
section one, these stories represent different perspectives
including those of plaintiffs, attorneys and expert witnesses.
Included is Ann Hopkins’ own report of her much cited
litigation with Price Waterhouse and a particularly moving
account by Colleen Crangle of her 3-year suit against
Stanford. Crangel won at significant cost to her career.
Ironically, the process seemed to have little, if any, impact
on the careers of the male colleagues whose behaviors were
the basis of the suit. There is also the story of the U. S.
Department of Justice’s reluctant participation in litigation
to integrate the Fire Department in Buffalo, NY, as well as
two interesting narratives in which psychological research
on gender stereotyping and prejudice are used in court. I
could not help but think as I read through this section that
any of these case studies would be particularly rich material
for those who teach courses on gender or psychology and
“Part III: Disciplinary Perspectives” presents four major
disciplinary analyses of sex discrimination in employment.
All are excellent and, as with the rest of the chapters in the
book, each easily stands on its own. Peter Glick and Susan
Fiske review the psychological theories that paint “a
complex but coherent picture of how, when, why, and
toward whom sex discrimination is likely to occur, as well
Sex Roles (2008) 58:296–298
J. M. Steil (*)
Derner Institute, Adelphi University,
158 Cambridge Ave., Rm. 210,
Garden City, NY 11530, USA