2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Understanding Gender Dynamics in Restaurant Service Work


Rachel N. Nielsen
Dr. Victoria Mayer, Faculty Mentor

As table servers in restaurants, men and women experience varying levels of treatment from customers, other employees and management. 16 interviews were conducted to better understand how gender operates in restaurants amongst servers. Of 16 respondents, 9 identified as men, and 7 identified as women. Questions were open-ended and covered topics ranging from why respondents were drawn to the job of serving, to whether or not they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Analysis of these interviews identified that men and women experience varying levels of sexual harassment, dramatically different treatment from customers, coworkers, and management, and are held to different standards of appearance and job performance. Mistreatment and inequality between genders exists in the restaurant industry, which in part is attributed to the nature of the job, but also the way gender operates in all daily life interactions.

Keywords: Gender, Server, Restaurants, Service, Labor, Harassment

Topic(s):Sociology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 8-4
Location: GEO - SUB
Time: 3:30

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