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Gendered Time Surveillance and Suspicions At Work and In Professional Roles
Pressures to work long hours are widespread in professional workplaces, and contribute to the persistence of gender inequality. We identify a phenomenon we label time surveillance: the everyday practice of noticing and making attributions about others’ time use at work. We theorize that time surveillance is gendered, with women’s time away from the office more likely than men’s to be both noticed and attributed to personal commitments, whereas men’s time away is less likely to be noticed and if noticed, more likely to be attributed to work commitments. Through twelve studies across 2,910 participants, we establish that gendered time surveillance generalizes across industry gatekeepers and the lay public. Further, we find that the gendered nature of time surveillance is shaped by the occupation’s demographic composition. These studies offer novel insights into relationships between time, gender, and inequality that are especially important given the push to return to the office.