Is Gender Essentialism Everywhere the Same? The Underlying Worldwide Structure of Occupational Sex Segregation

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2011
End date: 31/12/2012
Funding: 1464000 SEK


Gender differences in the labor market in industrialized countries have decreased over the last decades. Still, men and women continue to work in different occupations, with women crowding in a relatively small number of occupations (e.g., preschool teacher, assistant nurse). However, little is known about the shape of such segregation. The purpose of this project is to determine if the structure of occupational sex segregation can be successfully explained through cultural and institutional established phenomena. We apply a model distinguishing between essentialist and vertical sources of segregation. The former concerns the notion that men and women are deemed suitable for different types of occupations. The latter dimension targets the assumption that men are seen as more suitable for well paid occupations and positions of high prestige. A hybrid model of this sort has been implemented by Levanon and Grusky (2009) for the U.S., but no attempt has been made to deploy it cross-nationally. The available empirical evidence is therefore limited. The project is cross-country comparative, and we use quantitative methods to study the implications of institutional settings on the relative importance of essentialist versus vertical sources of segregation. Advancing the understanding of underlying mechanisms of occupational sex segregation is fundamental to gender equality, since it is arguably the backbone of gender differences in pay and promotion opportunities.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:56