Gender inequality in labor markets

The role of motherhood and segregation

Paula England

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Abstract

    This article provides an overview of gender inequality in labor markets in the United States. I show trends in labor force participation, occupational segregation, and the pay gap. Though my main focus is the United States, I note where similar findings exist for other affluent nations. I explain what we know from past research about the causes of inequality and note the gaps in our knowledge. In broad brush strokes, the sex gap in pay in the United States has two major sources: the segregation of jobs and the effects of women's responsibility for childrearing. My major thesis is that at least in the United States, these two are largely unrelated. That is, the causes of segregation do not seem to be largely about women's mothering responsibilities, and the penalties for motherhood do not appear to flow largely through segregation. This thesis is at odds with much thinking among economists, who have seen segregation as a rational response by employers and employees to gender differences in intermittence of employment. In this economic view, women choose more "mother-friendly" jobs, which maximize their earnings conditional on intermittent and flexible employment but tradeoff on-the-job training, higher earnings, and steeper wage trajectories to do so.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)264-288
    Number of pages25
    JournalSocial Politics
    Volume12
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 2005

    Fingerprint

    motherhood
    segregation
    labor market
    gender
    on-the-job training
    responsibility
    cause
    labor force participation
    stroke
    economist
    penalty
    wage
    gender-specific factors
    employer
    employee
    trend
    economics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gender Studies
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Gender inequality in labor markets : The role of motherhood and segregation. / England, Paula.

    In: Social Politics, Vol. 12, No. 2, 06.2005, p. 264-288.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    England, Paula. / Gender inequality in labor markets : The role of motherhood and segregation. In: Social Politics. 2005 ; Vol. 12, No. 2. pp. 264-288.
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