Reproducing Occupational Inequality: Marriage, Parenthood and the Gender Divide in Occupations

Jennifer L. Hook, Pennsylvania State University
Becky Pettit, University of Washington

It is well established that class and gender predict occupational placement across advanced industrialized countries. We document a third dimension to occupational segregation associated with family responsibilities. Using data from ten countries contained in the Luxembourg Income Study we find that family responsibilities influence occupational selection differently for men and women. There is less variability in the effects of family status characteristics on men's occupational selection than on women's across countries. Furthermore, family responsibilities consistently sort men into high-wage occupations, whereas the pattern for women is bifurcated - simultaneously sorting women into low- and high-wage occupations. The next stage of the research is to combine the micro-level data with national-level data on labor market conditions, family policies, and the division of household labor to explore cross-national variation in the influence of family responsibilities on placement into specific occupational categories.

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Presented in Session 46: Contextual Influences on Employment and Motherhood Outcomes