Women in Management, 1970-2000: Revisiting “Glorified Secretaries,” Resegregation, and Title Inflation as Gender Equality Stalls

Philip N. Cohen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Matt Huffman, University of California, Irvine
Stefanie Knauer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

As progress toward gender equality stalled in the 1990s, women continued to integrate managerial occupations, albeit at a slower rate. This raises the possibility that women’s influence in managerial positions does not carry the authority presumed in the titles they hold. In this light, we revisit Jerry Jacobs’ (1992) analysis of “glorified secretaries,” resegregation, and title inflation – which posed “skeptical” interpretations of women’s advancement into management – using U.S. Decennial Census from 1970 to 2000. Preliminary analysis shows that women’s entrance into managerial occupations has been quite broad. However, overall progress has clearly slowed, and wage progress has been less dramatic than increases in representation. Further, analysis of segregation shows mixed results, and even increases in overall and vertical segregation in one specification. We describe additional analysis to be performed over the next several months and implications of the research.

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Presented in Session 5: Gender, Labor Force, and Earnings