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It's a Man's Job, or So They Say: The Production of Sex Segregation in Occupations

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  • Judith A. Levine
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    Abstract

    Based on a case study of a manufacturing plant, this paper addresses weaknesses in the way that new structuralist theories and the literature on sex segregation in occupations treat barriers to womenÕs mobility. I examine the forces that prevent sex integration in occupations and the reasons why women may fail to protest against these forces. I distinguish between barriers met before and after women enter male departments, demonstrate the ways in which institutional and cultural barriers to integration interact, and show the inadequacy of simple images of male domination to portray shop-floor social interaction. I find that competition for social rewards, tensions between racial groups, and animosity between mobile and immobile women undermine the potential for solidarity among women which in turn makes resistance to gender-based barriers unlikely. The paper concludes with an argument that women are likely to experience more disadvantage in organizations in which male and female workers are geographically isolated, women are disproportionately assigned jobs in departments with fewer job titles, and the internal labor market is departmentally based. .

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    Paper provided by Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University in its series IPR working papers with number 96-17.

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    Handle: RePEc:wop:nwuipr:96-17

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