Do women choose to work in the public and nonprofit sectors? Empirical evidence from a French national survey
Women are over-represented in public and nonprofit sector jobs. This article aims to bring to light the reasons behind that phenomenon. In particular, do women choose these sectors because they offer female employees specific advantages that are absent from the private sector? The feminization of the public sector can be explained by the fact that women obtain a higher wage gain from choosing this sector than men do. However, this is not true for the nonprofit sector. Working hours - in the form of part-time work in the nonprofit sector and total hours worked in the public sector - appear to play an important role in the over-representation of women in these two sectors. On the other hand, the idea that women are more attracted to the social objectives pursued by public and nonprofit organizations does not appear to play any part. “Family-friendly” measures - aiming to reconcile the demands of family life and professional life - appear to attract women to the public sector, but it is difficult to interpret their influence, because it is impossible to distinguish between the attractiveness of these measures and the result of professional segregation in the public sector.
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