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


  • Judith A. Levine


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. .

Suggested Citation

  • Judith A. Levine, "undated". "It's a Man's Job, or So They Say: The Production of Sex Segregation in Occupations," IPR working papers 96-17, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:nwuipr:96-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Borjas, George J & Freeman, Richard B & Katz, Lawrence, 1996. "Searching for the Effect of Immigration on the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 246-251, May.
    2. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    3. Borjas, George J. & Sueyoshi, Glenn T., 1994. "A two-stage estimator for probit models with structural group effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 165-182.
    4. Timothy Bates, 1989. "The changing nature of minority business: A comparative analysis of asian, nonminority, and black-owned businesses," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 25-42, September.
    5. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
    6. Bruce D. Meyer, 1990. "Why Are There So Few Black Entrepreneurs?," NBER Working Papers 3537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    8. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    9. William H. Frey, 1995. "Immigration and Internal Migration 'Flight' from US Metropolitan Areas: Toward a New Demographic Balkanisation," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 32(4-5), pages 733-757, May.
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    11. Randall Filer, 1992. "The Effect of Immigrant Arrivals on Migratory Patterns of Native Workers," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 245-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-391, October.
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    14. Andrew M. Yuengert, 1995. "Testing Hypotheses of Immigrant Self-Employment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 194-204.
    15. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, "undated". "Does Immigration Hurt African-American Self-Employment?," IPR working papers 97-1, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
    16. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 485-506.
    17. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1989. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Natives," NBER Working Papers 3123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, January.
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