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Should I stay or should I go? Gender differences in professional employment

Author

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  • Leuze, Kathrin
  • Rusconi, Alessandra

Abstract

Occupational sex segregation is a persistent source of social inequalities. The increasing participation of women in tertiary education and rising female employment rates, however, have given hope that gender inequalities will decline as a result of growing female opportunities for high skill employment in the service sector, e.g. the professions. This paper asks whether such optimistic accounts are justified by comparing male and female professional career trajectories in Germany. Our main assumptions hold that, even today, strong gender differences continue to exist between public and private sector professions, which are further aggravated by different forms of family commitment. Overall, our analyses demonstrate that even among highly qualified men and women, important patterns of sex segregation are present. An initial horizontal segregation between public and private sectors brings about "equal, but different" career prospects, which in the phase of family formation turn into vertical segregation, promoting "different and therefore unequal" labor market chances.

Suggested Citation

  • Leuze, Kathrin & Rusconi, Alessandra, 2009. "Should I stay or should I go? Gender differences in professional employment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2009-501, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbslm:spi2009501
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barbara Petrongolo, 2004. "Gender Segregation in Employment Contracts," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 331-345, 04/05.
    2. Emer Smyth, 2002. "Gender Differentiation and Early Labour Market Integration across Europe," MZES Working Papers 46, MZES.
    3. Jones, David R & Makepeace, Gerald H, 1996. "Equal Worth, Equal Opportunities: Pay and Promotion in an Internal Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 401-409, March.
    4. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
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