A Second Look at the Process of Occupational Feminization and Pay Reduction in Occupations

Using the IPUMS-USA data for the years 1960–2015, this study examines trends in the effect of occupational feminization on occupational pay in the U.S. labor market and explores some of the mechanisms underlying these trends. The findings show that the (negative) association between occupational feminization and occupational pay level has declined, becoming insignificent in 2015. This trend, however, is reversed after education is controlled for at the individual as well as the occupational level. The two opposite trends are discussed in light of the twofold effect of education: (1) the entry of women into occupations requiring high education, and (2) the growing returns to education and to occupations with higher educational requirements. These two processes have concealed the deterioration in occupational pay following feminization. The findings underscore the significance of structural forms of gender inequality in general, and occupational devaluation in particular. 

Mandel, Hadas. 2018. “A Second Look at the Process of Occupational Feminization and Pay Reduction in Occupations”. Demography, 55(2): 669-690.  View the “Author’s accepted manuscript” version.
View in the Work in Progress blog.

 Gender inequality: occupational devaluation and pay gaps

The comparative research of long-term trends of gender inequality largely neglects structural mechanisms. As more women reach positions of power, structural elements will become more significant. Despite the growing body of literature in this area, the long-term effect of the changing gender composition of occupations on their relative pay has been largely neglected. Hadas Mandel, an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, has addressed this gap in the literature by exploring the negative effect of occupational feminisation on occupational pay in the US and the mechanisms underlying these trends.

Mandel, Hadas, 2019. "Gender inequality: occupational devaluation and pay gaps". Research outreach, 106: 66-69.