Attrition from Male-dominated Occupations: Variation among Occupations and Women Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2017

start page

  • 665

end page

  • 684


  • 40


  • 60

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0731-1214

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1533-8673


  • Women in male-dominated occupations remain at a considerable risk of attrition. This study examines both the consequences of being an occupational minority and the effect of occupational attributes on women's exit from male-dominated occupations. Drawing on prior theories and empirical studies, I argue that women in high-status occupations are better prepared than women in low-status occupations to overcome obstacles derived from their minority status. Using the Current Population Survey data set and the Occupational Information Network database, this study reveals that a greater proportion of males in an occupation increases the probability of exit from low-status occupations, once we account for relevant individual and occupational attributes. Conversely, women employed in high-status occupations are less likely to leave strongly male-dominated occupations. These findings underscore that women's attrition from male-dominated occupations cannot be adequately explained without considering differences among women at the moment of hiring.


  • segregation; women's diversity; male-dominated occupations; occupational attributes; occupational minority; heterogeneous choice models; college-educated workers; sex segregation; gender revolution; probit coefficients; united-states; earnings; inequality; managers; science