The Gender Mobility Paradox: Gender Segregation and Women"s Mobility Across Gender-Type Boundaries, 1970&-2018 Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2021

start page

  • 853

end page

  • 883


  • 6


  • 35

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0891-2432

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3977


  • In this article, we examine trends in women"s mobility among male-dominated, gender-neutral, and female-dominated occupations. Earlier research, largely employing data from the 1970s and early 1980s, showed that along with significant net movement by women into male-dominated fields, there was also substantial attrition from male-dominated occupations. Here, we build on previous research by examining how 'gender-type” mobility rates have changed in recent decades. The findings indicate that while still quite high, levels of women"s occupational mobility among female, gender-neutral, and male occupations have decreased considerably over time. We suggest that this is the result of increasing differentiation among women. In particular, many women, especially those in high-status occupations, plan to pursue employment in a male-dominated field, succeed in gaining entry, and tend to remain in these fields more often than their counterparts in previous decades. We interpret these findings as evidence that gender segregation is maintained by an enduring but imperfect system of social control that constrains women"s choices before, during, and after entry into the labor market. The evidence presented here underscores the importance of studying gender-type mobility as a distinct dimension of labor market inequality.