FES | Federación Española de Sociología

XII Congreso de la FES

Stopgappers? The occupational trajectories of men in female-dominated occupations.

GT 6 Desigualdad y Estratificación Social

Margarita Torre Fernández (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)


Sesión de comunicaciones orales Franja 2 : Mercados de trabajo y género
Responsable(s): Olga Salido Cortés (Universidad Complutense)
Tipo de sesión: Sesión de comunicaciones orales
Día: jueves, 30 de junio de 2016
Hora: 16:00 a 18:00
Lugar: 103

Male entry in female-dominated occupations continues to be very low. This fact is not fortuitous. First, male-dominated jobs offer higher pay, benefits, and promotion opportunities than female-dominated occupations (Glass 1990). Second, men fear stigmatization and being associated with female trades (Williams 1992). Nevertheless, despite their numerical rarity, men employed in the female field lead their female counterparts in wages, promotions, and workplace support (Budig 2002, Williams 1992).

Despite significant contributions, research has failed to account for men leaving female-dominated fields. How long do men remain employed in female-dominated occupations? Where do they go after working in a female-dominated job? Here, I deeply examine the dynamics of men’s entry into and exit from female-dominated occupations. Building on previous research, I hypothesized that female-dominated occupations are stopgaps in male occupational trajectories. In other words, men work in a female-dominated occupation temporarily (for example, to avoid unemployment episodes) and leave after a short period of time, contributing to the perpetuation of segregation.

Furthermore, I postulate that this scenario is particularly likely in low-status occupations for a number of reasons. First, gender egalitarian attitudes are more pronounced among highly educated people. Second, men in low-status occupations are less likely than men in advantageous positions to ride the glass escalator. Third, stigmatization is presumably higher in low-status occupations, as high-status job features are not as heavily associated with female traits as features in traditional female ghettoes, such as nursery or elementary teachers.

This paper draws from the U.S. Census data for 1980, 1990, and 2000, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79). The empirical part of the paper is divided into three sections. First, I trace the distribution of workers across sex-typed occupations. Second, I examine the fluxes of entry into and exit from female-dominated occupations from 1979 to 2006. Third, a discrete-time hazard model is used to model male career experiences.

The findings show that the probability of leaving the female field is disproportionately higher among newcomers, especially in low-status occupations. Also, men leaving the female field are better off than men staying in. These findings are consistent with a stopgap scenario.



Budig, Michelle. 2002. "Male Advantage and the Gender Composition of Jobs: Who Rides the Glass Escalator?" Social Problems 49(2):258-277.

Glass, Jeniffer. 1990. "The Effect of Occupational Segregation on Working Conditions." Social Forces 68(3):779-796.

Williams, Christine. 1992. "The Glass Escalator: Hidden Advantages for Men in the "Female" Professions." Social Problems 39:253-267.

Palabras clave: occupational minorities, stopgaps, female-dominated occupations, male occupational trajectories