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1 ~ntro~ucdon BARBARA F. RESKIN The concept of segregation was first brought to public attention in the United States to describe the enforced separation of black and white children in different schools. Although strictly speaking segre- gation denotes physical separation, it typi- cally involves an institutionalized form of social distance between dominant and sub- ordinate groups (Kuper, 1968:144~. Cer- tainly racial segregation in this country en- tailed more than physical separation; not only did it reflect the belief that black children were not fit to associate with white children, but it also made other forms of unequal treatment possible. Years of litigation, protests, and busing have brought the concept of segregation into the public vocabulary and persuaded most Americans of the existence of racial segre- gation in schools and neighborhoods. At the same time, these activities have probably helped to associate the idea of segregation with race discrimination. But our society, like most others, segregates its members on the basis of characteristics other than race; I wish to express my thanks to my friend and col- league, Lowell L. Hargens, for his help in reading and discussing the papers in this volume. age, sex, and social class are the most com- mon. Because most of these forms of seg- regation mirror social norms about the ap- propriate and "natural" relations between groups (Just as prior to the 1954 Brown de- cision many people defined race segregation as natural and appropriate) and because of their very pervasiveness, these forms of sep- aration are not readily thought of as segre- gation. We take for granted, for example, that children will be separated into age-based groups at school and that they will spend their days apart from most adults. Indeed, it is when the accepted patterns of segre- gation vary that we notice for example, more than one or two aclults on a school playground during recess or children in work settings. The segregation of the sexes in some spheres is at least as common as that of chil- dren from adults. Yet it is often not visible for two reasons. First, cultural expectations, which structure our perceptions of the world, take for granted that most adults live inti- mately with a member of the opposite sex. Because such intimacy is at odds with the mode! of physical separation implied by the paradigmatic case of racial segregation, it masks the existence of sex segregation. Sec- 1
2 BARBARA F. RES KIN ond, the presence of women and men pub- licly carrying out a variety of activities to- gether supports the impression of sex integration. Superficially these two phe- nomena appear to invalidate any claim that the sexes are segregated. Our interest in this volume centers on the segregation of women and men at work, re- gardIess of whether the sexes are substan- tially segregated in most parts of their lives. In that context, work can be characterized as sex segregated in three ways. First, norms that relegate the sexes to separate spheres (Welter, 1966; Bloch, 1978)women to the home and men to the public sector nec- essarily imply their physical separation. For example, domestic workers in the private sphere, whether they are unpaid or paid, carry out their duties in a female environ- ment, pursuing one of the most segregated jobs. Second, many paid employees work in exclusively one-sex settings. Whole indus- tries are dominated by men; metal and coal mining, fisheries, horticultural services, logging, construction, and railroads were all more than 90 percent male in 1980 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1981:Table 30~. Although there are no industries so overwhelmingly female, in part because in even the most female-intensive industries men hold man- agerial posts, women constitute more than three-quarters of all workers in several in- dustries, including direct sales, employ- ment agencies, convalescent institutions, li- braries, and apparel and fabricated textile manufacturing. In 1980 over 32 million workers were employed in industries whose work forces were at least 80 percent male or female, and slightly more than this num- ber 11 million women and 22 million men worked in detailed census occupa- tions in which at least 90 percent of the incumbents were of their own sex.i In ad- dition, even within integrated industries, firms may employ only men or only women (see Bielby and Baron, in this volume). Clearly, then, a substantial proportion of American workers are physically segregated from the opposite sex. If we extend the meaning of segregation beyond physical separation to encompass functional separation, the workplace is seg- regated in a third way, with a division of labor by sex the rule. Furthermore, the practice of employing women ancl men to do different jobs within the same work set- ting is often accompanied by the institu- tionalized social distance that segregation frequently entails. This social distance is marked by differential access to authority (Wolf and Fligstein, 1979), unequal wages (Treiman and Hartmann, 1981), separate job ladders, and exclusionary practices restrict- ing mobility between positions labeled "male" and "female" (Roos and Reskin, in this vol- ume). Hospitals are a good example. As out- siders, we notice female and male employ- ees interacting in various ways talking or joking together in the corridors or wards, working side by side over patients in ex- amining and operating rooms, often simi- larly dressed in lab coats or scrub suits. Yet nurses, technicians, clerical workers, and food service workers are overwhelmingly female, while doctors, administrators, and orderlies are predominantly male. Ironically, it is the functional segregation of the sexes into dif- ferent jobs that renders them interdepen- dent and ensures their physical integration. It should be recognized, too, that the phys- ical integration we observe is preceded, at least for technical and professional staff, by separate training programs in which the sexes are physically segregated. This separation may help prepare them for the unequal sta- tus and rewards they experience when as ~ The Census Bureau categorizes occupations at vary- ing levels of detail. In 1980 the classification referred to as "detailed" included 503 occupations. The number of workers in industries that were at least 80 percent female was computed from Bureau of Labor Statistics (1981:Table 30~. The number of workers in occupations that were at least 90 percent members of the incum- bent's sex was computed from Bureau of the Census data (1983:Table 1~.
INTRODUCTION 3 workers they are physically integrated. Having shown how the concept of seg- regation applies to women's positions in the workplace, we must now ask why an inquiry into sex segregation in the world of work is necessary. Since dividing work on the basis of sex is customary in the home, why not in the workplace? To answer this question, let's return to the discussion of the consequences of segregating black and white schooIchil- dren. Beyond its stigmatizing effects, clif- ferentiating and separating people are often accompanied by differential treatment. Just as the segregated schools to which black children were sent were inferior to white children's schools (Kruger, 1975), the jobs that women hoist provide rewards that are inferior to those that "male" jobs offer. Foremost is the effect of segregation on women's wages. The more "female" an oc- cupation is, the less it typically pays (Rytina, 1982~. Between 35 and 40 percent of the well-documented wage gap between female and male full-time workers can be attributed to their segregation into different detailed occupational categories (Treiman and Hart- mann, 19811. The additional segregation of women and men in the same occupations into different jobs explains even more of the differential. The wage loss associated with working in female-dominated occupations has especially adverse consequences for women who are the sole supporters of their families. Ehrenreich and StalIard (1982) commented that it is not the absence of a man in a household but the absence of a male salary that pushes working women into poverty; more precisely, it is the absence of the salary levels that male-dominated jobs provide. For women who support families on their own, segregation may mean pov- erty. These facts the pervasiveness of sex segregation and its economic implications for women pose important scholarly and policy questions. What are the current lev- els of segregation, and what are the pros- pects for the decade ahead? Why is work so overwhelmingly sex typed? What kinds of remedies might reduce segregation levels? It is these questions to which the papers in this volume provide answers. The remain- der of this chapter is an overview of their themes. EXTENT, TRENDS, AND PROjECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE From its emergence as a major institution in the nineteenth century, the U.S. labor force has been highly segregated by sex. Most occupations were so dominated by one sex that for decades the Census Bureau changed gender-discrepant responses for certain occupations on the assumption that they represented coding errors (Conk, 1981~. Empirical studies assessing the extent of oc- cupational segregation have consistently confirmed high levels of segregation (Gross, 1968; Blau and Hendricks, 1979; Lloyd and Niemi, 1979; Williams, 1979; England, 19811. Despite dramatic changes in both the com- position of the labor force and the occupa- tional structure, segregation levels have been extraordinarily stable throughout the twen- tieth century. This raises several questions. First, have social and normative changes in the 1970s or the existence or enforcement of antidiscrimination laws led to appreciable declines in segregation? What are the pros- pects for the remainder of this decacle? How much segregation within specific employ- ment settings is masked by aggregate esti- mates based on data for occupations? What can we learn if we go beyond the static pic- tures that occupational distributions yield to look at workers' job histories? The papers on the extent of and trends in segregation in Part I of this volume illumi- nate these questions. In Chapter 2, Andrea H. Beller provides new and encouraging evidence regarding trends in aggregate seg- regation levels since 1970. Using Current Population Survey data for the period be- tween 1971 and 1981, she documents a 10
4 BARBARA F. RES KIN percent decline in the segregation index. Unlike most of the previous research, she provides separate analyses for nonwhites and whites that show more rapid declines among nonwhites. Especially telling are results that reveal particular progress within profes- sional occupations for whites (but not non- whites), an outcome that Beller argues is linked to desegregation in college majors. It is well known that the more closely one is able to look into the workplace, the more segregation one will observe. Thus, segre- gation indices computed for the 11 major census occupational groupings show consid- erably less segregation than do indices com- puted for detailed occupational categories. However, researchers have not had data sets that permit them to assess segregation levels within firms for a large number of estab- lishments. William T. Bielby and lames N. Baron's work (Chapter 3) is an important exception. They examined U.S. Employ- ment Service data for almost 400 California firms employing more than 60,000 workers to address several issues previously beyond the reach of scholars. The result is a set of striking and disturbing findings. For ex- ample, over half the firms were totally sex segregated: not a single job title was held- by both men and women. Furthermore, across all firms, the proportion of workers who held nominally integrated jobs (i.e., jobs held by both men and women in a firm) was only 10 percent. An analysis of the small number of firms that were minimally inte- grated permitted the authors to identify mechanisms that support segregation in dif- ferent types of establishments. These find- ings contribute to our understanding of the organizational bases of sex segregation. It is also possible to get beyond aggre- gated occupational data by tracking workers' patterns of movement between segregated and integrated jobs. Rachel A. Rosenfeld's research employs such an approach. In Chapter 4, Rosenfeld estimates the amount of such mobility between sex-typical and sex- atypical occupations and then investigates its determinants. Of considerable interest are results broken down by race that show the proportions of women and men who moved between occupations in which mem- bers of their sex were a majority and those in which they were a minority. Rosenfeld's subsequent examination of the wage and prestige consequences of different types of moves points to factors that may prompt workers to enter and leave sex-atypical work. Also important are analyses showing (1) how workers' personal characteristics are linked to an occupation's sex type and (2) what char- acteristics are associated with an individual's breaking an occupation's sex barrier. Spe- cific findings, such as the absence of any effect of family responsibilities on the type of move a worker makes, bear on theories that seek to explain segregation. In commenting on the first three chapters in Part I, Pamela S. Cain notes in Chapter 5 some apparent contradictions between them and offers a resolution. She also re- minds the reader of the inherent limitations that available tools and data place on study- ing sex segregation. In the final chapter in Part I, Andrea H. Beller and Kee-ok Kim Han use trend data to project the level of occupational segre- gation at the end of the decade (Chapter 61. They use several models to generate a set of projections. Of particular relevance to policy makers are the results for models based on optimistic, intermediate, and conserva- tive assumptions about the rate of decline, which could reflect such factors as whether affirmative action regulations are enforced. Under the most optimistic assumption, seg- regation would decline markedly, but the models that Belter and Han judge to be more realistic predict only modest declines. Social policy must be guided by what is likely to happen in both the presence and absence of deliberate interventions to reduce seg- regation. Their paper provides such infor- mation and draws its implications for policy.
INTRO ~ 5 EXPLAINING SEGREGATION The chapters in Part II grapple with the controversial and difficult question of why gender is linked to the work people do. In- dividually, each summarizes and weighs the empirical evidence associated with a partic- ular explanatory orientation. Jointly, they provide both a sound foundation and an agenda for needed research. Francine D. Blau's paper on labor market discrimination and occupational segregation (Chapter 7) is one of three that consider economic approaches to sex segregation. The economics literature on discrimination has concentrated on the role of discrimination in the wage differential between the sexes (see Blinder, 1973; Osterman, 1979; Cabral et al., 1981), but very little has been pub- lished specifically on the role of labor market . . . . . c ~scr~m~nat~on In maintaining sex segrega- tion. Focusing on this question, Blau criti- cally appraises the utility of several general theories of discrimination, including those invoking taste, overcrowding, monopsony, statistical discrimination, and dual labor markets as well as the human capital alter- native. Having laid out the theoretical al- ternatives, Blau evaluates the empirical evi- dence on the extent to which discrimination contributes to segregation. In doing so she details the difficulties in trying to measure discrimination and emphasizes the need for research that can distinguish between the various alternatives. In Chapter 8, economist Myra H. Strober rejects existing theories of discrimination as inadequate to explain how occupations get assigned to one sex or the other and what contributes to stability or change in these gender designations. Exploiting ideas from existing theories, she proposes a provocative new "general theory" to explain both oc- cupational segregation and wage differen- tials. The argument claims that the labor market behavior of menemployees and workersis governed by their desire to maintain patriarchal privilege in the home and that pursuing this goal gives rise to both segregation and lower wages for women. Historical data on shifts in the gender label of public school teaching illustrate the the- ory. In a close analysis of Strober's theory (Chapter 9), Karen Oppenheim Mason takes issue with certain assumptions as empiri- cally unsupported. Mason disputes Strob- er's claim that existing ideas cannot ade- quately explain segregation and offers a set of theoretical approaches that she contends account for the persistence of segregation. It has been suggested that the concentra- tion of women in certain occupations reflects their own preferences, which in turn stem either from beliefs that these occupations are compatible with women's domestic roles or from a socialization process that predis- poses them toward certain kinds of work. Each alternative has stimulated large bodies of research. Mary Corcoran, Greg I. Dun- can, and Michael Ponza review in Chapter 10 the human capital explanation that attri- butes segregation to women's desire to find jobs that do not conflict with their domestic obligations. They put this explanation to a test with evidence from other research and their own current work. The authors pre- sent results from their analysis of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics on the duration of work experience, part-time work, and occupational sex composition that chal- lenge predictions based on the human cap- ital approach. Of special interest are anal- yses that cast doubt on the human capital assumption that skill depreciation and con- comitant wage losses associated with time out of the labor force prompt women to es- chew certain occupations. Their findings represent an important contribution to the development of a body of knowledge re- garding how famflial roles influence wom- en's occupational outcomes. Margaret Mooney Marini and Mary C. Brinton provide in Chapter 11 a compre-
6 BARBARA F. RES KIN hensive synthetic review of the massive lit- erature that links sex typing in socialization to occupational choice. Their review covers research on (1) the existence of sex differ- ences in occupational preferences, knowI- edge, skills, and traits and (2) whether ob- served differences result from sex-role socialization within families, schools, and the mass media. Because of the direct link be- tween education and occupational options, they pay special attention to education in general and mathematics and science edu- cation in particular. This chapter, which ul- timately draws conclusions about the effects of sex typing on segregation, is an important resource for researchers. In response to Marini and Brinton, Wendy C. Wolf cautions that, in view of the mul- titude of factors implicated by the occupa- tional socialization literature, the outcomes of any particular intervention attempts are unpreclictable (Chapter 121. She reminds the reader that most of the literature reviewed by Marini and Brinton deals with differ- ences between the sexes before they enter the labor market. She points out that the constraining effects of such factors may de- cline for adult women who face the eco- nomic realities of earning adequate wages. In Chapter 13, Patricia A. Boos and Bar- bara F. Reskin draw on labor market the- ories to develop a framework in which a variety of institutional barriers to sex inte- gration are examined. They focus on formal procedures within establishments and the organization of labor markets that discour- age or exclude workers from entering jobs that have been defined as belonging to the other sex. They consider, in turn, barriers to job training (including apprenticeships), barriers to entry-level positions, and struc- tural barriers that limit women's promotion into and retention in sex-atypical jobs. They cite a wide variety of studies that show how these barriers perpetuate the segregation of the sexes. In commenting on this paper (Chapter 14), Maryellen R. Kelley points to limita- tions in the research that Boos and Reskin review and questions the omission of the effects of such factors as job design and eval- uation. Noting that little is known about how women are channelled into sex-typed career paths, she calls for research on this topic. REDUCING SEGREGATION Policy makers will find the chapters in Part III on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce segregation especially useful. In Chapter 15, Brigid O'Farrell and Sharon L. Harlan examine the impacts of various in- terventions on the basis of an extensive reading of case studies. From these data they draw some general conclusions about what kinds of intervention succeed and the con- ditions under which they work best. They point out, for example, that, to increase women's representation in male-labeled jobs, companies had to modify certain personnel practices, such as recruitment procedures, seniority systems, required qualifications, and job training. In contrast to O'Farrell and HarIan's sur- vey of workplace-based remedies, Linda J. Waite and Sue E. Berryman evaluate the effectiveness of a single program, the Com- prehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), for several employment outcomes of black, white, and Hispanic women and men (Chapter 161. Their statistical analyses fail to show effects of race or Hispanic eth- nicity but do show sex differences in pro- gram assignment consistent with sex seg- regation. Two especially interesting analyses address CETA's ability to foster desegre- gation. The first examines the link between the sex label of participants' pre-CETA jobs and their CETA placements, and the second looks at CETA's record in meeting partici- pants' preferences for sex-atypical assign- ments. However, the data Waite and Ber- ryman use were collected prior to 1978, when CETA reauthorization legislation maple sex equity an explicit program goal, as Wendy Wolfootes in her commentary (Chapter 17~.
INTRODUCTION 7 Post-1978 evaluations might yield a different picture. CONCLUSION In recapping the papers in this volume, Francine D. Blau integrates several recur- r~ng themes (Chapter 181. She points to the variety of ways that federal activities may help reduce or sustain sex segregation. Blau reminds readers that economic parity is not a necessary consequence of occupational de- segregation. On the basis of the papers in this volume, however, it seems unlikely that we shall have to cope with that concern in the near fixture. It is to be hoped that the publication of these papers wall help move us closer toward that goal. REFERENCES Blau, Francine D., and Wallace E. Hendricks 1979 Occupational segregation by sex: trends and prospects. Journal of Human Resources 14(2):197-210. Blinder, Alan S. 1973 Wage discrimination: reduced form and struc- tural estimates. Journal of [human Resources 8(Fall):436-55. Bloch, Ruth H. 1978 American feminine ideals in transition: the rise of the moral mother, 1785-1815. Feminist Studies 40une):101-26. Bureau of the Census 1983 Detailed Occupations and Years of School Completed by Age, for the Civilian Labor Force by Sex, Race, and Spanish Origin: 1980. Wash- ington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Com- merce. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1981 Employment and Unemployment: A Report on 1980. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor. Cabral, Robert, Marianne A. Ferber, and Carole A. Green 1981 Men and women in fiduciary institutions: a study of sex differences in career development. Re- view of Economics and Statistics 63(Nov- ember):573-80. Conk, Margo A. 1981 Accuracy, efficiency and bias: the interpreta- tion of women's work in the U.S. Census of Occupations, 1890-1940. Historical Methods l(Spring):65-72. Duncan, Otis Dudley, and Beverly Duncan 1955 A methodological analysis of segregation in- dices. American Sociological Review 20:200- 17. Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Karin Stallard 1982 The nouveau poor. Ms. Magazine ll(Au- gust):217-24. England, Paula 1981 Assessing trends in occupational sex segrega- tion, 1900-1976. Pp. 273-95 in Ivar Berg (ed.), Sociological Perspectives on Labor Markets. New York: Academic Press. Gross, Edward 1968 Plus ca change . . .? The sexual structure of occupations over time. Social Problems 16:198- 208. Kluger, Richard 1975 Simple Justice. New York: Random House. Kuper, Leo 1968 Segregation. Pp. 14~150 in David L. Sills (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sci- ences 14. New York: Macmillan. Lloyd, Cynthia B., and Beth T. Niemi 1979 The Economics of Sex Differentials. New York: Columbia University Press. Osterman, Paul 1979 Sex discrimination in professional employ- ment: a case study. Industrial and Labor Re- lations Review 32Quly):451-64. Rytina, Nancy F. 1982 Earnings of men and women: a look at specific occupations. Monthly Labor Review 105 (April):25-31. Treiman, Donald J., and Heidi Hartmann (eds.) 1981 Women, Work, and Wages: Equal PayforJobs of Equal Value. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Welter, Barbara 1966 The cult of true womanhood. American Quar- terly 18(Summer):151-74. Williams, Gregory 1979 The changing U.S. labor force and occupa- tional differentiation by sex. Demography 16:7 88. Wolf, Wendy C., and Neil D. Fligstein 1979 Sex and authority in the workplace. American Sociological Review 44(April):235-52.