Watching Women Rise, but Men Fall

A recent study tracked the share of women in specific occupations between 2000 and 2014 and had shocking findings. The study demonstrated that job opportunities are divided not just along gender lines, but also by race and class. It appears that men and women have been engaging in career flip-flops. Professional occupations have seen increased shares of women since 2000. Men have been moving into predominantly female jobs. However, the male migration is predominantly disadvantaged men in the labor market: non-white, poorly educated, and impoverished men. This intersectionality describes one group in particular: immigrant men. 

Highly coveted jobs that saw an increase in the proportion of female employees since 2000 were supervisors of scientists, which saw 19 percent growth of female employment and dentists with 8 percent more.

Many jobs coined “female” in 2000 that have attracted more male workers are those of lower-status. For example, the percentage of women employed as counter clerks (people in stores selling products and answering customer questions) fell by 10 percent and textile workers fell by 5 percent. The share of women grew slightly in two female-dominated professions, social work and library science.

Research has found that men who end up in the less desirable jobs are disadvantaged in the labor market because of race and class. The sociology term “trap door” has been used to describe these men who seemingly hold lower wage-earning jobs. Race and gender have always contributed employment decisions both on the part of employers and employees. We know that women enter positions as they are vacated by men, but now we are learning that the vacancies produced by women are filled by immigrants and labor market participants with lower incomes.  


Anna Graff

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