STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

The gender pay gap isn't just about what you make. It's about what you do

Secretaries. Nurses. Elementary school teachers.Historically, we think of these as "female" jobs. But that's n...

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 5:45 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 5:45 PM

Secretaries. Nurses. Elementary school teachers.

Historically, we think of these as "female" jobs. But that's not only an assumption - it's also the actual job market.

"Occupational segregation" is the term academics use to refer to this split, with women historically relegated to lower-paying, "support" jobs (think secretary or office manager) and men taking the higher-paying, "glamour" jobs (think boss, manager, etc.).

Related: Looking back at 'Lean In,' five years later

The split starts even earlier than you'd think. We can even see this happening with teenage workers, says Yasemin Besen-Cassino, sociology professor at Montclair State University and author of "The Cost of Being a Girl."

Besen-Cassino says occupational segregation happens as early as age 14. Boys pick up higher-paying odd jobs like yard work or snow removal, while girls stick to babysitting. In later years, boys tend to move into shift work and minimum-wage jobs earlier than girls do.

Once they're in service jobs, girls and boys are still relegated to different roles - girls are told they're good with people, so they're hired as hostesses at restaurants or as customer-facing positions in retail. These jobs have high "aesthetic labor" requirements - meaning girls could have more negative experiences with customers.

Related: The poisonous myth of confidence culture

Recent data from LinkedIn shows that over four decades, some of this has changed. Women are slowly infiltrating high-paying, male-dominated fields like science, tech and engineering. Industries like software and IT services, manufacturing and public safety are hiring more women into leadership roles.

But experts warn that this doesn't mean the end of occupational segregation.

Women are often still performing "feminine" work within these male-dominated fields, says Nick Eng, senior data scientist for Economic Graph at LinkedIn. Women working in software, for example, may not all be working as engineers. A significant number could be in the public relations or human resources departments.

But there's a more optimistic view to numbers like this, says Ariane Hegewisch, study director at the Institute for Women's Policy Research. When introducing potential career paths to young women, highlighting the growth could help contribute to the small shift in occupational segregation. Telling young women that men make up the bulk of the STEM workforce, for example, may dissuade women from entering the field, but pointing out that there's been growth in female representation could instead motivate them to pursue a career in that industry.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 205030

Reported Deaths: 2730
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40113612
Washington26647247
Marion23258322
Clackamas18748234
Lane13772158
Jackson11420146
Deschutes993180
Umatilla851786
Linn550479
Klamath475377
Yamhill474779
Polk393755
Douglas378580
Malheur359763
Josephine352972
Benton323922
Jefferson235738
Coos215737
Columbia188629
Union148724
Wasco143429
Lincoln141221
Crook127423
Hood River121633
Morrow115016
Clatsop10268
Baker99215
Curry68510
Tillamook6604
Grant5477
Lake4667
Harney4149
Wallowa1945
Gilliam751
Sherman661
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3801728

Reported Deaths: 63193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124612924434
Riverside3013124618
San Bernardino2989764788
San Diego2812033770
Orange2726505103
Santa Clara1198942175
Kern1106041400
Sacramento1071991718
Fresno1027831720
Alameda893401285
Ventura815541028
San Joaquin744011432
Contra Costa70276810
Stanislaus631901068
Tulare49758849
Monterey43791419
San Mateo42604581
San Francisco37189555
Santa Barbara34572460
Solano33569266
Merced32253474
Sonoma30688323
Imperial28799741
Placer23345298
Kings23166247
San Luis Obispo21405261
Madera16586245
Santa Cruz16202208
Marin14170229
Yolo14118212
Shasta12580232
Butte12576194
El Dorado10339116
Napa998680
Sutter9614112
Yuba644850
San Benito609563
Lassen577524
Tehama571663
Nevada487875
Humboldt441546
Mendocino427450
Tuolumne418569
Amador372147
Lake355245
Glenn242527
Siskiyou238637
Colusa227918
Calaveras220056
Del Norte14488
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7356
Modoc5344
Mariposa4617
Trinity4165
Sierra1130
Alpine890
Unassigned330
Medford
Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 70°
Brookings
Mostly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Mostly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 70°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 70°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
Pop-up thunderstorms today, clearing out tomorrow.
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events