Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

pp 4453-4456

Occupational Sex Segregation

  • Olga Alonso-VillarAffiliated withDepartamento de Economía Aplicada, Universidade de Vigo Email author 
  • , Coral Del RíoAffiliated withDepartamento de Economía Aplicada, Universidade de Vigo


Occupational gender-based segregation; Occupational segregation by gender; Occupational segregation by sex; Sex segregation of occupations


Following (Reardon & O’Sullivan, 2004), “segregation can be thought of as the extent to which individuals of different groups occupy and experience different social environments.” To put it more sharply, “segregation is a social mechanism that preserves inequality across groups” (Reskin, 1999). Although different dimensions of the problem have been described in the literature (Massey & Denton, 1988), evenness is the most frequently discussed. According to this conception, segregation exists if the population subgroups into which the economy is divided (women/men, blacks/whites) are not similarly distributed among organizational units (occupations, schools, neighborhoods). In particular, occupational sex segregation occurs when women are underrepresented (or overrepresented) in some occupations as compared to men. T ...

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