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Margarita Torre

Research Findings

Men’s entry and exit from female-dominated occupations

October 22, 2018

Compared with the increasing number of women entering male-dominated occupations, the number of men in female-dominated occupations remains very low. The male presence in typically female occupations has hovered at the levels observed in 1980, rising only slightly from 8 percent to 9.5 percent over the ensuing two decades.

Much ink has been spilled about men’s reluctance to enter so-called female professions (i.e. jobs in nursing, teaching, secretarial work, waitressing, or child care). Researchers note that typically male occupations offer higher pay, more fringe benefits, and more opportunities for promotion than jobs in female-dominated fields. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence that men working in female jobs suffer negative stereotyping, adding a social cost to their career choice. Therefore, while entering male-dominated fields is crucial for women’s economic and social advancement, men have few incentives to choose female-dominated jobs.

Though these barriers have been well documented, less attention has been paid to the actual experiences of men who, despite the drawbacks, decide to work in a female-dominated job (see this  and this for some exceptions). I address this topic and examine the work histories of men employed in the United States between 1979 and 2006 (National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979). Continue Reading…