An examination of the influence of the sex identification of an occupation on earnings reveals that: (1) male occupations earn more than female occupations; (2) nonsegregated occupations tend to be more similar in earnings to female than to male occupations; (3) the majority of female occupations earn below the mean for occupations at each level of education; the inverse is true for male occupations; (4) men in female occupations earn less than they do in male occupations; and (5) women in male occupations do not consistently earn more than women in female occupations at comparable levels of education. Our data indicate that they tend to gravitate toward the lower earning male occupations.
These findings support the hypothesis that in Israel, as elsewhere, occupational segregation is an important factor underlying earning differentials between women and men. Wage differentials are the result not only of differences in human capital resources, but also of unequal opportunities within the occupational structure. The division of labor by sex does not cause inequality—rather it permits the perpetuation of a system of social relations in which the work women do is allocated inferior status and economic rewards. The social forces which produce and sustain this reality are worthy of further investigation.