Why Aren't Women More Dissatisfied?


*Direct all correspondence to: Randy Hodson, Department of Sociology, Ballantine Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405.


This article analyzes gender differences in job satisfaction among full-time workers. Why do women report equal or greater job satisfaction than men in spite of objectively inferior jobs? Analysis reveals few differences between men and women in the determinants of job satisfaction when considering job characteristics, family responsibilities, and personal expectations. Little support is found for theories that men and women: (1) focus on different aspects of work in arriving at a given level of job satisfaction; (2) differentially condition their job satisfaction according to the extent of their family responsibilities; and (3) employ different personal expectations in evaluating their jobs. Two alternative explanations for women's relatively positive job attitudes are considered. First, women may arrive at a higher level of job satisfaction than men by using different comparison groups. Second, men may be more willing to verbalize dissatisfaction with work because of different socialization. The most likely explanation is that these processes operate in conjunction to produce greater reported job satisfaction among women.