ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION AND WOMEN'S STATUS IN THE LABOR MARKET:

A Cross-National Investigation of Occupational Sex Segregation and Inequality

Authors


Direct all correspondence to Lisa Meyer, Department of Sociology, SUNY Geneseo, 123B Sturges Hall, Geneseo, NY 14454; e-mail: meyer@geneseo.edu

Abstract

This study examines the effects of economic globalization on occupational sex segregation and occupational inequality. A theory of global economic restructuring and its impact on the quality of women's work suggests that national integration into the world economy significantly expands opportunities for women in the workplace but does not remove barriers to women's advancement or ameliorate the predominance of low-paying, menial jobs held by women. Two measures of gender occupational differentiation are employed as dependent variables in cross-sectional OLS regression analyses of fifty-six countries using data from 1970–1990. Results indicate that global economic forces reduce occupational sex segregation and inequality. However, these effects are determined by a country's world system position and region. The analyses illustrate that global economic restructuring is a gendered process that transforms and builds upon existing gender inequalities. Therefore, the inclusion of global structural characteristics into comparative research on occupational sex differentiation is essential.

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