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Workforce Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap: Is “Women's” Work Valued as Highly as “Men's”?1


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    The authors gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 66th annual convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, Montreal, Quebec, June 2005.

Christine Alksnis, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus, 73 George Street, Brantford, ON, Canada N3T 2Y3. E-mail:


This study focuses on gender segregation and its implications for the salaries assigned to male- and female-typed jobs. We used a between-subjects design to examine whether participants would assign different pay to 3 types of jobs wherein the actual responsibilities and duties carried out by men and women were the same, but the job was situated in either a traditionally masculine or traditionally feminine domain. We found pay differentials between jobs defined as “male” and “female,” which suggest that gender-based discrimination, arising from occupational stereotyping and the devaluation of the work typically done by women, influences salary allocation. The ways in which the results fit with contemporary theorizing about sexism and with the shifting standards model (Biernat, 1995, 2003) are discussed.