We analyze the role of educational opportunity in shaping inequality in the distribution of occupations in the long run. We use the timing of political events in the history of the struggle to end Apartheid to devise an identification strategy that permits a causal interpretation of the role of educational opportunity. We find evidence that educational opportunity has a strong conditioning effect on the distribution of occupations in steady state. In particular, African female children who inherit the same level of educational opportunity as their parents are 6 percentage points more likely to be in the bottom of the occupation distribution than if they were exposed to better educational opportunities. An alternative identification strategy based on matching on the probability of educational persistence suggests that this figure is approximately 10 percent for younger cohorts of African female children.