The Effect of Occupational Sex Composition on the Gender Gap in Workplace Authority

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This article compares women and men's attainment of workplace authority in female-dominated, mixed, and male-dominated occupations. It is based on a representative mobility study of Jewish women in the Israeli labor force conducted in 1991-1992. Two sets of hypotheses are offered based on two competing theories. The first theory predicts that in female occupations women have more influence and mutual support than in male occupations, and, hence, they will have more access to authority. The opposing perspective argues that in male-dominated occupations the competition between women and men is weaker, and therefore men have a smaller incentive to discriminate against women. Our findings support the second argument. The gender gap in authority is larger in female-dominated occupations, and women have the highest chances to have authority when they work in male occupations; men have similar chances, no matter in which type of occupation they are employed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-605
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2000


  • Workplace authority; gender segregation; occupational sex composition; gender discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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