Explanations of occupational sex segregation

Jude Browne

in Sex segregation and inequality in the modern labour market

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9781861345998
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303343 | DOI:
Explanations of occupational sex segregation

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This chapter provides a critical analysis of causal explanations of vertical occupational sex segregation (VOSS). It evaluates the representative theories from three major ‘explanatory camps’: psychological and psycho-physiological theories, theories of patriarchy, and human capital-based theories. The chapter explores the work both of more ‘traditional’ advocates of each camp, and of some theorists who have attempted to develop their fields. It specifically looks at Steven Goldberg's Male Dominance Theory, Simon Baron-Cohen's Empathising/Systemising Theory, and Carol Gilligan's Different Voice thesis. Moreover, Sylvia Walby and Valerie Bryson's Patriarchy Theory is elaborated. Then, Rational Choice Theory by Gary Becker, and Preference Theory by Catherine Hakim, are highlighted. The limitations of each of the theoretical approaches, and the ways in which each camp tends to assume a false homogeneity among women, irrespective of various claims to the contrary, are noted.

Keywords: VOSS; Steven Goldberg; Simon Baron-Cohen; Carol Gilligan; Sylvia Walby; Valerie Bryson; Gary Becker; Catherine Hakim; Male Dominance Theory; Patriarchy Theory

Chapter.  12163 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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