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Gendered Recessions and Recoveries

By Jessica Smith Rolston
Anthropology News

"Equally troubling is the lingering occupational gender segregation that systematically disadvantages women and perpetuates the gender gap in both yearly and lifetime earnings. Gwen Sharp at Sociological Images finds that women make up about half of the total paid workforce but only hold a quarter of jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields that tend to pay more than other private-sector jobs and exhibit less gender gaps in pay. Representation within STEM jobs varies considerably, with women representing 14% of employees in engineering and 27% in computer science and math – a decrease from 30% in 2000. Occupational segregation is especially grave for women without college degrees, leading a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research to warn, “In the least-skilled jobs, working in a female rather than male dominated occupation may make the difference between wages close to poverty and wages that can support a family” (Hegewisch et al. 2010: 13)."

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