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Occupational Segregation and Gender Wage Disparities in Developed Economies: Should We Still Worry?

Francesca Bettio, University of Siena


Take a century-long view and think how best to summarize the change in the position of women in employment vis-à-vis men in industrialized countries. The chances are that you will come up with two very popular indicators, namely the degree of occupational segregation and the gender wage gap. Is there still a link between occupational segregation and gender pay discrimination? And can we continue to equate gender occupational segregation indiscriminately with gender inequality in industrialized countries? How does economic theory aid understanding of the ways in which the relationship between segregation and the gender wage gap has evolved over time? Should de-segregation remain a first-order priority for the further labour-market integration of women in mature market economies, or should policy be focused elsewhere? In this

Francesca Bettio received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cambridge in 1984. Her main research areas include Fertility and women’s employment, Wage differentials, occupational segregation and discrimination, Care regimes, elderly care and female employment, Gender, savings and financial household management, as well as Migration and care work, migration and trafficking in persons. She is the author of The Sexual Division of Labour, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988 and the editor (with A. Verashchagina) of Frontiers in the Economics of Gender, London and New York: Taylor and Francis, Routledge, forthcoming in 2008.


Lei Delsen, Radboud University Nijmegen