Scientific article
Open access

Gender diversity in the labor market: employer discrimination, educational choices and professionalpreferences

ContributorsFerrary, Michel
Published in@GRH, vol. 2, no. 27, p. 83-118
First online date2018-02-01

Three main mechanisms explain women’s labor force placement: employer discrimi- nation, gendered educational choices and professional preferences. The labor market evolves in a cultural context which is infused with stereotypes about men’s and wom- en’s “natural” capacities, interests, and behaviors. These cultural beliefs shape employ- ers’ decisions and their propensity to consciously or unconsciously discriminate against women. A widespread argument in gender studies contends that gender beliefs translate into sex segregation which furthers inequality between men and women. According to this perspective, employers directly contribute to gender diversity in the labor market. In addition to the “demand side” (employers’ beliefs), the “supply side” (workers’ decisions) of the labor market is also affected by cultural beliefs. Cultural beliefs influence individuals’ educational choices and professional preferences. At school, men and women differ in their fields of study, and these educational choices influence their career paths. Employers that recruit employees from masculinized fields of study like STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) might employ fewer women because the pool of poten- tial female candidates is limited. Gender stereotypes also shape professional trajectories when employees enter the labor market. Women and men differ in terms of the employers and industries that they prefer. According to a “supply side” perspective, employees repro- duce social constructs that exist in society within the labor market.

  • Gender diversity
  • Discrimination
  • Gendered education choice
  • Gendered professional pref- erence.
Citation (ISO format)
FERRARY, Michel. Gender diversity in the labor market: employer discrimination, educational choices and professionalpreferences. In: @GRH, 2018, vol. 2, n° 27, p. 83–118.
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Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:165956

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