Stereotypes of gender and female employment

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Gender stereotypes are associated with the phenomenon of female employment in specific job types. This paper in general looks at the nature of stereotyping. Many researchers have documented this issue in their works and hence this paper goes a mile to look at this phenomenon of stereotyping in countries of Africa, Asia and South Africa.

It surveys the relevant materials documented on this topic. This presentation will look at the reviews of existing measures on gender stereotyping. This presentation goes a mile further to detail the dynamic concept of gender stereotyping and tries to suggest measures brought in by developing countries can be accommodated. Lastly these presentation analyses the aspect of stereotyping of occupations in the developing countries.

Documented evidence of gender stereotyping has been done with many writers and researchers all of them giving vital reasons as to why discussion of occupational segregation on labor market at large. This has been done by many including Hakim (1979), Elia (1988), Anker (1998) and Reskin & Hartmann (1986)

Occupational isolation occurs when different people participate in different kinds of occupations and there exists rigidity in the mobility of groups or people from one occupation to another. This presentation looks majorly at such occupational segregation which occurs along gender lines. We often find occupations which are termed 'male' or 'female' specific. Women and male workers have been divided and consideration for jobs in each gender group is segregated. Female candidates are not considered for male prioritized jobs and the same for the women. Less demanding and less paying jobs are left for women while men compete for the well paying through which the issue of gender isolation is widely brought out. This kind of segregation reduces efficiency and this is the point where gender stereotyping is evident.

Women are concluded in thoughts to be house wife and many still have the generalization that women will still transfer the way they work in the house to the job place. This has lead to differential in wage payment forcing women to be paid in the lower rated jobs while men are paid heavily in the state of high income jobs.

Thus, we view a subtle difference between segregation and stereotyping. Occupational segregation exists when men and women are differently distributed across occupations to a degree greater than is consistent with their overall shares of employment, irrespective of the nature of job allocation. Stereotyping is the phenomenon when the occupational segregation persists, maintains itself, and for a period of time continues to enrich itself fully between people. It is a concept that keeps on changing and full of life as compared to segregation which is static in a way. Stereotyping prohibits people to continue doing a job in the same group without changing a vice that has left female workers in a low class as compared to their counterparts. At this point the women remain in a poor state whereas men continue to prosper by advancing in other fields that require resources or opportunities that result out of occupation of such high cadre in the society.

A consensus has been yielded that globalization policies in developing countries have devalued the traditional set up of female work which include agriculture in particular agro based and small scale production. This has displaced women form this form of occupation to certain newly created job types. Facts prove also that women specific income and development projects do not receive the same funding of resources and attention hence leading to the concentration of women in marginal economic sectors. For sure concentration of women laborers has risen in ill paid and low skilled jobs living their counterparts in much higher paying jobs. Experiences from East European transition economies also reveal the fact that there is preponderance of over-employment of female labor force in certain employments. These are the jobs with longer working hours, shorter retirement rates, and lower wages. International labor organization studies on women in the labor market disclose the occupational segregation and the employment problem of the women in transition economies. Absorption of female workers is high in the informal sector activities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Statistics from South American nations like Brazil, Jamaica and many others show that female laborers are strenuous in low-skilled job groups (Vickers, 1991).

Displacement from original spheres of activities for both genders have combined with increasing concentration of female labor in marginal activities like being employed in minimal works at the tail end of the production process in companies. Through this globalization has brought in indirect form of occupational segregation into gender types

  The simplest measure of occupational segregation has been the sex ratio of the workers employed in the various occupations. If there exists q occupations indicated by 'x'. Mx and Fx indicate respectively the number of male and female workers in the xth occupation, then Sx = Fx/ Mx indicate occupational segregation ratios. Higher Sx means that the particular occupation 'x' has more concentration of females relative to males. Degrees of gender segregation has been defined in order of ascendance of the measure =Sx. Higher values and lower values of the indicator helps to categorize the occupations as exclusively men (EXM), mainly men (M), mixed (MF), mainly women (F) and exclusively women (EXF). This gauge has been used by many researchers successfully (Reskin & Hartmann, 1986) to approximate the extent of segregation in different nations across occupations and also across jobs. Occupations are defined as aggregates over the cluster of jobs belonging to the occupation. Empirical data has shown that occupational segregation can smoothen out the extent of segregation across job types. So sometimes segregation across job types reveal the segregation across occupations. Whatever may be the extent of desegregation, this measure of segregation suffers from the absence of relativity as this does not measure relative concentration of females compared to males in the occupations. Several other models are available but all with an objective to illustrate discrimination against gender.

The figure below summarizes the above vicious cycle in details.

Multiple jobs on offer


Ill-paid jobs


Occupational segregation brought in


Stereotyping vice


Multiple jobs

Figure one.


Occupational isolation is thus the main precondition for existence and generation of gender stereotyping. Since it is difficult to get together similar data of worldwide distribution of occupational gender distribution, the work of identifying the emerging stereotype work zones worldwide still remains. However, one can get a feel of the trouble from the data laid done in tables below. The practical figures regarding earnings differential of female and male workers can be taken to be an indication of occupational segregation.

  This problem is an unrelenting one and also a developing one mostly in the developing countries and the transition economies. The process of globalization has also brought in new occupations and job types in the third world countries. This vice itself as a reinforcing process to create gender stereotypes. There is need to identify areas of existing and emerging stereotypes so that necessary actions can be taken to prevent such labor market rigidity.