Job Queues, Gender Queues: Explaining Women's Inroads into Male Occupations

Synopsis

Since 1970, women have made widely publicized gains in several customarily male occupations. Many commentators have understood this apparent integration as an important step to sexual equality in the workplace. Barbara F. Reskin and Patricia A. Roos read a different lesson in the changing gender composition of occupations that were traditionally reserved for men. With persuasive evidence, Job Queues, Gender Queues offers a controversial interpretation of women's dramatic inroads into several male occupations based on case studies of "feminizing" male occupation. The authors propose and develop a queuing theory of occupations' sex composition. This theory contends that the labor market comprises a "gender queue" with employers preferring male to female workers for most jobs. Workers also rank jobs into a "job queue." As a result, the highest-ranked workers monopolize the most desirable jobs. Reskin and Roos use this queuing perspective to explain why several male occupations opened their doors to women after 1970. The second part of the book provides evidence for this queuing analysis by presenting case studies of the feminization of specific occupations. These include book editor, pharmacist, public relations specialist, bank manager, systems analyst, insurance adjuster, insurance salesperson, real estate salesperson, bartender, baker, and typesetter/compositor. Author note: Barbara Reskin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois and Vice President of the American Sociological Association. She has published several books, including Women's Work, Men's Work: Sex Segregation on the Job (co-authored with Heidi Hartmann). >P>Patricia A. Roos is Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University and author of Gender and Work: A Comparative Analysis of Industrial Societies.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Barbara F. Reskin
  • Polly A. Phipps
  • Chole E. Bird
  • Katharine M. Donato
  • Barbara J. Thomas
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Philadelphia
Publication year:
  • 1990