Sex and Pay in the Federal Government: Using Job Evaluation Systems to Implement Comparable Worth

By Doris M. Werwie | Go to book overview

1
Theories of Occupational Segregation and the Wage Gap

It has long been understood that there are substantial earnings differentials between men and women in the United States. For example, Nancy Rytina reported in a 1982 Monthly Labor Review article that "for men working full-time, the median weekly earnings in 1981 were 347 dollars. For women the median was 224 dollars or 65 percent that of men." She also notes that this ratio was only slightly higher than the 1967 figure of 62 percent.

Numerous studies (see Bergmann, 1973; Blau and Jusenius, 1976; Blumberg, 1980; Braverman, 1974; Fuchs, 1971; Reich et al., 1980) have explored occupational segregation by sex in an attempt to explain differences in earnings by sex, in the United States and elsewhere. In an extended analysis of the sex-based division of labor from 1900 to 1960, Edward Gross ( 1968) found that over this sixty-year period, two of every three women workers would have to change occupations in order to obtain full equality with males in the occupational distribution. Gross also observed that the "Index of Sexual Segregation" had not changed over the years, despite major social changes. Valerie Oppenheimer ( 1970), in reviewing the same period of time, 1900-1960, estimated that more than half of the women employed were in occupations in which at least two thirds of the work force were female. Louise Kappe Howe cites Stuart H. Garfinkel 1975 Monthly Labor Review article stating that "between 1962 and 1974 the number of employed women increased by 10 million or about 45 percent and

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