Occupational gender segregation in post-apartheid South Africa

Type Journal Article - Feminist Economics
Title Occupational gender segregation in post-apartheid South Africa
Volume 0
Issue 0
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
Page numbers 1-32
URL https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13545701.2021.1906439
This study shows that occupations in South Africa are segregated and stratified by gender. While some women (mostly Black and “Coloured”) overwhelmingly fill low-paying jobs, others (mostly White and Indian/Asian, but also Coloured) tend to fill higher-paying professional positions. This paper finds evidence of a long-term reduction in gender segregation and stratification, with women and men entering occupations previously dominated by the other gender, although this trend is sensitive to several data considerations. Most recent evidence, however, points to stagnation in this process. Distinct worker characteristics by gender – including education, location, or age – cannot explain the existing segregation or women's overrepresentation in low-paying jobs, compared with men's representation. They do partially explain the overrepresentation of women in some higher-paying positions and the declining stratification of the labor market by gender. Education is the primary driver for upward mobility for women and gender equality in the South African labor market. Note: This study follows the current South African government’s usage of the racial category “Coloured,” with the caveat that the term is not in acceptable use outside South Africa.HIGHLIGHTS Gendered occupations and pay gaps in South Africa have not been adequately studied.Black women suffer double labor segregation in South Africa, by gender and by race.Post-apartheid progress in reducing labor segregation has been faster by gender than by race.Improved education offers women a route to better-paid professional occupationsAlthough women now access better jobs, managerial positions remain disproportionately male.

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