Occupational Segregation

Affirmative Action is a right not a privilege that should be fought for. Everybody has a right to be taken into consideration without discrimination no matter their race, religion, national origin and gender. Women should strive for the right for equal representation throughout the workforce. While our men and women fight for our freedom, as citizen we fight for our rights.

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“Occupational Segregation”

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Occupation Segregation is still a huge issue in the military and civilian world. Women and men are still not represented the way they should be across the workforce and Universities; equally. Affirmative Action ordered by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967, which guaranteed hire without discrimination of race, religion, national origin and gender is falling through the cracks. Affirmative Action, which is enforced by the Officer of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCC), which is an agency under U.S Department of labor, should take a hard look at their policies as mentioned having to do with women: they are earning less in female jobs at all levels of experience which suggests that women cannot maximize lifetime earnings by choosing female jobs. In spite of dramatic increases of women the labor market during this century, differences in the occupational distribution of men and women remain.

According to Firestone, J.M (1992) the issue of gender equality in employment has given rise to numerous policies in advanced industrial countries, all aimed at tackling gender discrimination regarding recruitment, salary, and promotion. Yet sex segregation exists when men and women are not representatively distributed across occupations. Women are disproportionately overrepresented in clerical and service jobs, preventing them from maximizing lifetime earnings by choosing a ‘suitable’ job according to society. In the mean time, men are much more likely to be or seen as more ‘suitable’ in management, executive, and blue-collar positions. There is still occupation segregation when a comparison of civilian and military workforce is made. A key difference between the roles of women in civilian organizations and those in the military exists: military roles are decreed by federal statute and military policies. Thus, the same laws that increase the number of women in the military can also be used to define their roles within its structure.

In spite of these recent changes, evidence persists that the institutional role of soldier remains stereotyped as male, and that the utilization of women in the military remains largely based on the conventional definition of women’s work in American society. According to Firestone J.M (1992), two other conditions impact the distribution of women in military occupational categories relative to their civilian counterparts. First, because pay in the military is based on rank and tenure rather than occupation or individual characteristics (race, sex), women receive equal pay to that of men of comparable rank. Minor exceptions exist, but for the most part, a male master sergeant supply custodian and a female master sergeant computer specialist draw the same pay if they have equal years of service. Second, women are very nearly comparably represented across officer and enlisted categories, unlike their underrepresentation in management and executive categories in the civilian work force.

Affirmative action policies in job advertisements for civilian leadership positions affect women’s and men’s inclination to apply. According Nater, C., & Sczesny, S. (2016) management students received advertisements that differed in the strictness of announced gender policies: no statement, women explicitly invited to apply, preferential treatment of equally qualified women, or quota of 40% women. When women were treated preferentially, female participants reported higher self?ascribed fit, which resulted in higher inclinations to apply compared with the control condition and with men. However, when quota regulations were active, female participants showed neither an increased self?ascribed fit nor higher inclinations to apply. Women reported the lowest inclination to apply under this strictest affirmative action policy in favor of their social group, whereas men’s willingness to apply was higher than in all the other conditions. This finding contradicts past results from laboratory?based economic experiments, where women’s willingness to enter competitions increased when strong policy interventions were active and men’s willingness did not differ across the policy treatments, Balafoutas & Sutter, (2012). With the aim of accelerating progress towards a better gender balance on the corporate boards, many societies are developing ways of providing equal opportunities for men and women. The most direct form of ensuring gender parity is a gender quota. Here, maximum weight is given to the demographic criterion of gender, whereas the person’s quali?cations play a secondary role (Harrison, Kravitz, Mayer, Leslie, & Lev-Arey, 2006).

According to an article by Martha M. Bakker (2016) the gender bias can also be seen in academia, favoring men over women penetrates virtually all domains of academia. Consequential inequality includes positions, promotions to higher positions, income levels at equal positions, success in obtaining grants, authorship of peer reviewed papers, quality evaluations of track records, and student evaluation. Examples of actions to reduce differences in income levels between women and men at equal positions could include raising awareness and producing guidelines for managers, and raising awareness amongst women so they can improve negotiation positions. Actions to reduce acceptance rates of peer-reviewed articles could include establishing rigorous double-blind review systems that rule out any suggestion about the sex of the author(s). Ultimately, reducing gender bias requires effective interventions in current practices, as gender bias is persistent and unlikely to fade away without deliberate action.

Women problem in climbing the ladder start at Universities where they are not properly represented, a study conducted at U of T reports major problems women face at the University which include a male monopoly’ of university life, a lack of opportunity for women to take time off for pregnancy and child-rearing, and the confinement of women to low-level jobs. Recommendations made by a report to fix the issues included the following guidelines on sexism in the classroom; an expansion of the women’s studies program; equal support of men’s and women’s athletics; more services to help mature women return to school; greater consideration for the rights of lower-level administrative staff (mostly women) and subsidized day care. Professor David Rayside, a member of the committee, called the report a response to the relative lack of change in the status of women at U of T in the past 10 to 15 years.

Affirmative Action plans are being threatened by some states like Michigan that tried to petition to amend so of the rights. According to Crenshaw, Kimberle (2009) women which are a sizable, multiracial, multigenerational and cross-class bloc of voters, their collective political muscle could stop Connerly’s initiatives in their tracks. Moreover, women are not simply potential allies in the struggle to maintain affirmative action; they are its principal beneficiaries. Affirmative action has helped integrate them into all sectors of the American economy. From police and fire departments to courtrooms and boardrooms, affirmative action has opened doors of opportunity for women to enter. Yet in Michigan, for example, an exit poll showed that 59 percent of white women voted for the CRI, while 82 percent of women of color voted against it. Not only are women not a coherent voting bloc on this issue, they’re more divided on it than men are. This may well lead many white women to imagine themselves not as beneficiaries of these policies but as the aggressors taking away from men.

As previously mentioned, in spite of dramatic increases of women into the labor market during this century, differences in the occupational distribution of men and women remains; if women don’t unite as a whole and fight for their right they will either get used to being second best or fight to work to even out the odds. Affirmative action is a necessity that should be fought for not relinquished because it takes away from men, if women have the same education and experience they should expect to be paid equal to men and expect to be promoted to higher positions with no hesitation. A woman taking time off for pregnancy and child-rearing is not a reason for someone to fire them or not hire them because of the chance that it can happen. Women are constantly fighting for equal rights, affirmative action plans are just one way to make the scale balance out a little.


  1. Bakker, Martha M., and Maarten H. Jacobs. “”Tenure Track Policy Increases Representation of Women in Senior Academic Positions, but Is Insufficient to Achieve Gender Balance.”” PLoS ONE, vol. 11, no. 9, 2016, p. e0163376. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com.suscorp.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/A471775999/OVIC?u=loui86930&sid=OVIC&xid=2e1fa143. Accessed 2 Dec. 2018.
  2. Balafoutas, L., & Sutter, M. (2012). Affirmative action policies promote women and do not harm efficiency in the laboratory. Science, 335, 579582. https://dx.doi.org.suscorp.idm.oclc.org/10.1126/science.1211180
  3. Crenshaw, Kimberle. “”Affirmative Action Is Necessary and Is Not Special Treatment.”” Racism, edited by No?«l Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2009. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010060272/OVIC?u=loui86930&sid=OVIC&xid=f7902c7d. Accessed 2 Dec. 2018. Originally published as “”A Preference for Deception,”” Ms. Magazine, vol. 18, no. 1, Winter 2008, pp. 39-41.
  4. Firestone, J. M. (1992). Occupational Segregation: Comparing the Civilian and Military Work Force. Armed Forces & Society (0095327X), 18(3), 363“381. Retrieved from https://suscorp.idm.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9208100004&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  5. Nater, C., & Sczesny, S. (2016). Affirmative action policies in job advertisements for leadership positions: How they affect women’s and men’s inclination to apply. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46(7), 891“902. https://doi-org.suscorp.idm.oclc.org/10.1002/ejsp.2200
  6. “”Status of women report cites inequalities Affirmative action program urged for U of T.”” Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada], 20 Jan. 1986, p. A14. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A165506517/OVIC?u=loui86930&sid=OVIC&xid=ce8378d1. Accessed 2 Dec. 2018.
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Occupational Segregation. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved December 8, 2022 , from

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