© 2012

The Contextual Challenges of Occupational Sex Segregation

Deciphering Cross-National Differences in Europe

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About this book


This study untangles the complex interplay of individual and contextual factors shaping cross-national differences in horizontal and vertical occupational sex segregation. It relates the individual factors affecting occupational decisions to the broader social and economic context within a given society. Following this approach, Stephanie Steinmetz provides a comprehensive overview of the development and causes of cross-national differences in occupational sex segregation. She offers insights into the positioning of 21 EU Members States, particularly of former CCE countries. Based on advanced multi-level models, the study shows that institutional factors, such as the organization of educational systems, post-industrial developments, social policies, and the national ‘gender culture’, play a crucial role in shaping sex segregation processes apart from individual factors. The author clarifies that a distinct set of institutional factors is relevant to each of the two dimensions of occupational sex segregation and that these factors operate in different directions: some reduce horizontal segregation while at the same time aggravating the vertical aspect. Finally, the study assesses the empirical findings from a political perspective by addressing the future contextual challenges of EU Member States seeking to attain higher gender equality on the labour market.


Arbeitsmarktungleichheit Europäische Wohlsfahrtsstaaten Soziale Ungleichheit

About the authors

Dr. Stephanie Steinmetz completed her doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Walter Müller at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), University of Mannheim. She is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

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