Sex Segregation in the Work Place
Missing Works Cited
Why are most brain surgeons and CEO's male? Why are most secretaries and nurses female? Why not female surgeons and male nurses? These are simple and frequent questions that can be answered by most Sociologist and Theorists. Sociologists and Theorists equate this type of job inequality phenomenon with occupational sex segregation. Sex segregation in the workplace is one of the most visible signs of inequality in the labor market. In almost every work setting, it is rare to see men and women working at the same job. When they do, they usually perform different tasks, with unequal levels of responsibility and authority. Even when job tasks are virtually identical, it is not uncommon to find men and women allocated to distinct job classifications within an organization. The two theoretical perspectives that I will discuss in order to explain this sex segregation are neo-classical and human capital theories, and institutional and labor market segmentation theories.
Neo-classical economics assumes that workers and employers are perfectly rational and that labor markets function efficiently and are perfectly competitive. Workers seek out the best-paying jobs after taking into consideration their own personal endowments (education and experience), obligations (young child to take care of), and preferences (a pleasant work environment). Employers try to maximize profits by maximizing productivity and minimizing costs to the extent possible, but because of competition and efficient labor markets, employers pay workers their marginal product. So, this theory explains why more males than females are surgeons; because they seem to have better opportunities for education and they tend to lack certain obligations that females have. Whereas many women find it difficult to find the time to obtain this education because of their certain obligations life hands them, for example taking care of a family and raising children.
When explaining occupational sex segregation by sex, researchers usually...