EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Gender composition and share of management: Tipping points in US workplaces, 1980–2005


Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

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This paper examines how concepts of gendered organizations, tokenism and the glass escalator affect women’s share of management. Specifically, we examine how the gender composition of workplaces affects women’s share of management in 195,534 workplaces using EEO-1 report data collected from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1980 until 2005. The EEO-1 data allow us to explore the effects of gender composition on women’s share of management net of labor market change, industrial change, organizational determinants, and changes in workplace segregation using workplace-level data. We draw on past research to identify potential composition levels—tipping points—in which women have more or less share of management. Our findings suggest that across all compositions, ranging from women comprising less than 15% to over 85% of the workplace, larger percentages of the non-management women are associated with greater shares of women in management. Findings offer little support for the glass escalators hypothesis extended to workplaces, but once further contextualized, the findings do suggest that workplaces are gendered in such a way that tokenism works differently for men and women. Thus, our paper adds to the body of research on gender composition and further illustrates the need to determine under which conditions these social processes operate.

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Social Science Journal

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