EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Spatial Variation in U.S. Labor Markets and Workplace Gender Segregation: 1980–2005*


Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

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Many studies of workplace inequality have examined why workplace gender segregation still exists and how gender segregation affects workplaces (Cohen, Huffman, and Knauer 2009 Work and Occupations 36(4):318; Huffman, Cohen, and Pearlman 2010 Administrative Science Quarterly 55(2):255). Yet, fewer studies have examined how space might affect gender segregation. In this paper, we investigate two types of space, normative space and industrial space, and their influence on gender workplace segregation within geographic space. We use data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and mixed models to examine how normative and industrial spaces affect workplaces within geographic space. We find that both measures of normative and industrial space predict differing levels of gender segregation within geographic spaces (measured via commuting zones). In addition, the effects normative space (women's share of the labor force) has on gender segregation are mediated by industrial restructuring.

Journal Title

Sociological Inquiry