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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
ff8 Title Gender inequality at work
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
URL http://www.vanneman.umd.edu/papers/cotter_etal.pdf
A cigarette advertising slogan of the 1980s targeting women stated “You’ve come a long
way baby.” By all accounts this is true. The transformation of men’s and women’s work roles
stands out among the many technological, economic, social and cultural changes in the last half
of the twentieth century. In 1950, only a small minority of women (29%) worked outside the
home, but in 2000 nearly three quarters of women did. In 1950 women who were employed
worked in a relative handful of nearly exclusively female occupations but by 2000 were spread
across nearly the entire spectrum of occupations. Finally, the average woman in 1950 earned
59¢ for every dollar earned by men while in 2000 she earned 73¢. The scope and scale of this
change is indeed monumental, and the momentum built up around it has made it seem almost
inevitable. But despite this progress, inequality remains – after all, even in 2000 men were still
more likely to have access to paid employment, to be employed in better jobs, and to be better
paid in those jobs. Additionally, across the three main dimensions we examine – work outside
the home, the kinds of jobs men and women do, and the relative pay they receive, this change
slowed and even reversed in the last decade of the century.

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