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Women’s Work Pathways Across the Life Course1

Despite numerous changes in women’s employment in the latter half of the 20th century, women’s employment continues to be uneven and stalled. Drawing from data on women’s weekly work hours in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), we identify significant inequality in women’s labor forc... Full description

Journal Title: Demography 2016-04-01, Vol.53 (2), p.365-391
Main Author: Damaske, Sarah
Other Authors: Frech, Adrianne
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
ID: ISSN: 0070-3370
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recordid: cdi_pubmedcentral_primary_oai_pubmedcentral_nih_gov_5074082
title: Women’s Work Pathways Across the Life Course1
format: Article
creator:
  • Damaske, Sarah
  • Frech, Adrianne
subjects:
  • Article
  • Gender
  • Life Course
  • Socio-economic Status
  • Women
  • Work-Family
  • Workforce Participation
ispartof: Demography, 2016-04-01, Vol.53 (2), p.365-391
description: Despite numerous changes in women’s employment in the latter half of the 20th century, women’s employment continues to be uneven and stalled. Drawing from data on women’s weekly work hours in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), we identify significant inequality in women’s labor force experiences across adulthood. We find two pathways of stable fulltime work for women, three pathways of part-time employment, and a pathway of unpaid labor. A majority of women follow one of the two fulltime work pathways, while fewer than 10 percent follow a pathway of unpaid labor. Our findings provide evidence of the lasting influence of work-family conflict and early socio-economic advantages and disadvantages on women’s work pathways. Indeed, race, poverty, educational attainment, and early family characteristics significantly shaped women’s work careers. Work-family opportunities and constraints also were related to women’s work hours, as were a woman’s gendered beliefs and expectations. We conclude that women’s employment pathways are a product of both their resources and changing social environment as well as individual agency. Significantly, we point to social stratification, gender ideologies, and work-family constraints, working in concert, as key explanations for how women are “tracked” onto work pathways from an early age.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0070-3370
fulltext: no_fulltext
issn:
  • 0070-3370
  • 1533-7790
url: Link


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descriptionDespite numerous changes in women’s employment in the latter half of the 20th century, women’s employment continues to be uneven and stalled. Drawing from data on women’s weekly work hours in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), we identify significant inequality in women’s labor force experiences across adulthood. We find two pathways of stable fulltime work for women, three pathways of part-time employment, and a pathway of unpaid labor. A majority of women follow one of the two fulltime work pathways, while fewer than 10 percent follow a pathway of unpaid labor. Our findings provide evidence of the lasting influence of work-family conflict and early socio-economic advantages and disadvantages on women’s work pathways. Indeed, race, poverty, educational attainment, and early family characteristics significantly shaped women’s work careers. Work-family opportunities and constraints also were related to women’s work hours, as were a woman’s gendered beliefs and expectations. We conclude that women’s employment pathways are a product of both their resources and changing social environment as well as individual agency. Significantly, we point to social stratification, gender ideologies, and work-family constraints, working in concert, as key explanations for how women are “tracked” onto work pathways from an early age.
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abstractDespite numerous changes in women’s employment in the latter half of the 20th century, women’s employment continues to be uneven and stalled. Drawing from data on women’s weekly work hours in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), we identify significant inequality in women’s labor force experiences across adulthood. We find two pathways of stable fulltime work for women, three pathways of part-time employment, and a pathway of unpaid labor. A majority of women follow one of the two fulltime work pathways, while fewer than 10 percent follow a pathway of unpaid labor. Our findings provide evidence of the lasting influence of work-family conflict and early socio-economic advantages and disadvantages on women’s work pathways. Indeed, race, poverty, educational attainment, and early family characteristics significantly shaped women’s work careers. Work-family opportunities and constraints also were related to women’s work hours, as were a woman’s gendered beliefs and expectations. We conclude that women’s employment pathways are a product of both their resources and changing social environment as well as individual agency. Significantly, we point to social stratification, gender ideologies, and work-family constraints, working in concert, as key explanations for how women are “tracked” onto work pathways from an early age.
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