Richard A. Lippa, Kathleen Preston, John Penner (2014)
To explore factors associated with occupational sex segregation in the United States over the past four decades, we analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for the percent of women employed in 60 varied occupations from 1972 to 2010. Occupations were assessed on status, people-things orientation, and data-ideas orientation. Multilevel linear modeling (MLM) analyses showed that women increasingly entered high-status occupations from 1972 to 2010, but women's participation in things-oriented occupations (e.g., STEM fields and mechanical and construction trades) remained low and relatively stable. Occupations' data-ideas orientation was not consistently related to sex segregation. Because of women's increased participation in high-status occupations, occupational status became an increasingly weak predictor of women's participation rates in occupations, whereas occupations' people-things orientation became an increasingly strong predictor over time. These findings are discussed in relation to theories of occupational sex segregation and social policies to reduce occupational sex segregation.