Journal Article
Occupational gender segregation in post-apartheid South Africa

This study shows that occupations in South Africa are segregated and stratified by gender. While some women (mostly Black and 'Coloured') overwhelmingly fill low-paying jobs, others (mostly White and Indian/Asian, but also Coloured) tend to fill higher-paying professional positions.

This study finds evidence of a long-term reduction in gender segregation and stratification, with women and men entering occupations previously dominated by the other gender, although this trend is sensitive to several data considerations. Most recent evidence, however, points to stagnation in this process.

Distinct worker characteristics by gender – including education, location, or age – cannot explain the existing segregation or women's over-representation in low-paying jobs, compared with men's representation. They do partially explain the overrepresentation of women in some higher-paying positions and the declining stratification of the labor market by gender. Education is the primary driver for upward mobility for women and gender equality in the South African labor market.

Note: This study follows the current South African government’s usage of the racial category 'Coloured', with the caveat that the term is not in acceptable use outside South Africa.

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