Nowadays, in many modern societies, women are more successful in the general educational system compared to men. Not only have women surpassed men in terms of education attainment but also gender inequalities have been reversed. This general trend of women being better educated than men across different countries has been accompanied by post-industrial restructuring of labor markets.
While economic sectors and occupations traditionally dominated by men have been put under pressure and have declined, service jobs, which have traditionally been filled by women, have experienced an increase. In studying individuals’ transitions from education to employment, eduLIFE is able to see if the gender-specific division in labor markets emerges early in working life or only because of family formation. Though various studies exist on the topic of occupational gender segregation, it is notable that it is still an open question if occupational gender segregation is already visible and determined at the time of labor market entry.
A recent workshop organized by the ‘Education as a Lifelong Process – Comparing Educational Trajectories in Modern Societies’ (eduLIFE) project on 14th and 15th of November analyzed whether women are really able to convert their educational success to better positions and placements in the labor market. In this regard and contrary to other studies, the eduLIFE study – financed by the European Research Council (ERC) – explicitly focuses on the school-to-work transition - the time when young men and women enter the labor market.
Taking full advantage of international longitudinal data, the majority of studies focused on how gender inequalities for young men and women entering their first significant job developed over cohorts and how different educational pathways drive those inequalities. 27 researchers from northern, southern and central Europe, USA, and Australia, presented their findings at the workshop that took place in the Sala del Capitolo in the European University Institute.
In general, the manifold results revealed striking gender differences being present already at the beginning of employment careers. Nevertheless, the magnitude of gender differences and inequalities depend on the outcome under study. For instance, differences in terms of job prestige are less pronounced compared to gender differences in terms of income and job authority. Clear patterns emerged especially in post-socialist countries like Estonia and Russia, where the fall of the Iron Curtain lead to a sharp increase in gender inequalities.
This workshop, organized by Professor Hans-Peter Blossfeld, forms part of a new series of events at the newly created Comparative Life Course and Inequality Research Centre (CLIC).