Gender-based occupational segregation in the 1990's

The importance of occupational sex segregation as a form of discrimination is recognised in ILO Convention on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), 1958 (No. 111). It is one of the most insidious aspects of gender inequality in the labour market, since it is generally accompanied by lower pay and worse working conditions in female occupations. It is also one of the most enduring aspects of labour markets around the world.

First, the paper discusses the types, causes and impact of occupational segregation by sex. It then looks at current levels of both horizontal and vertical segregation around the world and at the changes that occurred in the 1990s (in terms of female participation in the labour force, index of dissimilarity, genderdominated occupations, and new and emerging occupation of computer programmer, and largest female and male dominated occupations). The analysis of trends in occupational segregation is primarily based on a sample of fifteen countries from the ILO SEGREGAT database (see Annex). Finally, the paper turns to policies to reduce occupational segregation (covering both measures before entering the labour market and while at work), using as an illustrative example a Nordic project to combat occupational sex segregation.