The gender gap in workplace authority: Variation across types of authority positions
Number of pages
SourceSocial Forces, 100, 2, (2021), pp. 599-621
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
The finding that men are disproportionately represented in positions of workplace authority to an extent that cannot be explained by human capital attributes and location within the structure of the economy is well documented. Arguing that different authority positions are differentially gendered, this article tests a more refined hypothesis: that the gender gap in authority is larger in positions that are relatively seen as more suitable for men. We distinguish authority positions by the amount of authority and the gender-typed control over resources they involve, hypothesizing a larger gender gap in positions with larger proportions of supervisory, as opposed to nonsupervisory tasks, and in positions with control over organizational, as opposed to human, resources. Our findings, based on Dutch linked survey and administrative data from about 32,000 employees who have started their careers between 1999 and 2016, largely support these ideas. We find an overall larger gender gap in positions with largely supervisory tasks as opposed to positions with only some supervisory tasks. Additionally, the authority gender gap is the largest in largely supervisory positions with control over organizational resources and smallest in positions with control over human resources. We discuss both theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
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