University of Maryland

Women's Work and Working Women:
The Demand for Female Labor

Cotter, David A., Joan M. Hermsen, and Reeve Vanneman. "Women's Work and Working Women: The Demand for Female Labor" 2001. Gender & Society 15 (June): 429-452.


The demand for female labor is a central explanatory component of macrostructural theories of gender stratification. This study analyzes how the structural demand for female labor affects gender differences in labor force participation. The Authors develop a measure of the gendered demand for labor by indexing the degree to which the occupational structure is skewed toward usually male or female occupations. Using census data from 1910 through 1990 and National Longitudinal Sample of Youth (NLSY) data from 261 contemporary U.S. labor markets, the authors show that the gender difference in labor force participation covaries across time and space with this measure of the demand for female labor.

Last updated April 1, 2004
comments to: Reeve Vanneman.