SAGE Journals

Evidence for “Pushed Out” and “Opt Out” Factors in Women’s Career Inclusion Across the World of Work in the United States

Posted on 2022-02-09 - 01:07

There is an ongoing debate over the extent to which women “opt out” and/or are “pushed out” of various occupations (Kossek et al., 2017). To advance this debate, we explore the correspondence of women’s interests in stereotypically masculine work activities with the work activities of their occupations/occupational-aspirations. We examine 42,631 responses to a survey of employed and unemployed persons in the United States and analyze associations along all six of Holland’s (1997) interest/work-activity dimensions. Overall, we find support for a “pushed out” perspective as women’s interests in hands-on/practical, analytic/scientific, and managerial/sales-related work activities are less strongly associated with being employed in occupations with those activities – in comparison to similarly interested men. However, these effect sizes are small and we find support for “opt out” dynamics in relation to hands-on/practical occupations. Altogether, our results indicate the need to continue looking beyond women’s vocational interests as explanations of their underrepresentation.


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Journal of Career Assessment


Alex Glosenberg
Tara S. Behrend
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