Related BLS programs | Related articles
April 2012, Vol. 135, No. 4
Women's employment, education, and the gender gap in 17 countries
Paula England, Janet Gornick, and Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer
Paula England is a professor of sociology at New York University, Janet Gornick is a professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and director of the Luxembourg Income Study, and Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer is a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at Harvard University. Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
Data from the Luxembourg Income Study show that, among married or cohabiting mothers, better educated women are more likely to be employed; gender inequality in annual earnings is thus less extreme among the well educated than among those with less education, driven largely by educated women's higher employment
One commonsense view of women's employment is that working-class women have always been more likely to work for pay than other women because of their families' need for their paycheck. But in fact, recent evidence shows higher levels of employment for highly educated women than for the less educated, despite the fact that well-educated women typically have higher earning husbands. This article uses data from a number of high- and middle-income countries to investigate how women's employment and hours worked, and the gender gap in annual and hourly earnings, vary by educational level. Focusing on commonalities across countries, the analyses presented are limited to adults 25 to 54 years of age who have a marital or cohabiting partner of the other gender and, for some considerations, to the subset of these adults who have children in the household. The countries examined are Austria, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom (U.K.), the United States (U.S.), and Uruguay.1
Download full article in PDF
1 The article studies "high" and "middle" income countries, as indicated by the World Bank classification system, which is based on per capita gross national income. At the time the datasets were constructed, 13 of the 17 countries examined were considered high-income countries and 4 – Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, and Uruguay – were classified as middle-income countries. In what follows, the term "affluent" encompasses both high- and middle-income (as opposed to low-income) countries.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers