Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-29-2008

Journal / Book Title

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy


Purpose: Given South Africa’s apartheid history, studies have primarily focused on racial discrimination in employment outcomes, with lesser attention paid to gender and context. This paper fills an important gap by examining the combined effect of macro-and micro-level factors on occupational sex segregation in post-apartheid South Africa. Intersections by race are also explored. Design/methodology/approach A multilevel multinomial logistic regression is used to examine the influence of various supply and demand variables on women’s placement in white- and blue-collar male-dominated occupations. Data from the 2001 Census and other published sources are used, with women nested in magisterial districts. Findings Demand-side results indicate that service sector specialization augments differentiation by increasing women’s opportunities in both white-collar male- and female-dominated occupations. Contrary to expectations, the urban residence does not influence women’s, particularly African women’s, placement in any male-type positions, although Whites (white-collar) and Coloureds (blue-collar) fare better. Supply-side human capital models are supported in general with African women receiving higher returns from education relative to others, although theories of “maternal incompatibility” are partially disproved. Finally, among all racial groups, African women are least likely to be employed in any male-dominated occupations, highlighting their marginalization and sustained discrimination in the labor market. Practical implications An analysis of women’s placement in white- and blue-collar male-dominated occupations by race provides practical information to design equitable work policies by gender and race. Originality/value Very few empirical studies have examined occupational sex segregation (using detailed 3-digit data) in developing countries, including South Africa. Methodologically, the paper uses multilevel techniques to correctly estimate ways in which context influences individual outcomes. Finally, it contributes to the literature on intersectionality by examining how gender and race sustain systems of inequality.



Published Citation

Parashar, Sangeeta. "Marginalized by race and place: Occupational sex segregation in post-Apartheid South Africa." PhD diss., 2008.