Cultural or Structural? Explaining Men’s Transition to Paid Care Work Jobs

Shengwei Sun , Washington University in St. Louis

Gender occupational integration has become stalled and the pattern is “uneven.” Why do men cross gendered occupational boundaries or not? Whereas the cultural approach explains men’s reluctance to enter female-dominated occupations as a matter of gendered preference, the structural approach emphasizes the differential constraints that men face in the labor market by race and class backgrounds. This study investigates whether the difficulty in encouraging men to enter female-typed care occupations can be boiled down to a matter of rigid gender attitude and/or is to be understood as a labor market mobility issue. I use nationally representative, longitudinal data and employ discrete-time multinomial logit regressions to estimate the hazards of men entering different types of care work jobs. Findings from this study provide support for both cultural and structural approaches, calling for a combination of both perspectives in understanding the factors leading men to or preventing them from entering non-traditional jobs.

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 Presented in Session 8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, & Inequality