D. Leeann Jolly

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Grimm, Paul Wozniak, Kirk Dansereau

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Data on the managerial and professional specialty occupations that were specified by the United States Census of the Population for the years 1950 through 1980 were used to analyze the influence of occupational sex ratios, growth rates, and male and female salary levels on the ability of females to move into those occupations. An analysis of the change in the Standardized Occupational Sex Ratio (SSR) showed that, over the thirty year period studied, growth rates became more important than salary levels in influencing movement toward parity in high status occupations.

Before the 1980 census year, occupational growth rates were found to interact with both male and female salary levels. During all four census years, slowly growing occupations experienced the smallest movement toward parity regardless of salary level. The lack of movement toward parity in slowly growing occupations shows evidence of gender division. In rapidly growing fields, lower salary levels for both males and females led to greater movement toward parity for females. Movement toward parity in rapidly growing fields that offered lower salaries was taken as evidence of less sheltering. In declining fields, occupations with above median female salaries allowed greater female entry than did those with below median female salaries. The opportunity for women to move into declining fields showed evidence of chain mobility.

By 1980, females were moving into managerial and professional specialty occupations at every salary level and growth rate; however, the greatest movement toward parity occurred in those occupations that were rapidly growing. Movement toward parity in rapidly growing occupations provided evidence of structural mobility. By 1980, rapidly growing occupations were experiencing fair sharing of occupational opportunity. The slowly growing occupations, though experiencing some female growth, still showed evidence of male sheltering.


Benefits and Compensation | Business | Human Resources Management | Inequality and Stratification | Sociology