Essential Work Is Gender Segregated: This Shapes the Gendered Representation of Essential Workers in Political Office

Tiffany D. Barnes, Mirya R. Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To understand how gender structures the occupations of essential workers and which essential workers serve in political office. Methods: We first use population-level data by gender and occupation to examine the gender segregation of occupations deemed essential. Using the population composition as our baseline, we then examine descriptive representation using a new data set that codes the presence of essential workers in 30 state legislatures over 15 years. Results: We show that men and women make up similar shares of the occupations considered essential during COVID, but the occupations that they hold are highly gender segregated. We find that women essential workers and those from women-dominated occupations are dramatically underrepresented in state legislatures. Conclusion: Documenting the (lack of) representation of essential workers, and particularly those from women-dominated occupations, in decision-making bodies is a critical first step to understanding policy making in response to COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1827-1833
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Volume101
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the Southwestern Social Science Association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)

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