The Future of Female-dominated Occupations

In all of the OECD countries, employment is seen to be sharply segregated by gender, with women's employment heavily concentrated in the same occupations: secretaries, primary school teachers, nurses and home helpers. These jobs, whose image has in many cases remained stereotyped and traditional, are at the heart of the information and service economy and have therefore been undergoing far-reaching changes due to information technologies, the development of a knowledge-based economy and population ageing. These transformations represent a major challenge for women's employment and for gender equality in the labour market.

Beyond the high segregation and concentration scales which are a constant of women's employment in all countries, international comparisons show that there can be differences in the status of a given occupation from one country to another. These differences can stem from the way in which occupations are defined or from how the relevant activities and work are organised. Understanding these differences is essential to identify ways to promote women's career prospects in female-dominated occupations.

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