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Some things never change: gender segregation in higher education across eight countries and three decades

Abstract : This article examines the overall strength, the qualitative pattern, and the evolution over time of gender segregation in higher education across eight European countries. Although previous studies have focused primarily on the divide between humanistic and scientific fields, this work indicates that this divide accounts for no more than half of the association between gender and college major. The degree of gender imbalance is highly variable within scientific fields as well as within humanistic fields.We can make sense of these findings once we posit the existence of a second, equally important gender divide that can be described as the care–technical divide. Accordingly, this work develops a topological model to show that these two dimensions together account for more than 90 percent of gender segregation in the countries under study. Moreover, this model can be used to show the noticeable degree of cross-national stability in both the qualitative pattern and the overall strength of gender segregation. The empirical analyses also point to a generalized stagnation of integration of college majors in recent decades. Taken together, these results indicate that gender segregation has stabilized to an almost identical level and displays a similar qualitative pattern in several countries. This suggests that cultural forces underlying gender segregation are highly resilient, not least because they are sustained by a number of structural developments in educational and occupational institutions.
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Carlo Barone. Some things never change: gender segregation in higher education across eight countries and three decades. Sociology of Education, American Sociological Association, 2011, 84 (2), pp.157 - 176. ⟨10.1177/0038040711402099⟩. ⟨hal-03606025⟩

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