Gender-based segregation in education, jobs and earnings in South Africa

Type Journal Article - World Development Perspectives
Title Gender-based segregation in education, jobs and earnings in South Africa
Volume 23
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
Page numbers 100348
This paper investigates gender-based segregation in education, jobs and earnings among African women in South Africa. By investigating these linkages, we aim to identify potential policy interventions that could affect some degree of de-segregation in the labour market and thereby reduce the gender wage gap. Using large, nationally representative labour force data samples of African workers, our findings confirm the existence of an earnings hierarchy reflecting a male dominance premium. Specifically, our results show that women working in male dominated self-employment experience the highest returns, followed by women employed in male dominated wage employment while working in female dominated wage employment and self-employment is associated with a wage penalty. However, trying to address wage inequality in the labour market through labour legislation is not likely to be effective if the wage gap is mainly driven by horizontal segregation. Our findings show that gender-based horizontal segregation of jobs is strongly correlated with gender-based segregation in the choices of post-secondary education. Based on our findings, we conclude that targeted training interventions for vocational qualifications of women in male dominated fields of study is likely to be the most plausible policy response that could reduce some of the differences in the earnings between African men and women. The negative economic effects of COVID 19 pandemic, which in South Africa affected women more severely in terms of labour market outcomes (Casale & Posel, 2020), may provide policymakers with a catalyst to challenge the constraints women face crossing over into male dominated jobs.

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