chapter  1
23 Pages

Pathways Out of the Pink-Collar Ghetto

Working women earn less than men do for many reasons: head-to-head dis­ crimination, where a woman is doing the same job as a man yet earning less for it; expectations and demands relating to unpaid work at home, where women are penalized for interrupting or postponing their educations and careers to care for children and parents, and assuming other such “private realm” burdens of the household; and occupational segregation by gender, where women tend to work in “women’s jobs” and men tend to work in “men’s jobs” and the former are remunerated far less than are the latter. The implications of this disparity are especially acute among women and men who do not earn four-year college degrees, a population that comprises the majority of the workforce. Although the proportion of the workforce earning a four-year college degree has increased over time, approximately threefourths of the United States population has never earned one. Over onefourth of the population never enrolls in formal schooling again after obtaining a high school diploma, an important yet overlooked trend examined by James Rosenbaum in Beyond College fo r All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half? Judging by the aspirations many parents have for their children and many individuals have for themselves, which commonly include a college educa­ tion, earning a four-year college degree would seem to be a universal goal.