In their recent book, Social Class in Modern Britain, Marshall, Newby et al. specify gender as the most controversial issue confronting present-day class analysts (1988: 98).1 Accepting this as true, and being a feminist committed to research on women's labour force participation and a feminist asked to present the supposed antifeminist side of the controversy, I am sorely tempted to invoke W. C. Fields's 'All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia', pack my bags and head for the nearest airport. Alas, as so often happens-both professionally and personallysecond thoughts are allowed to prevail over initial impulses, and the proffered task is taken up. In this particular instance, however, hesitation soon turned into gentle irony as, in preparing to write a defence of Goldthorpe's views on women and class analysis, I realized afresh the variety and quality of the contributions he has made, however reluctantly, to our understanding of the position of women in society. For example:
Goldthorpe (1983a, 1987a; Erikson and Goldthorpe, 1988b) has provided further documentation, in Britain and across five other industrial nations, of the continued existence of sex segregation in the labour market, to the marked disadvantage of women. In comparison with men, women of all class origins are significantly more likely to experience absolute downward occupational mobility, with, moreover, nearly half of all women (and men) required to change places in the present occupational structure in order for equality in occupational attainment between men and women to exist.