The context of women's market careers: A cross-national study

M. Charles, M. Buchmann, S. Halebsky, J. M. Powers, M. M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The authors compare determinants of labor force participation and occupational sex typing over a 20-year period for matched samples of American and Swiss women. Results indicate important cross-national differences in processes governing women's market careers. These are in line with the authors' predictions regarding mediating effects of specific cultural, organizational, and institutional factors that differentiate the two countries. Female labor force participation, is more strongly influenced by family configuration in Switzerland than in the United States. This can be attributed to powerful cultural and organizational constraints on maternal employment in Switzerland. In addition, the association between educational credentials and occupational sex typing is stronger and more persistent in Switzerland due probably to the greater differentiation and tighter market linkages characterizing the Swiss educational system. Results suggest that the explanatory power of conventional individual-level models of female market behavior varies depending on the structural and normative conditions under which women make life choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-396
Number of pages26
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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