Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology, Applied

First Advisor

Cinzia Solari

Second Advisor

Russell Schutt

Third Advisor

Keith Bentele


In this paper I explore how the sex composition of occupations affects the work-family benefits made available to employees. Conducting a secondary data analysis on a subsample from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY 2010), I utilize a logistic regression modeling strategy including individual-level, workplace-level, and occupation-level characteristics. Previous literature suggests that male-dominated occupations may be unlikely to make work-family benefits available. I hypothesized that female-dominated occupations would be more likely than male-dominated occupations to offer work-family benefits. Consistent with the literature, I found that male-dominated occupations are not likely to offer parental leave or flexible schedules, especially if they are low-prestige occupations. Surprisingly, however, women in male-dominated occupations were especially likely to have parental leave available. Also surprising, I found that occupations with balanced sex compositions offered men the best access to parental leave compared to men in male-dominated occupations and offered both men and women the best access to flexible work schedules compared to male- or female-dominated occupations. My study suggests that efforts to balance occupational sex compositions may result in better availability of work-family benefits for both men and women. Importantly, I argue that the unequal distribution of benefits discovered within male-dominated occupations may create barriers for women trying to enter these occupations, reinforcing sex segregation in the United States' labor market.


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