Disciplines du diplôme de master et insertion professionnelle selon le genre

Erb, L-A., Éducation formations, 2018, L’égalité entre les filles et les garçons, entre les femmes et les hommes, dans le système éducatif, 3 (98), pp.85-111.


Topics: Education, Employability, Gender differences

Year: 2018

Country: France

The author of this study examines the role of gender differences in academic choices on employability. Key takeaways: 

  1. During their school and university career, women and men do not choose the same fields of study
  2. These field differences account for half of the gender gap in access to stable jobs and high wages


Recent research shows that in 2017 in France, for the first time, women had reached the same share of employment in executive positions as men. However, this finding conceals the persistent gender gap on the labour market. The present study examines the persistence of this gender gap by taking into account the role of disciplinary specialization and the trajectory of entry into the labour market. The author argues that the discipline studied is a significant element in understanding gender inequality and occupational segregation. 


To study disciplinary specialization, the author uses data from the 8th national survey of university graduates in 2013 conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. First, he studies how disciplines are associated with professional environments and how they define differently the employment conditions of men and women with descriptive statistics. Then, he examines the influence of disciplinary segregation on the inequalities of access to the labour market between women and men in a logit model with marginal effects. 


First, he shows that after graduating with a master’s degree, working conditions are more difficult for women who are overrepresented in job structures with difficult working conditions (public sector, education, health), while men are overrepresented in the private sector. The differences in working conditions are studied in regard to the fields’ degree of feminization. The segregation process starts in higher education when women and men choose the field of study. He shows that women are more numerous in the fields that give less access to the labour market and have more precarious working conditions. Women and men graduated from predominantly male fields have higher access to high-skilled jobs and higher wages than those graduated from predominantly female fields.  Finally, these findings are confirmed by the results of the logistic regression that show that disciplines have a significant explanatory power for the gender gap in access to high-skilled employment and wages. The employer and the sector also explain the gender gap. 

The article has important implications for policy makers who should fight the gender stereotypes resulting in a segregated choice of study by promoting and recognizing the skills and qualifications of predominantly female occupations. However, the article does not take into account socio-economic factors that might have an impact on access to the labour market. Future research could benefit from including these factors and expanding the analysis to other degrees (“grandes écoles”). 

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