By Harriet Bradley, Geraldine Healy (auth.)

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This refers to the fact that within any particular occupational hierarchy (which usually takes the form of a pyramid) certain groups dominate in the top posts. These are almost always, in the United Kingdom at least, white men. Official statistics are not particularly useful in analysing vertical segregation as the categories they use are too large. Although a category like ‘managers’ gives some indication of which people hold authority, the term covers a multitude of different work statuses, from the CEO of a large multinational, to the personnel manager of a department store, to somebody running a chip shop.

Women are clustered in services, especially retail and administration. About one-third of women work in these occupations. Gender segregation at an occupational level is marked, as in Britain: in 1998 women were, for example, 98 per cent of secretaries, 95 per cent of receptionists, 89 per cent of nursing aides, 84 per cent of elementary schoolteachers and 78 per cent of waitresses (Walsh and Wrigley 2001). It is not possible to make a direct comparison with the United Kingdom as the categories used in the census are different.

Their position has some resemblances to that of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Britain in that they come out worst on most measures. However, a difference is that their participation rate is much higher (66 per cent in 1997), although it is lower than that of black and white women (both 77 per cent). 4) (US Bureau of Labor 2006), while the percentage of women aged 16 to 24 who are not in education or employment is highest among Hispanics (26 per cent), compared to black women (22 per cen)t and white women (8 per cent).

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