Journal of Organizational Behavior

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Volume 27 Issue 2 (March 2006), Pages 111-255

Evolved sex differences and occupational segregation (pages 143-162)


Average sex differences in workplace outcomes are often assumed to be products of a malfunctioning labor market that discourages women from nontraditional occupations and a biased educational system that leaves women inadequately prepared for scientific and technical work. Rather than being a product purely of discriminatory demand, however, many sex differences in occupational distribution are at least partially a result of an imbalance in supply. Sex differences in both temperament and cognitive ability, which are products of our evolutionary history, predispose men and women toward different occupational behavior. The tendency of men to predominate in fields imposing high quantitative demands, high physical risk, and low social demands, and the tendency of women to be drawn to less quantitatively demanding fields, safer jobs, and jobs with a higher social content are, at least in part, artifacts of an evolutionary history that has left the human species with a sexually dimorphic mind. These differences are proximately mediated by sex hormones. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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