DOI: 10.1177/000312249906400107 ISSN:

Revolving Doors Reexamined: Occupational Sex Segregation over the Life Course

Tak Wing Chan
  • Sociology and Political Science

Scholars have argued that although occupational sex segregation is high in aggregate terms, women frequently move between sex-typical and sex-atypical occupations over the life course—hence the “revolving doors.” I reexamine the revolving doors thesis using career history data from Great Britain. I argue that the conventional boundaries for occupational sex types need revision, at least for Britain. Specifically, female-dominated occupations should be distinguished from heavily female-dominated occupations. I show that although the strong version of the revolving doors thesis (which rules out path dependence) does not apply to both “female” and “heavily female” occupations, a weak version describes the former better than it does the latter. This result points to a ghetto effect.

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