Gendered skills and unemployed men's resistance to “women's work”

Jill E. Yavorsky, Enrica N. Ruggs, Janette S. Dill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent decades, many male-dominated jobs have contracted, while many female-dominated jobs have increased. Scholars have tied these changes to men's declining employment rates; yet, little attention has been paid to unemployed men's consideration of work associated with women. Based on a sample of 441 unemployed men, we used an experimental survey design to examine the likelihood that unemployed men pass up applying to a job based on the job's gender composition, masculine/feminine-typed skills, and pay. We also examined their perceptions about how other unemployed men would respond to such jobs. We supplement these findings with content analyses of qualitative responses for why unemployed men would or would not work in a female-dominated job. Our findings suggest that unemployed men were willing to work in jobs with a higher proportion of women, but resisted jobs requiring them to perform feminine-typed skills, even if it meant being unemployed longer. Notably, respondents believed other men would be more likely to pass applying to both female-dominated jobs and jobs that required feminine-typed skills. Broadly, this study sheds important light on how unemployed men perceive non-traditional work and identifies key factors that contribute to men's persistent low representation in jobs associated with women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1524-1545
Number of pages22
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • female-dominated jobs
  • gender
  • men and masculinity
  • unemployment
  • work and occupations


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