Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
When social scientists write of a “gender gap,” they mean a systematic difference or disparity between women and men. Frequently discussed gender gaps are those in the labor market and paid employment as well as in family work and relationships. The gender gaps in these areas are not constant but instead vary across time and place; moreover, within a given place or time, the gaps often differ by group membership (e.g., one's race or social class). Because of such variation, explanations of gender gaps tend to focus on social factors rather than biological or other natural causes. Men are still more likely to be employed for pay than are women. The gender gap in U.S. labor force participation dropped over the past century, with increasing numbers of women but fewer men reporting they work outside of the home (although the proportion of women entering the labor force peaked in the ...