9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN27 Regional Network on Southern European Societies

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Welfare State in Southern Europe and Employment: A Gender Issue Building II, Auditório C1.03

The feminization of occupations in Greece: A sign of egalitarianism or loss of social prestige?

Challenging sex-role stereotyping and segregation in a country?s occupational structure is usually taken as a step forward toward overcoming gender inequalities. It is, however, well documented that the feminization of occupations, apart from constituting a sign of egalitarianism, can have at least another consequence: as Goyder, Guppy and Thompson (2003) note, the feminization of an occupation can have negative effects on the prestige people attribute to it. The implications of the above for a South European society such as Greece is particularly important, given that cross cultural studies, such as the European Social Survey (ESS, 2004 and 2006), have indicated that, compared with North European societies, Southern European societies lag behind on a number of issues connected with gender (in)equality.
The proposed paper presents the findings from a sociological investigation of the way new and traditional occupations are perceived in contemporary Greek society in terms of their gender profile. More specifically, during the year 2006 the authors of the proposed paper conducted a national survey on nearly 500 participants, covering urban, semi-urban and rural areas. Forty occupations selected to map all levels of the ISCO-88 classification system were investigated for their gender profile; that is, how much people thought they were suited to men and women. Our analysis points to interesting findings regarding the way these occupations are perceived in contemporary Greek society by men and women respondents in terms of their gender suitability. This, in turn, is compared: (i) with the overall judgments people make about the respective social status of these occupations and (ii) with the importance respondents attribute to specific occupational classification?s criteria. In the analysis we outline the implications of these results for further studying how available opportunities (educational and occupational) become accessible to men and women and provide insights about the current state of gender relations in contemporary Greek society.