On the Natural Intelligence of Women in a World of Constrained Choice: How the Feminization of Clerical Work Contributed to Gender Pay Equality in Early Twentieth Century Canada,
Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 37, pp. 1045-1074, 2003
Posted: 17 Jan 2010
Date Written: 2003
This article examines some of the more pertinent details of the feminization of clerical work in the context of early twentieth century Canada and the impact that this had upon gender pay inequality. More generally, we address the question of the conditions under which labor market segmentation, such as the feminization of clerical work, can be expected to adversely affect the relative pay of women. To this end new labor market and related estimates for Canada are developed. The Canadian economy experienced significant economic change during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Output and population grew at unprecedented rates while agriculture became less important, Canada's urban population surpassed its rural, and, as well, new forms of business organization were implemented in the private and public sectors alike (Altman 2001a). It was during these times of dramatic economic and social change that the structure of Canadian women's market employment was transformed in fundamentally important ways. During the 1900-1930 period clerical work became the occupation of choice for a growing percentage of female labor force participants and, in turn, clerical work became increasingly feminized.
Keywords: Canada, Feminization, Gender, Pay inequality, Labour market
JEL Classification: N31, N32, J16, D63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation