The "State" of Equal Employment Opportunity Law and Managerial Gender Diversity




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Univ California Press


Women's underrepresentation in management is a persistent social problem. We take a new approach to understanding the lack of managerial gender diversity by investigating how U.S. state equal employment opportunity laws are related to women's presence in upper and lower management. We draw on data from 2010 EEO-1 reports documenting managerial sex composition in U.S. work establishments and a state employment law database to answer our research questions. State mandates are found to be differentially associated with upper- versus lower-level managerial gender diversity. Establishments in states with an equal pay law, or that once ratified the ERA, employ more women in upper management than those in states without such a law or in nonratifying states, but this holds only in establishments in industries that typically employ women. In contrast, establishments in states that require anti-discrimination workplace postings employ fewer women in upper-management than those in states without such a requirement. State equal pay laws, especially those adopted before federal equal pay legislation, family responsibility discrimination protections, and past ERA ratification are positively associated with women's lower-level managerial presence. Conversely, state expanded family and medical leave coverage, prohibited sex discrimination, and specific posting rules are negatively associated with women's presence in lower management. Results hold net of establishment, state, firm, and industry factors. We discuss the meaning behind differences across managerial level and the role of state regulation in moving toward greater managerial gender equity.



Gender diversity, Equal pay for equal work, Management, Women, Employment


©2014 Society for the Study of Social Problems, Inc.