Blackburn (2009) stated that the two main forms of segregation are ethnicity and gender. This essay will focus on these two types of segregation; this will include gender segregation present today in the Irish labour market and ethnic residential segregation in contemporary Ireland. It will first discuss how gender segregation is present today in the Irish labour market, north and south.
The Irish labour market has undergone significant change over the last ten years (Barry and Sherlock, 2008). The level of employment has risen due to an increase in women’s paid employment and increasing levels of migration into Ireland (Barry, Potter and Healy, 2007; Barry and Sherlock, 2008). Gender segregation is concerned with how men and women are separated within different occupations (Blackburn, 2009; Meulders et al, 2010). Furthermore, it is also refers to the positions within employment and work patterns, for instance part-time employment (Potter, 2014). Two types of segregation can be distinguished; this includes horizontal and vertical segregation (Meulders et al, 2010; Potter, 2014). Horizontal segregation is the over or under representation of a certain group in occupations or sectors, whereas vertical segregation refers to the job hierarchy (Meulders et al, 2010; Potter, 2014). This essay will look at horizontal segregation and vertical segregation to determine whether gender segregation is present in contemporary Irish society, north and south.
Gender segregation within the labour market is argued to be an issue within the whole of Ireland (Barry and Sherlock, 2008). Ireland has been described as a patriarchal society (O’Connor, 2000). To put it simply, this suggests that Irish society is dominated by males and that women are exploited (Share, Tovey and Corcoran, 2007). Gender segregation within the workforce reflects and reinforces patriarchal control. In addition, the “values attached to certain skills are in part socially and historically determined” (Barry, Potter and Healy, 2007). This implies that skills and occupations are related to gender norms and that occupations that are identified with women are devalued. Traditional gender norms place the caring responsibilities on women. For instance, in contemporary Irish society, north and south, women’s employment is concentrated in services whereas men dominate areas such as financial, construction and engineering (Barry, Potter and Healy, 2007; Potter, 2014). Women tend to work in areas that are perceived as 'women's work' (Women and Work Commission, 2006); this reinforces gender stereotypes. In the whole of Ireland, women are concentrated in service sectors and that has led to women receiving lower paid occupations (Barry, Potter, Healy, 2007); this may contribute to the gender pay gap within Irish society today. It is these cultural and traditional gender norms that contribute to gender segregation in contemporary Ireland.
Potter and Hill (2009) addressed gender segregation in the Northern