Gender-Specific Career Characteristics and Health Trajectories in France: A Long-Term Harm of Unskilled First Jobs, Career Disruptions, and Downward Mobility

Emmanuelle Cambois, INED
Clémentine Garrouste, Université Paris Dauphine
Ariane Pailhé, INED

Due to the well-documented gender occupational career divide, related to the persistent sexual division of labor, key career characteristics are unevenly distributed in men and women: low-skilled first job, downward occupational trajectory, career’s interruptions are overrepresented in women. In this study, we investigated whether these unequally distributed characteristics have an independent and long-lasting impact on men’s and women’s health trajectories. We used the French population survey "Health and Occupational Trajectories" comprising 2 waves (2006 and 2010). We focused on the 45-74 year-old individuals who were present at both waves (n = 5,904). Multinomial logistic regressions assessed whether the impact of past careers characteristics on self-perceived health (SPH) reported in 2006 and 2010. We found that the unskilled first jobs, interrupted or downward careers prior to 2006 impacted the 2006-2010 SPH trajectories in women; downward and stationary trajectories, and shift from self-employed to employed occupations impacted men’s health trajectories. The gender inequalities in first job opportunities and career discontinuity have long term health consequences for women. These results encourage further investigating how policies promoting equity in the labor force could help improving health and reducing the women’s health disadvantage.

Presented in Session 53: Gender and Health