Glass Boundaries - Gendering the labour market - costs of occupational and educational segregation

Glass Boundaries

Promoter: Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES)


Institute for Social Research

CH Business Consulting, SA

Nova Ágora - Centro de Formação de Associação de Escolas

EEA Grants: 59,852

Total Amount: 59,852



What is the project about?

The project Glass Boundaries - Gendering the labour market - costs of occupational and educational segregation aims to gather evidence to support proposals for action aiming at the reduction of the economic and social costs of segregation, an objective in line with the National Strategy for Equality and Non-discrimination that combats discrimination based on sex and promotes equality between women and men. The project assumes an integrated approach in order to identify the multiple aspects of segregation, in the labour market and on vocational choices, and the way they influence economic inequalities between women and men.

It is a Small Grant Scheme #1 project - Studies on the economic impact of gender equality.


Working together for a competitive and inclusive Europe


The analyzes developed deepened the knowledge on the sexual segregation of employment and education in Portugal and, more specifically, on its impact on the gender wage gap. This knowledge supported the drawing of a set of policy measures for the desegregation of the education-training system, particularly regarding secondary vocational education.

Statistical and econometric analysis were applied to several databases to update knowledge on the levels of both horizontal and vertical gender segregation of employment by professions (Factsheet 1, Factsheet 2) and sectors of activity (Factsheet 3). A detailed characterization of sexual segregation in education was also made, focusing on secondary vocational education (Factsheet 4) and on the first cycle of higher education (Facsheet 5).

The econometric estimation of the explanatory factors for the gender wage gap quantified the contribution of the gender segregation of employment (around 17%), while also confirming results from previous studies showing that, in the Portuguese case, the gender wage gap appears to be mainly due to gender discrimination (around 70%).

Quantitative analysis of the intergenerational transmission of education in Portugal confirmed that the level of education of the parents is a strong determinant of the level of education of sons and daughters, also revealing that the mother's level of education is a stronger predictor of the children’s education than that of the father.

Qualitative methodologies (focus groups and individual interviews with key actors - teachers, school vocational guidance psychologists and employers) and the participatory discussion of the results in the final seminar contributed to the proposal of measures aimed at desegregating the education system, focusing in secondary vocational education (Recomendações).