This paper is an assessment of the sex ratio index as a measure of trends in occupational segregation by sex. The sex ratio index is the summary measure of horizontal segregation used in the Department of Employment studies of gender segregation in the British occupational structure. The paper argues that the sex ratio index has undesirable properties as a summary measure of occupational segregation by sex. Consequently, it is not convincing as a measure of change in gender distributions across occupations. When some of the difficulties with the measure are corrected, a post-war trend in horizontal occupational segregation emerges which differs in significant respects from that presented in the Department of Employment studies. However, further work is needed, in terms of measurement development and data comparability, before trends in occupational gender segregation can be established with full confidence.

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Journal Work, Employment and Society
Siltanen, J. (1990). Social Change and the Measurement of Occupational Segregation by Sex: An Assessment of the Sex Ratio Index. Work, Employment and Society, 4(1), 1–29. doi:10.1177/0950017090004001002