Sectors of Activity and Occupations of Gays and Lesbians in a Union
This study, published in Population (2017-3) and based on the 2011 Families and Housing Survey—a survey of unprecedented sample size and level of detail on certain social characteristics that also enables researchers to differentiate between homosexual and heterosexual couples—has found that people in same-sex unions are in less often in gender-polarized occupations than people in different-sex unions. The survey is a means of improving our statistical knowledge of gay and lesbian populations in France, despite the fact that it addresses homosexuality only by way of same-sex couples. It does take into account both cohabiting and non-cohabiting unions.
Two significant findings are that lesbian and gay couples are less numerous among older than younger generations and their members are more often highly educated than members of different-sex couples. This last specificity may be explained by at least two mechanisms: having high educational attainment seems to facilitate reporting living in a same-sex couple in a survey; and education may be a resource for gays and lesbians in that it offers opportunities for escaping the constraints of heterosexual norms and generally living more comfortably with one’s sexual orientation.
Employment and activity sectors of women in same-sex unions
More women in same-sex unions than women in different-sex unions work (83.2% versus 71.8%) and fewer work part-time (11% versus 22.1%). 2.2% have never worked, while the corresponding figure is 15% for women in different-sex unions.
More women in same-sex unions than women in different-sex unions work in information and communication (3.5% versus 1.5%), science and technology (7% versus 4.3%), education (13.7% versus 8%) and arts and entertainment (2.3% versus 0.9%). Conversely, lesbians in a union are underrepresented in the personal services industry, where the proportion is 1 to 3 (3.1% of women in a same-sex union versus 10% of women in a different-sex union).
Overall, gays and lesbians living in a union are more likely to transcend the gender norms that lead to the over- and under-representation of women and men in certain sectors of activity.
Source: Wilfried Rault, 2017, Sectors of Activity and Occupations of Gays and Lesbians in a Union: A Smaller Gender Divide, Population 2017-3.
Contact: Wilfried Rault
Online: January 2018