A more proactive approach to addressing gender-related employment disparities in the United States

Mary E. Graham, Julie L. Hotchkiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to propose a proactive public policy approach to complement relatively reactive existing policies addressing gender-related employment disparities in the USA, and to provide an initial empirical illustration of the proposal. Design/methodology/approach: The paper provides a conceptual application of theories of total quality management (TQM) to the topic of gender-related employment disparities, followed by an empirical illustration using US Current Population Survey data and a gender equal employment opportunity (EEO) scorecard. Findings: Using the TQM framework, company outliers were conceptualized on the EEO scorecard as "special" causes of economy-wide equal employment variation and the industries in which companies are situated as "common" causes. The paper identifies two underperforming industries on gender-related employment outcomes: Mining and Construction, and Transportation, Communication and Utilities. Research limitations/implications: Further conceptual work on the application of TQM to gender disparities in employment is recommended. Also, the study considered broad industry categories; future research should refine these categories further. Practical implications: It is recommended that US enforcement agencies incorporate industry considerations more explicitly into their activities. Employer insights may be beneficial to improving equal employment opportunity performance at the industry level. Originality/value: The application of TQM theory to the topic of gender-related employment disparities is a novel approach that may motivate new public policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-595
Number of pages19
JournalGender in Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 6 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Equal opportunities
  • Gender
  • Human resource management
  • Sexual discrimination
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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