Last week, Stephen Colbert discussed gender and work with guest Liza Mundy. The clip quickly hits on several trends and patterns that sociologists highlight when studying gender in the workplace: the pay gap, women disproportionately working in the helping professions, the impacts of large economic shifts that have reduced the prominence of manufacturing, and the tendency of men to flee particular jobs once large numbers of women begin to do them. It’s a brief overview of many of the major dynamics influencing the experiences of men and women in the workplace today:

I haven’t read Mundy’s book, though, so I cannot say quite what the evidence is that this has anything to do with the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey.

UPDATE: Note that in his post today, Philip Cohen questions some of Mundy’s data, particularly about the number of wives out-earning their husbands. I think the Colbert segment is useful for identifying some large-scale trends affecting gender and work (changes in education, the feminization of certain types of work, etc.), but Mundy’s book may be problematic, unfortunately.

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