Sociology Index


Pink-collar is traditionally associated with women. Pink Collar Ghetto refers to jobs thought to be women's work. Stallard, Ehrenreich and Sklar coined the term "pink collar ghetto," in their seminal work on women, children and poverty in America. Since attorneys are predominately women and notoriously underpaid, legal services has become a pink-collar ghetto and this means pink-collar ghetto is where women are marginalized, often for economic and social reasons.

Expanding the dichotomy between blue-collar and white-collar occupations the phrase pink-collar ghetto captures the particular concentration of women in jobs traditionally thought to be ‘women's work’. The term Pink-collar in Pink-collar Crime refers to jobs and employment sectors dominated by women workers.

Women in pink-collar ghetto may also commit Blue-collar Crime, White-Collar Crime, Red-collar crime, Green-collar Crime, Occupational Crime and Conventional Crime. Writers call clerical occupations the pink-collar ghetto because they absorbed so much of the rapidly-expanding female labor force. Women have a preference for traditional pink-collar work and few women have broken out of the pink-collar ghetto. In 1991, for example, 57% of female workers were in the three occupational categories: clerical, sales and service,

13.5% of women were in the specific occupations of stenographers, secretaries and sales clerks,

88% of cashiers  were women,

98% of secretaries  were women,

93% of receptionists  were women and

81% of elementary and kindergarten teachers were women.

Sharon Mastracci, UIC assistant professor of public administration, is the author of a new book, Breaking Out of the Pink Collar Ghetto.

Anne Brooks Ranallo.
A University of Illinois at Chicago professor says vocational training is a viable career alternative for many women who do not attend college. Sharon Mastracci, UIC assistant professor of public administration, is the author of a new book, Breaking Out of the Pink Collar Ghetto.

Pink-collar workers fight to leave ghetto - By Carol Kleiman.

You've heard of the blue-collar worker, who usually can be found in manufacturing and trade jobs. But there's also a lesser-known category: the pink-collar worker, who is employed in fields such as teaching, nursing, public relations, human resources, administration, child care and in clerical and secretarial work. And because pink-collar workers are employed in jobs traditionally dominated by women, there's another name to describe this category, which is The Pink Collar Ghetto.


The phrase 'pink-collar ghetto' was coined in 1983 in a study of women, children and poverty in America and was used to describe the limits on women's career advancement in these traditional, often low-paying jobs. It's estimated that today 55 percent of women working outside of the home are trapped in the pink collar ghetto. There probably are fewer women in pink collar ghetto today than there were 10 years ago, mainly because women themselves have made the effort to make the change.