Women's participation in the labor force: The role of social networks

Jennifer A. Stoloff, Jennifer L. Glanville, Elisa Jayne Bienenstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Network research about employment outcomes has rarely focused on women. In this paper, we use the Los Angeles Survey of Urban Inequality (LASUI) to examine the role of social networks on the constraints and opportunities which women face in labor force participation. We examine the effects of a woman's general network structure on her employment status, rather than focusing on the characteristics of the specific network tie that connected her to a job. Using an innovative, yet simple, measure to capture network diversity, we test network explanations of why women are in the paid labor force, controlling for background, structural, and family composition variables. In general, we find that the greater the quality and diversity of the social resources that are available through a woman's social network, the more likely she is to be working for pay. We also find evidence that suggests disadvantaged women with children must also rely on their social support networks for childcare to enter the labor market. In addition, we explore the connection between the methods successful job searchers used to find work and the overall structure of their networks through descriptive statistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-108
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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