WorkRise Glossary

Last updated November 7, 2023. 

The following is a list of specialized terminology used in material across the WorkRise and Working Knowledge websites. Please check back as this glossary expands with additional terms used in research summaries, articles, and other content from WorkRise.

Asian: Individuals who are Asian American or Pacific Islander and are not of Latino or Hispanic origin.

Assigned sex/gender: Refers to the legally denoted gender assigned to newborn children based on external primary sex characteristics. In modern-day Western culture, a person’s assigned sex is typically conflated with their gender identity, which consequently defines that person’s gender role and its associated expectations. Assigned gender is based on the appearance of a person’s genitals and is not related to—or a reflection of—one’s gender identity or internal sense of gender.i

Black: Individuals who are Black or African American and are not of Latino or Hispanic origin.

Cisgender: An individual whose gender identity matches their birth assignment.i

Codetermination: The practice of involving workers in a company’s management process. Typically, this takes the form of nonmanagerial workers being allowed to vote for representatives to a company’s board of directors, which supervises the actions of the organization, or consulting workers over decisions like scheduling and pay. Codetermination differs from organized labor, where workers negotiate with employers through unions or other third parties to achieve better wages or working conditions.

Employment segregation: Exists when the proportion of a demographic group in a job, occupation, or industry is greater than that group's proportion of the working age population. Economists typically measure employment segregation with the Duncan Index of Dissimilarity. Occupational segregation is one commonly discussed form of employment segregation, which captures the employment of men and women (or workers of different racial groups) separated between occupations.

Gender expression: The external manifestation of a person’s gender identity, which may or may not conform to gender stereotypes and may be expressed through clothing, appearance, behavior, and/or prosthetics. Gender expression or presentation may be masculine, feminine, androgynous, gender neutral, etc.i

Gender identity: An individual’s innate, internal conception of being male, female, both, neither, or any combination thereof. Transgender people have a gender identity that is different than the one assigned to them at birth.i

Genderqueer: An umbrella term for nonbinary gender identities; a gender identity that does not adhere to conventional and/or binary conceptions of gender.i

Gender transition: The process of undergoing social, legal, and/or medical transition from one’s birth-assigned gender to another. For instance, a person assigned male at birth might possess a female gender identity, therefore changing her birth name and pronouns and the gender marker on her government-issued documents. Transitioning is a personal process unique to the individual—a journey in which one makes decisions to become more like their true self.i

Indigenous: Individuals who are Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native and are not of Latino or Hispanic origin; see also “Native.”

Labor market slack: When there are many more workers looking for jobs than those available. Common indicators of labor market slack include the unemployment rate, the U6 rate (unemployed looking for a job plus marginally attached workers who would take a job but have given up searching), and the vacancy yield (ratio of hires to job openings).

Latinx: Individuals who are Latino, Latina, or Hispanic.

Monopsony: A market in which buyers face little competition, exerting downward pressure on prices. In the case of the labor market, monopsony occurs when workers have few outside job options, giving employers the power to set wages rather than competitive market forces determining wages. Monopsony occurs in concentrated labor markets with few employers for a given occupation or industry, when workers have asymmetric information compared to employers, when workers face significant mobility constraints, and when workers have idiosyncratic preferences for job attributes.

Native: Individuals who are Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native and are not of Latino or Hispanic origin; see also “Indigenous.”

Nonbinary: An umbrella term used to describe someone whose gender identity falls outside of the traditional Western binary; a gender identity that cannot be classified as exclusively male or female.i

Occupational segregation: See “Employment segregation.”

Passing: To be perceived by others as one’s true gender identity. Some trans people prefer terms like “blending in” or “cis-assumed.”i

Race and ethnicity: Race and ethnicity groups are always presented by WorkRise as exclusive (i.e., not overlapping) groups. Unless otherwise stated,

  • White = white non-Latino, non-Latina, and non-Hispanic
  • Black = Black or African American and non-Latino, non-Latina, and non-Hispanic
  • Latinx = Latino, Latina, or Hispanic
  • Asian = Asian American or Pacific Islander and non-Latino, non-Latina, and non-Hispanic
  • Indigenous or Native = Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native and non-Latino, non-Latina, and non-Hispanic

Slack: See “Labor market slack”

Transgender: An umbrella term describing individuals whose gender identity differs from the one assigned to them at birth. The transgender population is composed of diverse people and is found in numerous nations throughout the world. Since gender identity and sexual orientation are separate concepts, transgender people can be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, sexually fluid, or various other orientations.i

Transgender man (FTM): A woman who was assigned female at birth but whose true gender is male. FTM refers to the direction of transition from female to male.i

Transgender woman (MTF): A person who was assigned male at birth (AMAB) but who lives as a woman or identifies as female. MTF refers to the direction of transition from male to female.i

White: Individuals who are white and are not of Latino or Hispanic origin.

[i] Definition adapted from the Trans Lifeline Resource Glossary of Terms & Definitions,