The gender gap, or more accurately the gender wage gap, is a riddle, wrapped inside a mystery contained in an enigma. It’s becoming an issue in the upcoming election and so forth, but some might wonder just which jobs have the smallest gender wage gap.
Gender wage gap a bit of a talking point for politicians
Lately, politicians have been discussing the gender wage gap, or the gulf between what men are paid for certain work compared to women. In most cases, women are paid less. Todd Akin, the Congressional candidate who said that women couldn’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape,” whatever that could possibly mean, recently said women should be paid less because “freedom” meant businesses should pay whatever they want and government shouldn’t dictate wages.
Clearly that guy’s cheese is not on his cracker, so to speak.
However, the gender wage gap is real. According to Forbes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found in 2010 that women’s weekly earning were 82.8 percent of men’s weekly earnings. Granted, that was an improvement over 2000, when the same figure was 76.1 percent of men’s weekly earnings.
The jobs with least gaps
It varies by career field, however. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction, according to 2009 data, had the lowest gender wage gap among industries, as women’s earnings were 92.2 percent of men’s earnings. The next closest was agriculture, where women earned 84.6 percent of men’s earnings, followed by leisure and hospitality, at 83.5 percent.
Some specific occupations approaching parity included computer scientists and systems analysts, at 92.0 percent, computer support specialists at 92.2 percent, computer engineers at 93.3 percent, social service and community counselors at 94.1 percent, secondary school teachers at 91.4 percent, special education teachers at 97.7 percent, editors at 93.0 percent, registered nurses at 95.0 percent, fast food and prep workers at 97.2 percent and personal and home care aides at 95.8 percent. The closest to absolute parity was postal service clerks, at 99.9 percent.
The BLS also found that some professions paid women more than men. Life, physical science and social science technicians earned 102.4 percent of male colleagues, bakers earned 104.0 percent, teacher’s assistants earned 104.6 percent, dining room and cafeteria attendants and bar backs earned 111.1 percent of their male counterparts.
High paying professions the worst
The most high-paying jobs had the largest gender wage gaps. Lawyers earned 74.9 percent of their male colleagues, female financial managers earned 66.6 percent of male counterparts’ wages, female HR managers earned 69.3 percent and loan counselors earned 67.4 percent of male earnings. Physicians and surgeons earned 64.2 percent of male earnings, securities and commodities sales agents earned 64.5 percent of the average wages of male colleagues.
According to Time magazine, a study from the Wharton School of Business, published in June of this year, found women who worked as stock brokers earned about 67 percent of their male counterparts. The worst field for women, according to BLS data, was financial services, which paid women 70.5 percent of what they paid men.
Explanations are legion. There is, according to Bloomberg, evidence for birthing children hindering career growth and thus wage growth, as some studies have found, but others have found it doesn’t entirely account for gender pay gaps, as the Government Accountability Office found wasn’t an entirely sufficient explanation, according to CBS.