Equal Pay for Women? Far From It for These Jobs

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Female engineer smiling while talking with a worker at the shipyard.

Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

The gender wage gap may stand at 17%, but in some occupations, women’s average earnings run at a far bigger deficit to men’s.  

For example, consider women in financial management. As the chart below shows, they made an average of $68,737 in 2019, 33% less on average than men in the same field—one of the bigger gaps of the hundreds of occupations tracked by the Census Bureau. Other professions with larger-than-average gaps included judges and judicial workers (women made 30% less than men) and real estate brokers (27% less). Some of the occupations with the smallest gaps were pharmacist (5%), registered nurse (7%) and graphic designer (8%).

While the overall gender pay gap has been slowly shrinking, the industry-specific data illuminates how wide-ranging the divide is, as do breakdowns by race and ethnicity. Still, advocates call attention to the discrepancy by designating one day a year as Equal Pay Day, a date symbolizing how far into the year women have to work to equal what men made in the previous year. This year, it was Tuesday.

“The overall gender pay gap is useful for understanding the impact of gender on women’s pay, but there is no single gender or racial pay gap,” the American Association of University Women said in a 2021 report.

Roughly speaking, Equal Pay Day means women had to work for more than 14 months to earn what men earned in 12. The date isn’t exact, since wage data isn’t available until later in the year, but last year, the Census Bureau said March 24 was the earliest it had ever been.

In 2020, the most recent year for which there is data for the overall average, men earned an average of $61,417, while women earned an average of $50,982, or about 17% less. That gap was 23% a decade ago and 26% in 2000. The gap exists because women may have children, different education levels, or a tendency to have certain types of jobs, among other things, the Census Bureau said.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Julianne at jslovak@thebalance.com.

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  1. Census Bureau. “Equal Pay Day: March 15, 2022.”

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