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Industries with the worst gender pay gaps

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    Industries with the worst gender pay gaps

    When Women's History Month became a national observance in 1987, it marked a significant step in recognizing the contributions of women across America and the ongoing fight for gender equality.

    Today, women make up nearly 43% of today’s U.S. labor force, marking a significant increase from levels as low as 30% in 1950. Yet despite the sheer number of women working today, there still exists a troubling disparity between what women and men make for the same roles. When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women earned just $0.59 for every dollar a man made. Nearly 55 years later, women are still fighting for parity, as the average female earns a mere $0.80 on the dollar to their male counterparts.

    Across all industries, gender pay gaps persist to varying degrees. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey, Stacker ranked all 20 Census-defined industries in terms of women’s earnings as a percentage of male earnings. All figures included reflect the median earnings for full-time, year-round civilian workers in inflation-adjusted dollars. 

    Read on to discover which industries are leading the charge in equal pay and which are lagging behind.

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    #20. Construction

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 97.70%

    Female median earnings: $42,011

    Male median earnings: $43,015

    Construction has the smallest gender pay gap among all industries but is the most male-dominated in terms of gender representation, with women making up just 8.6% of the workforce in 2016.

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    #19. Administrative and support and waste management

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 90.10%

    Female median earnings: $31,279

    Male median earnings: $34,709

    Administrative and support and waste management has the third-lowest median wages among all industries. Women made up 35.9% of this workforce in 2016.

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    #18. Educational services

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 86.90%

    Female median earnings: $46,802

    Male median earnings: $53,866

    The pay gap in educational services shows that the disparity exists even in female-dominated industries. 65.6% of the education workforce is female, making it the second most popular industry for women.

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    #17. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 84.70%

    Female median earnings: $61,455

    Male median earnings: $72,563

    Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction is the second-highest paying industry in the U.S. by overall median income, however, men make up 84.8% of the industry.

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    #16. Real estate and rental and leasing

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 84.10%

    Female median earnings: $42,463

    Male median earnings: $50,480

    The times have surely changed since the National Association of Realtors was established as a male-only organization in 1908. Today, women make up about 43% of those working in the industry. But issues around pay equality persist, particularly at higher levels and in commercial real estate. An industry survey found this is caused by an absence of mentors, lack of promotion opportunities, and gender discrimination.

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    #15. Arts, entertainment and recreation

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 83.80%

    Female median earnings: $33,709

    Male median earnings: $40,224

    Women make up 40.6% of this industry’s staff. Despite leaning left politically, this field still registers a significant gender pay gap of over 16%.

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    #14. Utilities

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 83.00%

    Female median earnings: $60,152

    Male median earnings: $72,454

    The utilities industry is another field with above-average earnings. A little more than one in five utilities workers is female, and the industry as a whole has made considerable progress towards closing the gap, which was 73% just a decade ago.

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    #13. Accommodation and food services

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 82.30%

    Female median earnings: $23,076

    Male median earnings: $28,026

    Workers in this industry face the lowest median wage of all industries. Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings are about at the national average at 82.3%, while the median hourly wage is less for women in nearly all roles in this industry. At the management level, men earn nearly $3 an hour more than women in the same role.

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    #12. Wholesale trade

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 81.80%

    Female median earnings: $42,129

    Male median earnings: $51,493

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s in the wholesale trade industry are just slightly above the overall workforce median, improving slightly from 80% in 2006. Women make up 28.1% of wholesale trade employment.

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    #11. Transportation and warehousing

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 81.70%

    Female median earnings: $40,871

    Male median earnings: $50,018

    Women make up 22.1% of this industry’s 5 million workers. Unfortunately, the last decade has seen a marginal step back in closing the gender pay disparity, which was 82.1% in 2006.

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    #10. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 79.70%

    Female median earnings: $25,860

    Male median earnings: $32,458

    Women make up 16.2% of this industry which has the second-lowest median wages across all workers. According to a UN report, yields on plots managed by women are lower than those managed by men due to a lack of equitable access to land, technology, financial services, education, and markets.

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    #9. Retail trade

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 79.40%

    Female median earnings: $30,172

    Male median earnings: $37,991

    Women make up 42.6% of the retail industry’s workers, and the industry has seen significant progress in closing the gender pay gap. In 2006, women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s were just 71.9%.

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    #8. Public administration

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 79.00%

    Female median earnings: $50,466

    Male median earnings: $63,891

    This industry comprises civilian workers in government offices, with women making up 43% of the industry’s workforce. Given that government officials publicly emphasize equality, the fact that such a large disparity exists is surprising. One popular theory suggests that the longevity of public administration roles paired with controlled raises means historical disparities have been slow to correct.

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    #7. Manufacturing

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 77.20%

    Female median earnings: $39,859

    Male median earnings: $51,624

    Women make up 27.5% of manufacturing’s 15.4 million workers. According to an industry report, the pay gap is even more pronounced in management, with women making just 67% of what men make for the same job.

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    #6. Other services (except public administration)

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 76.90%

    Female median earnings: $30,634

    Male median earnings: $39,858

    Women make up 44.1% of the “Other Services” industry, which includes such diverse occupations as auto repair and maintenance, personal services like beauty and nail salons, and religious organizations. This segment also includes workers in private households, 91.7% of whom are women.

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    #5. Information

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 76.90%

    Female median earnings: $52,155

    Male median earnings: $67,860

    The broadly defined information industry includes publishing, motion picture and sound recording, broadcasting, telecom, data processing and related services, and other information services, which includes the internet. Women make up 37.9% of the information industry’s workforce.

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    #4. Health care and social assistance

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 71.50%

    Female median earnings: $40,043

    Male median earnings: $55,986

    Health care and social assistance is the largest industry in the U.S. with nearly 15 million workers. This industry also employs the highest percentage of women out of any industry, with 78.7% of the workforce being women.

    But the pay gap in health care persists, even when studies adjust for things like age, experience, and others. In some occupations, such as nursing, there is more parity, but high-paying roles like physicians have among the largest pay gap of any profession. There has been a slight improvement, however, in the past decade in which women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s have increased from 66.8%.

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    #3. Professional, scientific, and technical services

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 67.40%

    Female median earnings: $58,404

    Male median earnings: $86,651

    This industry comprises a wide range of professions including legal services, architecture, advertising, scientific research, and more. Collectively, women make up 40.0% of employment in this sector. There has been little progress in closing the pay gap, which was 63% in 2006.

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    #2. Management of companies and enterprises

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 65.80%

    Female median earnings: $58,830

    Male median earnings: $89,406

    The vast disparity in the management industry sector stems from the fact that the gender pay gap widens as men and women advance in their careers to senior-level management. This holds true even though women represent 53.0% of the management industry overall. In 2016, just 5.4% of S&P 500 CEOs were women.

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    #1. Finance and insurance

    Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s: 60.40%

    Female median earnings: $48,816

    Male median earnings: $82,432

    The finance and insurance industry ranks as the worst industry for gender pay equality in America. Women make up more than half (55.9%) of the industry’s workers yet barely make $0.60 on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. One theory for why the gender pay gap is so large in the finance sector is that many financial firms claim to pay for performance and the subjectivity of performance evaluations favor male employees.

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