The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation

Ariane Hegewisch, M.Phil., Hannah Liepmann

March 31, 2010
  • ID: #C350a

The gender wage gap and occupational segregation – men primarily working in occupations done by other men, and women primarily working with other women – are persistent features of the US labor market. During 2009, median weekly earnings for female full-time workers were $657, compared with $819 per week for men, a gender wage ratio of 80.2 percent (or a gender wage gap of 19.8 percent). Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. Four of ten women (39.7 percent, down from 43.6 percent in 2008) work in traditionally female occupations, and slightly more than four of ten male workers (43.6 percent, down from 46.1 percent in 2008) work in traditionally male occupations.1 Typically, male dominated occupations pay more than female dominated occupations at similar skill levels. Therefore, tackling occupational segregation is an important part of tackling the gender wage gap.