Fast Facts: Occupational Segregation

Occupations dominated by men usually pay better than female-dominated fields, even when those jobs require the same level of education and skill.

Women make up about two-thirds of workers in low-wage jobs (i.e., jobs that pay as low as $7.50 an hour, the federal minimum wage) though they make up slightly less than half (47%) of the workforce as a whole. Women of color are particularly over represented in these jobs.

  • More than 2 million women work as teachers in the U.S., outnumbering men roughly 3 to 1. In nursing, women outnumber men by nearly 8 to 1, according to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
  • Even when women enter traditionally male dominated fields, they tend to go into the lower-paying specialties: Though women account for about half of all medical school graduates, they are overly represented in pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology, which are among the lower paying specialties.
  • According to a Pew Research Center survey, almost half of women (48%) say they work in places where there are more women than men, and 18% say there are more men than women. About 44% of men say their workplace is majority-male and 19% say women outnumber men. About a third of women (33%) and men (36%) say both genders are about equally represented in their workplace.
  • An especially wide gender gap persists in the STEM fields, which are among the most lucrative and fastest growing occupations: A report by the National Science Board found that women make up less than a third of the science and engineering workforce.
  • In 2018 46.9% of full-time wage and salary workers were women. Among STEM occupations, women accounted for 42.2% of full-time wage and salary workers in life, physical, and social science occupations and 25.6% in computer and mathematical occupations. In architecture and engineering occupations, 15.9% of full-time wage and salary workers were women.
  • In architecture and engineering occupations, 29.7% of non-naval architects are women. 18.1% of engineering technicians (except drafters), 23% of industrial engineers, 18.9% of computer hardware engineers, 16.3% of chemical engineers and 10.9% of mechanical engineers are women.
  • According to a report from the National Science Foundation, in 2016, Black women earned more than 33,000 bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, and 24% of doctorates awarded to Black women were in STEM. But only 5% of managerial jobs in STEM were held by Black women and men combined.