Women Don’t Just Happen to Choose Lower Paying Jobs

Majority ReportOne of the things you hear morons say is that the reason why women make less money is because they make different choices that cause them to make less money. Now you are probably well aware that women make somewhere between 77 and 79 cents for every dollar a man makes when they work the same work schedules. And even smaller percentages for women of color.

Critics will say that the raw gap doesn’t show you. That’s just because there’s a bunch of choices that women make. If you take into account education, experience, race, industry, and occupation, the gap gets smaller. If women and men with similar characteristics are compared, women make just about 90 percent of what men make. And women do stay home with young children at higher rates than men. And so she writes, “If women want to earn equally, it should stand to reason that they should simply get more education, and add experience to their resumes, and choose high paying industries and jobs, and stick with their careers.”

But the idea that women choose lower paying work may put the horse behind the cart. Because every time women begin to dominate a profession, the pay goes down. And every time men end up dominating a position, the pay goes up. Women make less than men in every industry, even for work that’s remarkably similar. Low-wage jobs dominated by women pay just three-quarters of what low-wage jobs held by men. Housekeepers are mostly women, make 17 percent less than people who clean vehicles and equipment, mostly men. Cashiers make 10 percent less than parking lot attendants, mostly men. High-paid female jobs pay about two-thirds of what male-dominated jobs pay.

A study looking at a century of census data found that when the share of women in a particular occupation increases, the pay drops. When women took over in working parks and camps, wages fell 57 percentage points. Thirty-four points in designing. Twenty-one points in housekeeping. And 8 points in biology.

By contrast, computer programming used to be done mostly by women. When men took over, prestige rose along side pay. Employers simply value work less when it’s done by women.

–San Seder
The Majority Report


Seder is reading from a few different sources in this quote. I don’t know what they are. If you do, please list them in the comments.

1 thought on “Women Don’t Just Happen to Choose Lower Paying Jobs

  1. At my job we give a 10% discount to doctors & nurses. I have joked with several customers in nursing that I’ll ring up the discount for doctors if they know about it … but I won’t volunteer the information to them. Every time I’ve told this joke, the nurses laugh. They do most of the real work, and many (not all) doctors are conceited jerks. While doctors are over 30% female, nursing is still overwhelmingly female, 90% per the last census.

    And if you’re in a hospital, don’t ask a doctor to ease your pain. Ask a nurse. Every time. There’s all this talk now about robots replacing workers. Well, many doctors I’ve met are essentially robots and could easily be replaced. Most nurses are vital to patient care.

    They are paid much less and work much harder. Surprise, surprise.

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