Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Equal Earning Power in Male Dominated Fields

I was scrolling through Yahoo today, when an article came up entitled “Five Jobs where Women and Men Have Equal Earning Power”. I read through it and was really shocked to see what the top 5 jobs where, mainly due to the fact they were all fields where one would easily assume it is a field that is male dominated. Here is the list of the 5 jobs with equal earning power for men and women:

1. Systems Engineer
Female Median Annual Salary: $72,300
Male Median Annual Salary: $71, 500

2. Electrical Engineer
Female Median Annual Salary: $66, 000
Male Median Annual Salary: $66,000

3. Mechanical Engineer
Female Median Annual Salary: $61, 100
Male Median Annual Salary $60,400

4. Videographer
Female Median Annual Salary: $39,300
Male Median Annual Salary: $38, 800

5. Computer Repair Technician
Female Median Annual Salary: $31, 500
Male Median Annual Salary: $31, 500

As you can see, these jobs are all male dominated jobs, and yet, the women in these industries are making equal, if not more, in annual salaries. In my last post, I discussed powerful women, or rather, lack of powerful women, within the world. When I came across this article I was very excited, because after thinking women were falling behind, it is clear that women are pushing forward and are truly becoming powerful individuals for they are beginning to dominate male centered career fields.

As stated within this article, according to research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that if the gender wage continues to close as slowly as it has over the last 50 years, it will take until 2056 for women’s earnings to equal men’s, however, recently there has been much greater change and therefore IWPR is doing more research because they now believe the year should be sooner. This is changing due to the fact that women are receiving college degrees and graduate degrees at faster rates than men. I feel that, still, the complete equality between genders is not there yet, but after completing this class and reading these blog posts by my fellow classmates I do feel as though even with all the negative gender stereotyping and reports within media and throughout our culture, the gender gap is slowly closing. There are many statistics to show that even though there is still a separation between genders, women are gaining more and more footing in the work force, in particular with their salary and with the amount of power they hold.

Do you think that this article is a good indication of the changes within our society or do you still feel as though the gender gap is far too prevalent in our society and is not closing quickly enough? I believe that it could be a lot worse, but it could also be far better, right now I’m simply glad that there are articles similar to these to point out the successes of women, especially in male centered fields to display the strength they had to overcome to be accepted in these fields and gain equal status in these career paths.


  1. I am not sure if I am just more prone to noticing these articles now that I've taken this class or not, but I have definitely noticed an influx of articles pointing out these gender differences/similarities lately. Yahoo!, for instance, probably has an article like this at least once a week. (I use Yahoo! mail so I notice the top stories on the site each day.) Thus, I agree with Inez about being grateful that these articles are being published and so often. I feel this is an indicator that the gender gap is closing and at a rapid pace. Yes, things could be worse/better, but, in the end, that doesn't matter. Some progress is better than nothing. And to have gender equality in fields that are mainly male-centered is something to be applauded. I would believe that these fields would be the toughest fields to achieve equality in, and yet, they are some of the first.

  2. Although women are paid equally in these careers, I would be interested in seeing the percentage of engineers who are female vs. male. Being a female engineer, when looking at schools, I knew Cornell strove to promote their women in engineering program, so here I have never noticed to a great extent the male domination of the engineering field. However, I know people who are female engineers at other schools who are very underrepresented in their classes. I’m so happy to see these steps toward equal pay for engineers and really hope that it sparks interest for more women to enter this field!

  3. Even though the article does indeed shed light on the fact that the gender gap is becoming smaller, I was brought back by the title. It makes it seem like there are only 5 jobs in this country that exhibit an equal pay between the genders. Compared to the other millions of jobs in the country, 5 is a very, very small number. Of course there are probably other jobs that aren't listed, but its kind of discouraging to see that a big name like Yahoo! could only list 5 jobs. Also, the fact that its projected to take about 45 years to solve this problem when, I mean, it just seems logical to me that people should be paid for the work they do, not by their sex.

  4. I agree with Emily in that women may have the same salaries, but there are definitely not as many female engineers as male engineers. However, this gender stereotype has existed since engineering began as a field, and so I believe that as long as the percentage of women is increasing, the gender gap is indeed decreasing. Being a woman in engineering myself, I know that there has been a large focus on increasing the number of women in the field, especially at Cornell, which proves that our society is definitely aware of the coming changes in gender stereotypes. Just like there are fields that are generally male-dominated, there are female-dominated fields too, and as long as men are entering those, both genders will be helping blur the line between accepted societal gender roles and the actual capabilities of female and male individuals.

  5. nickpeterson definitely has a point. It is strange to think that this symbolizes advancements in gender equality when only 5 jobs have comparable salaries between men and women, and as others have noticed, men dominate the field of engineering significantly. It would be interesting to see how their salaries compared if there were an equal amount of men and women working those jobs- I'm sure the numbers would look a little different.
    I think that we have to stop settling for the bare minimum. It may be exciting that some jobs have equal pay, but that doesn't mean that things are going to change willingly. There needs to be an active effort to increase the salaries of women. Are we really going to be satisfied with equal salaries by 2056? 44 years from now? Or is it something that we want now? As a man, I guess I have less say in the issue, but I think its something that should be discussed. How soon is soon enough for gender equality?


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