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7 Jobs in Which Women Out-Earn Men

by Liz Wolgemuth

Exceptions to the Rule

Take a look through the Labor Department’s data on wages and you’ll see an astonishing pattern. Never mind modernity and women’s liberation, men still make more than women in almost all occupations. The reasons for the broad disparity are complicated, but these jobs are among the rare exceptions.

Science Technician

This is a slightly complicated occupational category — officially called “other” life, physical and social science technicians. It’s made up of science technicians who don’t fit the Labor Department’s specific subgroups, such as forensic science technicians or nuclear technicians. This group of “others” might include techs who collect weather information or work as radiographers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, female science techs in this group earned a median of $740 a week last year, compared with male techs, who had median earnings of $723 a week.

Teacher Assistant

From playground attendant to instructional aide, teacher assistants often wear multiple hats. Female teacher assistants had median earnings of $474 a week last year, compared with male teacher assistants’ median earnings of $453 a week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Keep in mind that women far outrank men in this field, by a ratio of more than 10 to 1. Nearly 40 percent of TAs work part time.

Busser and Barback

These workers may clear the dishes, fill water glasses, keep cafeteria trays stocked, or wash glasses behind the bar. Women who worked as dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers earned a median of $400 a week in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their male counterparts earned a median of $360 a week.


Most bakers work at large commercial bakeries, tortilla plants, or grocery store bakery departments. Others work in restaurants, hotels, or specialty stores. There were 57,000 female bakers in the United States last year and their median earnings were $466 a week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Male bakers, who numbered some 62,000, had median earnings of $448 a week.

Corporate Director

A 2008 survey by the Corporate Library revealed that female corporate directors in the United States earned median annual compensation of $131,400 compared with their male board counterparts, who earned $117,300. Female board members are far outnumbered by their male counterparts: While 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have a woman on their boards, just 60 percent of smaller companies in the Russell 3000 index have one.


Research into the pay of executive managers at public companies found that women are paid more than their male counterparts. “Given executive rank and background, women are paid more than men, experience less income uncertainty, and are promoted as quickly,” according to a working paper authored by George-Levi Gayle, Limor Golan, and Robert Miller, all professors at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. “We find that females are paid slightly more than males at each rank after controlling for observed heterogeneity. Furthermore their compensation varies less than male compensation with the excess returns of firms, and is therefore less volatile.”


For the past three years, women’s median earnings have been higher than the median earnings for both sexes in the dietitian and nutritionist occupational category. Because this is a small occupation and women outrank men 5 to 1, the data for men’s median earnings does not meet the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ criteria for publication.

Copyrighted, U.S.News & World Report, L.P. All rights reserved.

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