We all know that there is a gender wage gap resulting in women earning 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Part of this is attributed to occupational segregation where men tend to go into higher paying professions and women tend to go into lower paying professions. A classic example is men working as doctors and women working as nurses (do a google image search of the word “nurse” and it is almost entirely pictures of women, but doctor is a little bit more gender equitable). But it turns out that men are still out-earning us even in female-dominated fields like nursing. According to a Census report released last week, men are increasing their presence in nursing and earning more doing it too.
The Wall Street Journal wrote a summary of the report, highlighting some of the findings. Men are more likely to work full-time than women. However, even when you look at only full-time, year-round workers, there is still a gap of 9%. It appears as though even within narrowly defined fields and job attributes, men are getting raises and increases more than women – also known as the glass escalator. They even get jobs more easily than women, with a lower unemployment rate for men licensed nurses compared to women licensed nurses, 4% compared to 5.1%.
If men can increase their presence in jobs typically associated with women and still make more money doing that too, then we need to really address whatever is going on that is holding women back in the workplace throughout the labor market. So while we can no longer have job ads specifying the desired gender of the applicant, let’s not pretend that there is no longer gender discrimination in the workplace that allows employers to offer different wages, raises and promotion schedules based on gender.