Get out the rag and polish ladies, because—as Frank Bass at Businessweek explained—”Women who want to earn more on Wall Street than their male colleagues have one reliable option. They can set up a shoe-shine stand in Lower Manhattan.” That’s because the only industry where women earn more than men (a whopping $1.02 to every dollar) is that of personal care and service. That is the one (one!) out of 265 major job categories where women can outearn their male counterparts. And it’s another reason for me to wag my finger at those who frown on the word “feminist” because “women and men are equal now in America!” Yeah, no.
The jobs with the widest gender gap in pay were financial-sector positions (insurance agents, personal advisers, managers, etc.), doctors, and CEOs. Louise Marie Roth, author of “Selling Women Short: Gender and Money on Wall Street,” told Businessweek, “Women often simply don’t know how much they’re being underpaid because a large percentage of Wall Street salaries are based on bonuses that are kept secret.” Sounds about right.
Even fields that are dominated by women, like secretarial work and nursing, are more lucrative for men (female registered nurses make 92 cents for every $1 made by male nurses; female secretaries earn 87 cents for every $1 earned by male colleagues).
And this is the best it’s been…ever. The pay gap is shrinking, sure, but at a snail’s pace: half-a-cent every year since 1963, to be precise. So at this rate, when I’m ready to retire in 2056, women will have achieved equality in the workplace. Hooray?
Of course, we’re not unique for having such a severe gender pay gap; even Iceland, ranked the best country for women in the world, has the same problem. But in Iceland, the government’s most important task currently is to combat the wage disparity. It seems also worth mentioning that America ranks nowhere on the list of “best countries to be a woman,” except in the “be an athlete” category. If you weren’t before, are you a feminist now?