By the Numbers: Women and the Professions; April 2000; Scientific American Magazine; by Doyle; 1 Page(s)
Of the 21 million professional jobs in the U.S., women hold 53 percent, but most of these are in fields that generally pay only moderately well, such as public school teaching and nursing. Of the eight million or so jobs in the better-paying professions-those with an average compensation of more than $40,000 in 1998-women hold only 28 percent. Almost all these better-paying jobs are in the six professions shown in the chart.
Overall, women's share of professional jobs appears to have stabilized, but their share of jobs in law and medicine is likely to continue rising as an increasing proportion of degrees in these fields go to women. In math and computer science, the proportion of women practitioners declined in the 1990s, although the number of women in this rapidly expanding field actually rose. According to Ruzena Bajcsy of the National Science Foundation, women's declining share of computer-science jobs reflects, in part, a huge surge of men into the profession in recent years as salaries rose markedly. She suggests that the increasing emphasis in the computer business on long hours, which conflict with family responsibilities, may have caused many women to go into other work. Another contributor to low female presence in computer jobs is the declining number of women receiving degrees in computer science beginning in the 1980s, a trend that was only reversed in 1997, when the number of female graduates rose moderately.