What’s Current: When women take over male-dominated fields, pay drops

pay disparity

New study shows that, as women take over a male-dominated field, pay drops:

“A striking example is to be found in the field of recreation — working in parks or leading camps — which went from predominantly male to female from 1950 to 2000. Median hourly wages in this field declined 57 percentage points, accounting for the change in the value of the dollar, according to a complex formula used by Professor Levanon. The job of ticket agent also went from mainly male to female during this period, and wages dropped 43 percentage points.

The same thing happened when women in large numbers became designers (wages fell 34 percentage points), housekeepers (wages fell 21 percentage points) and biologists (wages fell 18 percentage points). The reverse was true when a job attracted more men. Computer programming, for instance, used to be a relatively menial role done by women. But when male programmers began to outnumber female ones, the job began paying more and gained prestige.

An older article fantastically makes the same point using the example of the medical profession. The Crates and Ribbons article reads:

“In Russia, the majority of doctors are women. Here’s a quote from Carol Schmidt, a geriatric nurse practitioner who toured medical facilities in Moscow: ‘Their status and pay are more like our blue-collar workers, even though they require about the same amount of training as the American doctor… medical practice is stereotyped as a caring vocation naturally suited to women, [which puts it at] a second-class level in the Soviet psyche.’

What this illustrates perfectly is this — women are not devalued in the job market because women’s work is seen to have little value. It is the other way round. Women’s work is devalued in the job market because women are seen to have little value.”

Last week at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Laurence Rossignol, France’s minister for family, children, and women’s rights, urged the term “femicide” to be adopted in international law alongside “genocide: “The term ‘femicide,’ means ‘the persecution of women because they are women…[It] is an intention to wipe out a group,’ Rossignol said, adding that she wanted the term femicide become “the basis for prosecution in international courts,” and eventually be adopted by the International Criminal Court.

Texas women have to drive four times farther to get an abortion ever since new laws shut down half of the state’s clinics in 2013.

In light of increasing attacks on Muslim women in public, a free self-defense class is being offered in New York, taught by Muslim women.

Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.