Women can do anything, we know that. And we do! Of course, some careers are more female-dominated than others. If that’s what you’re looking for, we pulled some of the most women-dominated jobs as of 2021 and what they pay, on average.
But first, why are some industries so appealing to women? And some still so popular with men?
Why certain careers are “women-dominated”
There are tons of studies trying to nail down the specifics as to why men and women still tend to choose different industries.
There’s the historic reason: Some industries—child care, education, nursing—have always been more populated with women due largely in part to sexism relegating women to gender-specific roles, with women as the caretakers. While that is changing, it’s not changing quickly.
Studies suggest that jobs associated with higher risk (construction, manufacturing) appeal more to men because women aren’t as willing to risk their lives to make a living. Other experts have said women tend to avoid male-dominated industries so they can avoid the gender-related harassment that can come with them. And sometimes the occupations that appeal to women tend to offer a better work-life balance than those that attract more men, a perk necessary because women often do more child-rearing, household chores, and unpaid labor than their significant others.
We know not everyone will have the same decision-making process for picking the industry they work in. Whatever the reason, the split is a factor in the gender pay gap, since a lot of popular female-dominated careers pay less than jobs and industries dominated by men.
Women-dominated careers and the gender pay gap
It’s called occupational sorting—women dominate employment in an industry that pays less than the average salary, further driving a difference in average pay between men and women. You’ll hear arguments that this is the main reason for the gender pay gap—but men in women-dominated industries still often make more money than women in women-dominated industries. (We break down the details on occupational sorting here.)
As of 2020, only 6.5 percent of women worked in male-dominated industries (industries with no more than 25 percent women). Those areas include finance, IT, mechanical engineering, and construction. The percentage of women in those fields has not moved up much in the past few years. But what has grown is the number of women in management in male-dominated industries. Yearly growth of women in these roles rose to 6.9 percent from 2016 to 2021, up from 3.8 percent the five years’ prior. Women now hold 14 percent of these positions, up from 8 percent in 2010. Slow progress, but progress.
Of course, career satisfaction is the goal. No matter if your ideal industry has more men or women, go for what you want! For those who are looking for predominantly female roles, let’s take a look at 40 women-dominated careers and what they pay.
Read more: What’s a Good Salary?
40 women-dominated careers and their salaries
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics frequently compiles information on the U.S. workforce. Based on 2021 data, here are some of the careers where women are the majority (and the percentage of women workers in those careers), plus the jobs’ average salary.
Women-dominated careers in medicine and health:
Speech-language pathologists, 95.1%; $85,820
Dental hygienists, 95.1%; $81,360
Phlebotomists, 90.6%; $38,450
Dietitians and nutritionists, 89.6%; $65,620
Nurse practitioners, 87.4%; $118,040
Therapists, 87.1%; $84,080
Home health aides, 87.0%; $29,260
Registered nurses, 86.7%; $82,750
Occupational therapists, 84.9%; $89,470
Social workers, 83.6%; $57,880
Pharmacy technicians, 78.4%; $37,970
Mental health counselors, 75.6%; $53,490
Women-dominated careers in business and the office:
Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants, 96.4%; $66,870
Receptionists and information clerks, 90.0%; $32,910
Office clerks, general, 83.6%; $38,990
Meeting, convention, and event planners, 82.1%; $57,850
Human resources managers, 80.8%; $136,590
Data entry keyers, 76.2%; $35,940
Women-dominated careers related to money:
Payroll and timekeeping clerks, 86.7%; $49,560
Bookkeeping, accounting, auditing clerks, 84.7%; $45,140
Tellers, 76.1%; $34,930
Women-dominated careers in wellness, fitness, and beauty industries:
Skincare specialists, 98.2%; $41,700
Hairdressers, hair stylists, cosmetologists, 92.4%; $35,990
Massage therapists, 83.5%; $49,260
Manicurists and pedicurists, 83.0%; $30,480
Women-dominated careers in education and child-related services:
Preschool and kindergarten teachers, 96.8%; $43,060
Child care workers, 94.6%; $27,680
School psychologists, 90.4%; $82,770
Child, family, and school social workers, 86.8%; $54,880
Special education teachers, 82.8%; $68,880
Librarians and media collections specialists, 79.9%; $64,180
Elementary and middle school teachers, 79.2%; $67,030
Educational, guidance, career counselors and advisors, 76.5%; $63,090
Women-dominated careers in creative industries:
Tailors, dressmakers, and sewers, 86.5%; $34,630
Interior designers, 83.8%; $62,570
Floral designers, 76.8%; $32,100
More women-dominated careers:
Paralegals and legal assistants, 84.8%; $58,330
Hosts and hostesses, restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops, 84.3%; $26,000
Library assistants, clerical, 84.2%; $32,490
Interpreters and translators, 73.4%; $58,400
Read more: How to Get a Job After College