What the gender pay gap looks like in leading industries

In 2022, women are still confronted by the reality of unequal pay for equal work as men.

There has been a push for progress in the gender pay gap in the U.S. in the last several years. In California alone, the Fair Pay Act was passed in 2015 and the Equal Pay Pledge was signed in 2022.

Yet, the problem of unequal wages persists. In the last quarter of 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau found that women consistently earn nearly 30% less than their male counterparts, and that “the pay gap increases with age.”

Pay disparities where more women were losing their jobs compared to men in some industries increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center.

Substantial federal legislation to narrow the gap has not been passed in over a decade. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure stronger protections against wage discrimination on the basis of gender, was blocked by the U.S. Senate in June 2021.

The gender wage gap has continued for the last 15 years and is more pronounced in some key professions.


Financial industries such as banking, investment management, and insurance are heavily dominated by men.

While more women are entering the finance field, only 22% of leadership roles at U.S. financial firms are held by women, according to the New York Times. And, the pay disparity between men and women in the industry is starker.

Women in the finance and insurance industries make an average of $944 per week. Meanwhile, men in the same industries make an average of $1,538 per week, according to Statista.


Statista also stated that nine out of 10 registered nurses in the U.S. are women. Yet, the gender pay gap in nursing is increasing in favor of men.

A 2020 report found that the wage gap in yearly nursing salaries climbed more than $1,600 since 2018. On average, male nurses earn $7,200 more per year than their female counterparts.

The same survey found that male nurses tend to have less education and professional certificates than female nurses, but are more likely to negotiate their salaries.


According to the American Bar Association (ABA), the wage gap between male and female partners in the legal industry is widening.

Between 2010 and 2018, the gender wage gap between male and female partners at legal firms grew by 11%. On average, women earn 35% less than men in the same partner positions, according to ABA.

In the 2020 U.S. census, it was reported that women in legal professions earn 54.8% less pay than their male counterparts earn per year.


The public education system is largely composed of women, with “76% of public school teachers” being women, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Yet, full-time female public school teachers receive a lower base salary than male teachers. Female teachers earn an average of $57,500 per year, while their male counterparts earn an average of $59,400.

Education has a narrower wage gap than other industries, but women in educational occupations still earn 80.6% of what men earn, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Progress in closing the wage gap has slowed in the last two decades.

According to U.S. News, President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday, March 15 that new steps will be taken to close the gap for federal employees, and he pressed private companies to take similar measures.

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