By Jenna Goudreau
Aircraft MechanicStep aside, guys. Women are moving up the payroll. According to a March "Women at Work" report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the gender wage gap continues to narrow. Women earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2010, up from 76 cents in 2000. Moreover, recent reports suggest that young urban women now earn 8% more than male peers, likely due to higher college graduation rates.
The fact remains, however, that men still earn more in almost every U.S. occupation-except in a telling few. An analysis of 2009 median weekly earnings for full-time workers, collected by the BLS, reveals at least 15 jobs where women earn slightly more than male colleagues.
In Pictures: 15 Jobs Where Women Earn More Than Men
Perhaps most surprising, women out-earn men in several male-dominated construction jobs. Female construction laborers, construction supervisors, maintenance painters, and aircraft and vehicle mechanics earn slightly above the median earnings for both sexes-despite holding just 3% of these jobs.
"Researchers have found that both sexes fare better when they are in the minority," says Caren Goldberg, a management professor at American University's business school in Washington, D.C. "Women who choose male-dominated jobs are likely perceived as "atypical" or less consistent with the stereotypes associated with women, which are also associated with lower-paying jobs."
Connecticut College economics professor Candace Howes further conjectures that the few women who enter construction and mechanical jobs are likely highly skilled and more concentrated in union jobs. "It was unionization that provided women access to these male-dominated jobs, and on average those wages are higher [than non-union jobs]," says Howes.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, women also make more in a few female-dominated education and healthcare jobs. Female teacher assistants earn 105% as much as male peers. Women are 92% of the field and earn a median of $474 a week, compared to men's $453. Women also earn more than men in higher paying jobs like occupational therapists, dieticians and nutritionists, and life, physical, social science and health technicians.
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Because women are the majority of workers in these fields, Howes says more women may have achieved higher wages due to seniority.
Women earn 104% more than men in this job. Female bakers earn a weekly median of $466, compared with men's $448. Although baking might be considered a "feminine" field, men slightly outnumber women, comprising 53% of the field.
Managers And Supervisors of Construction Workers
Although women's wages in this occupation are not broken out individually, men earn below the median for both sexes, making $963 per week. Studies show that women can fare better in terms of salary and promotions in male-dominated fields. Men comprise 97% of workers in this occupation.
Dining Room Attendants And Bartender Helpers
Men and women almost equally staff this job, but women earn 111% more money. Each week, women earn a median of $400, and men earn a median of $360. That means women earn about $2,000 more than men per year.
Personal Appearance Workers
This field, which includes makeup artists, skin-care specialists and manicurists, is 79% female. Making a median of $434, women earn $12 more than the median for both sexes.
Staffed predominantly by women, this clerical job seems to favor female workers. Women's median weekly earnings of $608 were above the median for both sexes of $596.
Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers
Women earn just slightly more than men in this field. While men's wages aren't reported individually, women take home a median of $614 a week, $2 more than the median reported for both sexes. The occupation is 98% female.
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