Friday, June 4, 2004

Pays to be man in most jobs, Census finds

By Genaro C. Armas
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - If a woman wants to make more money than a man, her job options are severely limited. She could clean up hazardous waste. Or install telecommunications lines.

But not much else.

The five occupations with the highest median earnings for men and women, according to a 2000 Census Bureau report. The occupations cover those with at least 10,000 full-time, year-round workers, with at least 1,000 men and women each.

Physicians and surgeons: $140,000
Dentists: $110,000
Chief executives: $95,000
Lawyers: $90,000
Judges, magistrates and other judicial workers: $88,000

Physicians and surgeons: $88,000
Engineering managers: $75,000
Dentists: $68,000
Lawyers: $66,000
Optometrists: $65,000
The Census Bureau compiled statistics on hundreds of job categories from its 2000 headcount and found just five where women typically earn at least as much as men.

Among hazardous material removal workers, women earn $1.09 for every dollar earned by men. It's slightly more than a dollar for telecommunications line installer and repairers, and it was exactly dollar-for-dollar in three categories: meeting and convention planners; dining room or cafeteria workers, and construction trade helpers.

Each of these fields employs predominantly men, except for meeting planning.

In the field with the highest proportion of female workers - kindergarten and preschool teachers - nearly 98 percent women - men had median earnings of $22,000, $5,000 more than women.

Among registered nurses, 91 percent were women, but their median income was $42,000. Men made $45,000, according to the Census Bureau's study.

Carol Cooke, a spokeswoman for the American Nurses Association, said that may be partly because more men choose higher-paying nursing fields, such as anesthesiology.

The report was based on 2000 Census results that tracked 1999 income data for 505 job categories. However, the rankings of median earnings for women and men were based on a subset of about 400 fields that employed at least 10,000 full-time, year-round workers, including at least 1,000 men and 1,000 women.

Nationally, the median income for a woman working full time, year round was about $28,000, compared with $38,000 for a man. That means a woman earned less than 74 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, said the disparity is in part due to women who interrupt their careers to have kids while men continue to climb the salary ladder. When these mothers return to work, they often can't make up the loss in earnings, she said.

Discrimination also may be a factor, specifically against mothers, Strober added. "If you are a primary caretaker of children, it's very difficult to live up to the kind of work requirements that exist for professional work," she said.

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