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These College Majors Pay Women the Least


Women remain concentrated in college majors that pay the least, say education experts.

“Women [are] still concentrated in college majors that are the least paying," said Anthony P. Carnevale, research professor and director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce at a recent educator's conference.

Anthony Carnevale
Anthony Carnevale


Those college majors include early childhood education, medical assistance, student counseling, communication disorders, library sciences, nursing and nutrition.

Conversely, men are concentrated in the higher-paying fields of naval architecture, and mechanical, electrical and nuclear engineering.

Early childhood education is the major with the highest proportion of women (97 percent) but it is also with the second lowest-paying bachelor's degree major with a median earnings of $36,000, according to the Economic Value of College Majors by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Communication disorders sciences and services has the fourth-highest concentration of women (94 percent), and is among the 10 lowest-paying bachelor's degree with a median earning of $40,000, according to the report.

Economic Value of College Majors by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Economic Value of College Majors by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.


The majors in which women are most heavily concentrated are almost exclusively in education and health, the report said.

However, in eight of the 10 highest-paying college majors, men represented more than 80 percent of college graduates in those fields, according to AEIdea’s analysis of a Glassdoor report released in October 2016.

Economic Value of College Majors by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Economic Value of College Majors by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.


"Conformity to social expectations, gender stereotypes, gender roles and lack of role models continue to channel girls' career choices away from STEM fields," psychology professor Martin Bauer of the London School of Economics told CNN Money.

Yves Salomon-Fernandez
Yves Salomon-Fernandez


"People have their stereotype and expectations of what a woman leader should be," said Yves Salomon-Fernandez, president of Cumberland County College in New Jersey, at the Association of College Educators at their annual meeting in Washington D.C. last week.

"I am expected to be warmer, lovey-dovey, and touch-feely, which truly isn’t my perspective," Salomon-Fernandez said.

"When women act in ways that are consistent of stereotypes, they are viewed as less confident leaders. When we act in ways that are inconsistent of stereotypes, we are considered unfeminine," said Margaret L. Drugovich, president of Hartwick College in Oneota, New York, at the ACE meet.

Margaret L. Drugovich
Margaret L. Drugovich


"Women leaders are subjected to have higher confidence standards, and, unfortunately, we have to prove our confidence over and over again."

Globally, women make up only 28 percent of people working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, according to statistics from UNESCO in 2015. Even in North America and Western Europe, women make up only 32 percent in STEM careers, according to the statistics.

Studies have found that when women gain a greater share of traditional men's careers, wages go down.

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