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Female Force: Part 1: Jobs with the Greatest Number of Women Workers

Updated on January 29, 2012
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© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Though local, state and federal laws as well as social changes have emphasized equal hiring practices for men and women, many jobs are still highly divided by gender. This may be because of natural inclination or because prejudices still funnel specific sexes into specific jobs.

The following are the top ten jobs that have the greatest number of women workers. (For information on jobs with the highest percentage of females, see part 2.) Following the job title is the number of female workers and then, within parentheses, the percentageof positions held by females. All information is from the U.S. Department of Labor.

  1. Secretaries and administrative assistants - 2,961,802 (96.1%): Perform clerical work in offices. Educational requirements range from high-school diplomas for entry-level positions to bachelor’s degrees for executive secretaries. Salaries run from $13.82 per hour or $28,740 per year to $32.21 per hour or $67,000 per year. The median is at $20.92 per hour or $43,520 per year.
  2. Registered nurses - 2,589,973 (91.1%): Largest healthcare profession, which treats patients and assists doctors. Educational requirements range from nursing certificates to bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Median wage is $31.10 per hour or $64,690 per year. The range is $21.24 per hour or $44,190 per year to $45.74 per hour or $95,130 per year.
  3. Elementary and middle school teachers - 2,301,034 (81.8%): Instruct students from first through ninth grades. A bachelor’s degree and state licensing are required for public schools. The licensing is optional for private settings. For elementary school teachers, median salaries are $51,660 per year, with a range from $34,390 to $80,140. For middle school educators, the median is $51,960, with a range from $34,990 to $80,940.
  4. Cashiers - 2,291,333 (73.7%): Receive payments and gives change in businesses other than financial institutions. Most are trained on the job. Wages run $7.56 per hour or $15,720 per year to $12.40 per hour or $25,780 per year. The median is at $8.89 per hour or $18,500 per year.
  5. Retail salespersons - 1,705,434 (51.9%): Help customers buy goods and services. Most are trained on the job, though more technical products may require a high-school diploma. Pay ranges from $7.75 per hour or $16,120 per year to $18.54 per hour or $38,570 per year. The median is $9.94 per hour or $20,670 per year.
  6. Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides - 1,700,496 (88.2%): Assist patients who are ill, injured or disabled in hospitals, residential facilities and private homes. The position requires training in high schools, vocational centers, nursing care facilities of junior colleges. The federal government mandates licensing for nursing aides who work in nursing care facilities. Home health aides earn a median $9.89 per hour or $20,560 per year, with a range of $7.84 per hour or $16,300 per year to $14.13 per hour or $29,390 per year. Nursing aides earn a median $11.54 per hour or $24,040 per year, with a range from $8.55 per hour or $17,790 per year to $16.62 per hour or $34,580 per year. Psychiatric aides get a median $12 per hour or $24,950 per year, with a range from $8.30 per hour or $17,270 per year to $19.27 per hour or $40,070 per year.
  7. Waitresses. - 1,469,637 (71.1%): Serve food and beverages to customers in restaurants and dining facilities. They are trained on the job and make a range of $7.54 per hour or $15,690 per year to $14.41 per hour or $29,980 per year. The median pay is $8.81 per hour or $18,330 per year.
  8. Supervisors of retail sales workers - 1,374,948 (43.9%): Refer to first-level managers who coordinate the activities of subordinate salespeople. They are often promoted from lower job levels but may hold bachelor’s degrees. Wages run from $10.77 per hour or $22,390 per year to $29.28 per hour or $60,900 per year. The median is $17.22 per hour or $35,820 per year.
  9. Customer service representatives - 1,262,736 (66.6%): Deal with customer questions and problems. Most need a high-school diploma and are additionally trained on the job. Median wages are $14.64 per hour or $30,460 per year. The range goes from $9.40 per hour or $19,550 per year to $23.71 per hour or $49,320 per year.
  10. Maids and housekeepers - 1,252,230 (89%): Perform light cleaning duties in businesses, travel accommodations and private homes. They receive on-the-job training to earn a median $9.28 per hour. Their range is from $7.68 per hour or $15,980 per year to $14.19 per hour or $29,510 per year.

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    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Neat hub! It's interesting to see this list compiled.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Lol, thanks for the suggestion Tammy. I'll need to put it with my long list of articles. Of course, there's nothing saying that you couldn't write such a thing, hint, hint.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      These are shockingly typical roles for today's women but at least the salary gap is slowing closing. I would love to read about what percentages of men and women are in non-traditional roles in the country. Hint hint! ;)

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 

      6 years ago from Miami, US

      The U.S. is still lagging behind other developing and developed countries in the gender gap in the workforce, though most signs point to a close to this gap. Cool info, I'll admit it was a bit discouraging, but it did bring me back down to Earth again from my "There's no need for feminism anymore" attitude!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      An interesting read. I was kinda hoping for a surprise, but many of the jobs are still assumed to be 'typically female' ... the gender issue has not been conquered yet it seems ... but maybe in the next century it will be.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Interesting statistics yet not surprising!Thanks for sharing.

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