Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this month show that even though the workforce was still mostly evenly split between women and men in 2023 – 47% to 53% of workers, respectively – many occupations remain largely dominated by one gender.
This was especially true of secure, well-paying trade jobs like construction workers and mechanics, 98% of which were held by men. Conversely, women were most likely to hold jobs such as skin care specialists (98%), early education teachers (97%) and dental hygienists (96%). Childcare workers and administrative assistant roles were also mostly held by women.
Other jobs, such as project managers and actors, were largely split down the middle.
There were some heartening numbers and trends to be seen in the Bureau’s 2023 data – for example, 40% of lawyers and 57% of accountants and auditors are women, marking gains for women in those sectors.
But in most regards, the better-paying jobs are still going to men. We’ve long documented dearths of representation for women in myriad spaces – from the entertainment industry and politics to the top tiers of, well, most everywhere, including the corporate to cannabis worlds. The reasons vary, but largely amount to failures to provide opportunities and support to women.
When we investigated the matter in the trade world, specifically, we were shown several ways to address lack of access to certain jobs for women by industry insiders. They range from bolstering support for policy prescriptions, to creating networking and collaborative spaces for women trying to work their ways up the ranks of their fields.
And fixing the gaps matters, Jennifer Todd, founder of Georgia-based LMS General Contractors, has noted. The lack of support for women in the trades, for example, is hurting the industry itself, with significant gaps reported between the amount of roles on offer and the amount of people available to fill them – a problem that came as a result of the trade world “being white-male-dominated industry for so long now [that] we’ve crippled ourselves,” she says.
Todd added: “There’s billions [of dollars] in infrastructure work to do, and we don’t have the people to support it, because we haven’t showcased a willingness to hire minorities and women, and retain them.”