These 20 jobs have the widest gender gaps

Many jobs are dominated by one gender. Stacker used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to rank the 20 jobs with the widest gender gaps.

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Even in the 21st century, gender-based stereotypes around work prevail. After two years of declines, more women are participating in the workplace, but their numbers still lag behind men. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022, nearly 7 in 10 (68%) men 16 and older worked, compared to 56.8% of women. The labor gap is more pronounced for people in the 35-44 age range, with 89.7% of men and just 76.3% of women working outside the home.

Stacker used BLS data to rank the 20 jobs with the widest gender gaps, based on the share of men and women employed. When available, the median weekly earnings for each gender were also included. Stacker recognizes this data was collected in a binary manner and that not all people who work in these roles identify as men or women.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 57.4% of women held jobs outside the home. However, the pandemic drove women to leave the workforce. More women than men lost jobs during the early months of the pandemic, in part due to child care needs. Along with temporary school shutdowns, nearly 16,000 child care centers closed. Parents scrambled for child care options, but 58% couldn't find adequate facilities. To take care of their children, one parent—often the mother—sacrificed their job.

One million women have opted out of the workforce since the pandemic started, according to the Chamber of Commerce. This exodus isn't just due to child care: Low pay is the biggest factor.

Most women in the workforce earn less than men, in part because of the aggregate gender wage gap. Women often choose professions in lower-wage sectors like teaching and social work. However, wage gaps persist within occupations, and women continue to earn less when adjusting for jobs and education. Across the 132 jobs with earnings data available for both sexes, men earned $199 more per week on average than women, even in occupations where women dominate, like nursing.

#20. Registered nurses

Nurse at terminal in hospital room.

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- Total employment: 3.5 million; 87.4% women (#12 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,442 (gender pay gap of $248)
--- Among women: $1,409
--- Among men: $1,657

During the Civil War, the dire need for people to help in medical services drew women to volunteer as nurses. That need created a gender shift in the role that persists to this day, in part due to the perception that nurses are subordinate to doctors. Although more men are in the field than before—in 1970, for instance, less than 3% of nurses were men, per a Bloomberg analysis—negative stigmas and stereotypes persist.

#19. Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians

Sound technician working in recording studio.

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- Total employment: 124,000; 87.8% men (#8 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,387
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: $1,397

Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians handle electrical equipment for broadcasts, concerts, radio, and more. The music industry is a tough place for women sound engineers. Even with the Recording Academy's Women in the Mix artists' pledge to promote more women in producing and sound engineering, an Annenberg Inclusion Initiative report found that no songs from a pledge-taker had a woman engineer on the credits on the 2022 Billboard Hot 100 Year-End chart.

#18. School psychologists

School psychologist and student in a session.

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- Total employment: 56,000; 87.9% women (#11 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: Not available
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: Not available

Many K-12 schools, universities, treatment centers, and juvenile justice programs employ school psychologists to help children and youth work through behavioral and emotional situations; facilitate assessments and planning for students with different learning needs; and work to create safe spaces so students can be more successful. Although the psychology field used to be dominated by men, women earned about 80% of master's degrees in psychology in 2021, per the National Center for Education Statistics. A lower earning potential and demasculinization of the profession may also be turning men away from this field.

#17. Surveying and mapping technicians

Site Engineer using surveying equipment.

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- Total employment: 87,000; 88% men (#7 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,001
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: $1,023

Surveyors, who typically work outdoors to assess land, and mapping technicians, who develop maps on computers, are important resources for engineers, governments, and people who need to get to the right place. While some of the early surveyors for the Bureau of Land Management were women, likely because men were serving in World War I, the profession became dominated by men. As the average surveyor age creeps toward retirement, an effort called Get Kids into Survey encourages young people, particularly females, to get into the profession.

#16. Child, family, and school social workers

Social worker showing badge at the front door.

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- Total employment: 60,000; 88.1% women (#10 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,064
--- Among women: $1,080
--- Among men: Not available

Social workers advocate for and help people get through life's problems. Jane Addams was key to developing the profession of social work in the U.S. when she and Ellen G. Starr opened Hull House in Chicago in 1889 to help people who are underserved. This inspired other women to take up the profession they dominate today.

#14. Electrical and electronics engineers (tie)

Electrical engineers working on project.

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- Total employment: 250,000; 88.4% men (#5 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $2,056
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: $2,101

Electrical and electronics engineers create and develop products that leverage electricity, such as motors, radar, microchips, and cellphones. The gender gap may not narrow in this male-dominated field soon; in 2022, men earned roughly 84% of electrical engineering degrees. Male stereotypes, a male-oriented culture, and a lack of growth opportunities contribute to women's lower interest levels in the profession.

#14. Electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians (tie)

Close up technician working on circuit.

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- Total employment: 97,000; 88.4% men (#6 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,429
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: $1,442

Before electrical and electronic products go to market, these technologists and technicians work with engineers to develop and test product prototypes. A 2023 Gallup survey also found that Gen Z women are less interested—and feel less confident about their abilities—in STEM careers than men.

#13. Occupational therapists

Therapist works with woman using walker.

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- Total employment: 155,000; 88.6% women (#9 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,447
--- Among women: $1,431
--- Among men: Not available

Occupational therapists work with people who are injured, have become disabled, or have an illness that limits their physical ability to develop or recover skills they need for daily living. The gender gap in this field stems from recruiting practices in the early 1900s that touted the job as ideal for women. Men slowly started joining the profession in the mid-1900s, but their numbers continued to lag behind women.

#12. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

Nurse reviewing patient information on tablet.

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- Total employment: 584,000; 88.7% women (#8 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $988 (gender pay gap of $34)
--- Among women: $984
--- Among men: $1,018

LPNs and LVNs assist with basic patient care, such as monitoring vital signs, feeding, and keeping patients clean. While men make up a small percentage of this profession, their ranks are growing. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of male LPNs, for instance, grew nearly 112% to over 65,000.

#11. Medical records specialists

Cropped view of medical professional holding tablet.

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- Total employment: 211,000; 88.9% women (#7 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $918
--- Among women: $946
--- Among men: Not available

Medical records specialists are responsible for maintaining electronic health records and handling insurance coding and billing for patient visits. These jobs don't require a bachelor's degree—an associate degree or special certificate can suffice in many cases—but they do require attention to detail to ensure everything is tracked correctly. As an administrative support role, it has traditionally been a job that attracts more women.

#10. Floral designers

Floral designer making bouquets.

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- Total employment: 63,000; 89.1% women (#6 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: Not available
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: Not available

Men dominated the floral design world into the 1990s, owning more shops and winning more floral competitions. However, women have steadily come into their own and now outnumber men in the industry. Martha Stewart's love and promotion of flowers may have played a role in influencing more women to get into the industry.

#9. Construction managers

Construction manager on job site.

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- Total employment: 1.1 million; 89.4% men (#4 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,680 (gender pay gap of $316)
--- Among women: $1,431
--- Among men: $1,747

In the traditionally male-dominated industry of construction, women make up about 10% of the workforce. According to the National Association of Women in Construction, women in this industry gravitate to sales, office, service-related—and, especially, management roles: 44% are in construction management or related professional positions.

#8. Nurse practitioners

Nurse checking oximeter on senior patient.

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- Total employment: 276,000; 89.8% women (#5 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $2,079
--- Among women: $2,031
--- Among men: Not available

Nurse practitioner is the least popular type of nursing for men. Male NPs make up just 6% of all male nurses; however, their ranks are growing. Since 2012, the number of male NPs has grown nearly 108%. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing believes recruiting more men and people from underrepresented groups to the industry will help with the overall nursing shortage that developed during the pandemic. It can't come too soon: The BLS forecasts a 38% growth in the field by 2032, with over 29,000 openings for NPs, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives annually.

#6. Veterinary technologists and technicians (tie)

Vet tech using an otoscope to examine beagle.

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- Total employment: 142,000; 89.9% women (#4 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $829
--- Among women: $817
--- Among men: Not available

Veterinary technologists and technicians assist veterinarians during animal exams, as well as related tasks like animal first aid, X-rays, lab tests, surgery preparation, and anesthesia. Vet techs are generally low-paying positions, which may be why men don't stay in the field. In its 2022 survey, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America found that 1 in 3 credentialed veterinary technicians has a second—often full-time—job to make ends meet.

#6. Mechanical engineers (tie)

Mechanical engineer working on a computer.

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- Total employment: 433,000; 89.9% men (#3 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,890
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: $1,901

Although women don't make up a huge percentage of mechanical engineers, it is the most popular type of engineering degree for women. According to the Society of Women Engineers, nearly 5,800 women earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 2022; however, that's under 18% of all degrees conferred in this field. The BLS forecasts a 10% growth rate in this field by 2032, mostly due to replacing retired workers or those who switch careers.

#5. Computer network architects

Professional woman at desk in modern office.

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- Total employment: 104,000; 92.3% men (#2 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,913
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: $1,967

Computer network architects ensure workplaces are connected by designing and building area networks, intranets, and cloud infrastructure. Men have traditionally dominated the tech industry, creating a workplace that can be difficult for women to infiltrate. In a 2021 TrustRadius survey of tech professionals, more than 3 in 5 (63%) women in information technology and engineering say "bro culture" is pervasive at their company.

#4. Computer hardware engineers

Computer scientist works at monitor in development laboratory.

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- Total employment: 71,000; 94.1% men (#1 job most dominated by men)
- Median weekly earnings: $2,277
--- Among women: Not available
--- Among men: $2,252

Not many women are involved in researching, designing, and developing computer systems and their components—and that's unlikely to change soon. In 2021, just 1 in 4 master's degrees in this field went to women, per the NCES.

#3. Speech-language pathologists

Child working with a speech therapist.

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- Total employment: 185,000; 94.3% women (#3 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,433
--- Among women: $1,435
--- Among men: Not available

Jobs in speech-language pathology typically require a master's degree or higher, and not many men pursue these careers. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, men's enrollment in master's programs has been flat for years, averaging 4.4% of all enrollments between the 2010-2011 and 2021-2022 school years. Meanwhile, the number of degrees granted during the same period has grown 58.1% to 10,185.

#2. Dental hygienists

Dentist and dental hygienist assisting patient.

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- Total employment: 206,000; 95.7% women (#2 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $1,326
--- Among women: $1,276
--- Among men: Not available

Much like nursing, men are slowly turning to dental hygiene as a career option. While men make up a small percentage of workers in this field, it's an improvement over 1998, when less than 1% of dental hygienists were men. In 2021, a study found that men who chose this career faced gender stereotyping.

#1. Preschool and kindergarten teachers

Preschool teacher in the classroom with children.

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- Total employment: 669,000; 96.7% women (#1 job most dominated by women)
- Median weekly earnings: $791
--- Among women: $789
--- Among men: Not available

Men in early child care positions face a lot of stigma and stereotyping from parents who worry about abuse. However, low pay is one key factor keeping men from the profession—salaries for preschool and kindergarten teachers are well below the median for all occupations. Still, research has shown that salaries tend to increase for all when men enter women-dominated professions.

Data reporting by Emma Rubin. Story editing by Shannon Luders-Manuel. Copy editing by Paris Close.

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