While the notion of men and women having naturally different aptitudes and interests is slowly becoming a thing of the past, there remain differences in professional compensation between the sexes. Recent studies are still exploring the way women with the same education and occupation as their male counterparts earn less money. There also remains a tendency for jobs dominated by female workers to pay much lower, in general, than those with a larger male employee base.
As society becomes more aware of these discrepancies, efforts have been taken to help build equity between the sexes when it comes to education. So, let’s take a look at education paths and fields chosen most by women, and how to find scholarships specially designed for female applicants. We will also explore why, and how, you should follow your interests and goals, regardless of their popularity with anyone.
There is a misconception that women are less educated and therefore deserve less pay. This is not only unfair, but also entirely untrue. Since 1982, women have actually earned more bachelor degrees than men. This brings us to the next explanation for the wage gap; that women follow less valuable career paths.
The top two fields for women are psychology and nursing which, under the Doctorate level of education, are traditionally lower paying fields. But, interestingly, the third most common field for women is also the most popular field for men: business management. And this is where the most blatant signs of the wage gap come in. Men in the same job roles as women, with the same qualifications, make more money than their female coworkers. This is widely attributed to a mix of societal expectations about motherhood, and womanhood, in general and its effect on opportunities for female employees in the field.
But beyond the world of business, the other high-paying industries known for low numbers of women are those of science and technology. And, while men do prevail in computer science and engineering, women actually make up 53% of biology, physical science and mathematics degrees.
Computer science, in fact, was among the majors with the lowest number of female students; along with transportation, engineering technologies, construction trades and mechanical and automotive studies.
The bottom line is that women are found to be consistently influenced, through every step of education and professional life, to follow career paths that pay less than those more popular with men. And, while these are the realities about what women have studied and how they have been compensated, this is not to say that you won’t be able to find support for whatever interests you have.
There are scholarships and grants out there, specifically offered to help women advance in fields where female numbers have been low. So, for any student, it is important to be true to yourself, your accomplishments and your interests. Don’t let negative feedback about expectations, or low numbers of students like you, push you away from a field or course of study.