Industries with the Worst Gender Pay Gaps

Industries with the Worst Gender Pay Gaps

Kylie Lynn

In today’s modern world, American women still contend with substantial gender pay gaps. Rhode Island Women’s Well-Being Index reveals that women make up 64% of the workforce in the lowest-paying jobs in Rhode Island alone. These gaps aren’t exclusive to just the state – female employees across America suffer lifetime wage losses, and the disparities are even more significant in women of color: White women have around $451,300 of lifetime wage loss, Asian women around $607,100, Black women around $997,000, and Latina women around $1,213,700.

It’s imperative that all women get equity in the workplace, primarily since 70% of American households with children rely on the woman’s income. What's more, women bear most of the responsibility of home maintenance and caregiving at home – all while holding jobs. As such, they should be valued as capable professionals.

Arts and Entertainment

The average pay gap for all women: $0.93

Hollywood has been very vocal about the gender pay gap, and that’s a good thing. They’re doing a fair amount of signal boosting. Natalie Portman famously opened conversations about the gender pay gap by publicly stating that she was paid three times less than her male counterparts.

Apart from actors, the industry’s disparity trickles down even to set designers, fashion designers, and graphic and media artists. A female designer earns on average $44,564 a year, where a male would earn $60,944. In an industry where employment composition is almost equal, this is a vivid example of how women are undervalued.


The average pay gap for all women: $0.76

Beyond the pay gap, gender inequality is overwhelming in the finance industry. While both men and women start their finance careers at about the same rates, top-level finance executives are predominantly male. More men in c-suite positions translate into their partiality to men for promotion opportunities, leaving women to stay in lower positions.

In financial management, one of the fastest-growing business administration careers, there were about 580,400 financial managers in 2016. With a 15% job outlook, the number has now reached 697,900. Despite this increase, women are still notoriously scarce, particularly in the upper echelons. Adequate female representation in C-level positions could be one solution for women in finance to advance their careers.


The average pay gap for all women: $0.88

60% of the time, women are paid less than men in the same tech company. When we consider BIPOC women, this pay gap stretches further. There’s a difference of at least 3% in how much they earn.

Several tech companies don’t take women as seriously as they do men. Several women report that they also deal with workplace discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, race, and age—on top of pay inequity. Tech is one of the fastest-growing industries in the US, and there’s no reason why women shouldn’t reap the benefits.


The average pay gap for all women: $0.84

Healthcare workers have always been essential to any community, but they’ve become even more crucial throughout the pandemic. However, women healthcare workers have also had to face household responsibilities like kids shifting to online learning, increased childcare demands, and pandemic anxiety. Choices during the pandemic led to a number of them dropping out of their jobs in 2020, further skewing representation and the pay gap.

Female physicians earn about 25.2% to 28% less than male physicians. In other specialties like otolaryngology, and even in the female-dominated nursing field, men are paid significantly more. Healthcare is a standardized and science-based industry, and since women are viewed as carers by society, it doesn’t make sense that this gender gap persists.

Years after the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed, gender pay gaps continue to exist. Legislative action and systemic changes are needed to ensure that the gap closes in our lifetime. 


Written by Kylie Lynn
Entirely for Women’s Fund of Rhode Island